Visual Science Studio created a series of educational posters and augmented reality applications for the Science Laboratories of the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow. The project aims to motivate and attract students’ attention to the topics of the school program in the natural sciences, combining the traditional form of the educational poster, familiar to most teachers and a user-friendly mobile application format. For each of the selected topics, we created their own augmented reality (AR) and the electronic version of the poster, which provides the opportunity to delve into the study of the issue in an interactive manner.
The first series of posters and application sections is devoted to four topics: Anatomy of the frog; DNA, RNA, and protein; the Atom; and a Solubility table. The poster design process involved using scientific methods such as computed microtomography, molecular modeling and dynamics, as well as data on the shape of different atomic orbitals. Posters are available for teachers who attended the educational laboratories of the Polytechnic Museum, a free app with augmented reality and electronic versions of the posters are available on Google Play and at the App Store.
The poster demonstrates DNA, RNA and protein corresponding to the human insulin gene and its products. The structures are shown on the same scale, making it possible to evaluate the difference in their sizes. DNA is presented in a form close to that found in the nuclei of human cells: some parts of the molecule are attached to the nucleosomes — protein structures that pack DNA in the cells. The insulin messenger RNA molecule is depicted as a possible three-dimensional structure that was predicted using molecular dynamic methods. The insulin itself shows different levels of the protein molecule organization: from the primary — linear sequence of amino acids to the quaternary — the complex of six insulin molecules.
Additional blocks on a poster illustrate the central dogma of molecular biology, the genetic code and the principle of complementarity, which has a key role in the biology of nucleic acids. The idea was to combine in one poster closely related topics that are usually presented in school curriculum at different times. We believe that this will allow teachers and students to return to the poster several times in the course of studying general biology. We also think that it is important to give an alternative view on the topic comparing to the traditional school program so that the student has a chance to look at the structure of the protein and nucleic acids from different sides, seeing the new relationship between these structures. Augmented reality of the poster allows rotating DNA, RNA and protein around one axis, showing the captions to the individual components and parts of molecules and complexes. The electronic version of the poster contains all the images and diagrams shown in the printed version and allows for magnifying the images of key molecules.
We are grateful to Ivan Bogantsev (Ph.D. Deputy Director General for science communication and educational activity) for his input to the project
Molecular modelling through computer graphics permits plenty of latitude for exercising artistic talent to inform, explain and instruct. Visual Science shows the way with its high quality, accurate, informative graphics that explain even the most complex processes of life.