Online tools to easily build augmented reality models of biomolecules that run right on the web

10 December 2021, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Abstract. Several groups developed in the last years augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) programs and apps to visualize 3D molecules, most rather static, limited in content, and requiring software installs, some even requiring expensive hardware. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our team launched moleculARweb (, a website that offers interactive content for chemistry and structural biology education through commodity web-based AR that works on consumer devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. Among thousands of users, teachers increasingly request more biological macromolecules to be available, a demand that we cannot satisfy individually. Therefore, to allow users to build their own material, we built a web interface where any user can build any online AR experience in few steps starting from a PDB structure or from virtual objects/scenes exported from VMD. The website also returns a WebXR session for viewing and manipulating the model in high-end immersive VR headsets with web browsers, here tested on the ~400 USD Oculus Quest 2. The tool is accessible at


augmented reality
virtual reality
molecular modeling
molecular visualization
molecular graphics
structural biology

Supplementary weblinks


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