Pilot case


Developing new 3D user interfaces for immersive learning of chemistry and chemical reactivity.
A screenshot of VR-CHEM prototype video demonstration.

Pilot leader

Antti Karttunen


School of Arts Design and Architecture, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Science


10 – 15 students


Oct 2017 – 2018


Video demonstration of VR-CHEM prototype (version from September 2017)

The goals of the pilot are to develop and benchmark new 3D user interfaces for immersive learning of 3D atomic level structure and chemical reactivity, to create inspiring chemical learning experience using state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (MR) technologies, and to investigate new ways of interacting with molecular models in future classroom and teaching.

Platforms and tools

We have created a functional version of a 3D user interface for molecular modelling (VR-CHEM), and use Unity Game Engine for creating the 3D interface. We also integrate our 3D user interface with chemical modelling packages such as OpenBabel for a realistic physical description of the molecules. VR experience has been implemented for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. MR experience has been implemented on Microsoft HoloLens.

Pedagogical methods

Three-dimensional molecular structures are a central concept in chemistry and chemical reactivity. The purpose of the 3D user interfaces is to improve the students’ understanding of these concepts.

Involved courses

CHEM-E4155 – Solid State Chemistry

The long-term goal is to use the approaches developed in this project in several MSc-level chemistry courses.


Prof. Antti Karttunen 
School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemistry and Materials Science
Pilot leader

Prof. Perttu Hämäläinen
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media

Prof. Jaakko Lehtinen
School of Science, Department of Computer Science

Otso Pietikäinen
School of Chemical Engineering
Project researcher

Francesco Fontana
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media
Project Researcher

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