Virtual Explorer Available at No Cost to Schools

The Senses Bureau, a research group at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), has announced that the Virtual Explorer is available at no cost to schools. Virtual Explorer is an interactive simulation of a voyage through the human immune system. The science-based virtual reality adventure enhances learning about highly complex disease-fighting mechanisms.

Viewers pilot a microscopic "nanobot" ship through his or her own blood stream and lymph system. After selecting which cellular character to play, they perform functions such as cellular navigation, white blood cell recognition and molecular docking, all within computer animation with four-channel spatialized sound.

At UCSD, the virtual environment is powered by a four-processor SGI Onyx supercomputer system. Any SGI computer, ranging from the Onyx to the O2 can also drive the adventure. Additionally, the Senses Bureau hopes to port Virtual Explorer to the Windows NT platform. Virtual Explorer is also available on an "open source" licensing basis for those who wish to develop other educational applications or to extend the currently available adventure. The Senses Bureau, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, (619) 822-0162,

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/1999 issue of THE Journal.