Kawakami model demo
A new form of tactile and manipulable molecular model has been developed at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
The new handleable protein molecular model, which was reported for the first time in Review of Scientific Instruments on 8th August 2012, has a full-color 3D printed main chain structure embedded in a soft and transparent silicone body similar to the molecule's surface.
The contribution that these new models make lies in the fact that users, both in structural biology R&D, pharmaceuticals research and in teaching environments, can feel the molecular surface, see the orientation and movement of the main chain structure, and manually simulate molecular docking. The interactive, hands-on experience really deepens the user's intuitive understanding of what are intrinsically very complicated 3D protein structures and dynamics and helps elucidate ligand binding and protein-protein interactions. One area of great potential value is in "hands on" exhibitions in science education because the models are mechanically durable, washable and highly interactive.
For other models, please see the slide show linked below.