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Saturday, February 07, 2009

NMR game on Second Life

Andrew Lang and I have been discussing publishing our work on chemistry and Second Life. We're working on the draft here. When going over the game section, it became clear that we'll probably need to make two manuscripts out of this. This is an opportunity to wrap up my previous work on the EduFrag project - using Unreal Tournament to teach organic chemistry. I had submitted that article but as it was going through the peer-review process the approach was essentially made obsolete when we adapted the quizzes to Second Life.

So Andy and I brainstormed some new chemistry games that we could introduce to Second Life to leverage our recent tools. One of the applications is the NMR game. By combining the orac molecule rezzer, the SL spectral viewing tool and ChemSpider Open Data spectra I think we have a pretty good game.

The idea simple: click on the molecule that is represented by the spectrum. If it is correct you get 2 points and get another spectrum. You lose a point by clicking on an incorrect molecule. After going through all the spectra your score gets posted on the web to a top10 list. For equal scores the best time takes it.

From an educational perspective this is useful I think on several levels.

First the ability to look at the molecule in 3D makes it easier in many cases to demonstrate the relationship between Hs, which is critical in NMR.

Second we are using real spectra - not simulations. That is a great opportunity to teach students about how to deal with impurities, solvent peaks or quirks in the peaks. The viewer allows for easy zooming by typing commands like "zoom 1.5-2.5" in the chat box.

Third this spectrum viewer uses Open Source JCAMP-DX files so it can (and will) be adapted to all kinds of spectra - like IR, UV, MS, C NMR, etc. I'm teaching (CHEM 242) all of those techniques this term so I'll have an opportunity to see how well it works.

There is currently a copy of the game on ACS island (SLURL) - give it a try and give us some feedback.

Here is picture of the game area (Viv is sitting on the molecule and I'm on the spectrum):


  • I love this idea because this ties into the discussions you and I have been having about having people validate the spectral data on ChemSpider. Ultimately it would be good to have an expert validate all the spectral data on ChemSpider but having community participation like this would be good too. How can we feed the "scores" back to ChemSPider I wonder as well as encourage people to use second life....

    By Blogger ChemSpiderman, at 7:50 AM  

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