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Professor Arthur J. Olson of Scripps demonstrates a 3D printed model of a virus that self assembles when shaken. Olson is head of the Molecular Graphics Laboratory, which uses 3D computer models, 3D printing, and augmented reality to create tools for life science researchers and educators. He is also the project leader of Fight Aids at Home, a tool that allows home computer users to share their resources as part of a massive project to find new HIV drugs.

[Thanks, @cenmag!]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal



  1. Shaken, not stirred, please.

  2. Bryan says:

    I for one welcome our self assembling viral overlords.

  3. Evan Ross says:

    Very cool!! is this available?  it is an amazing demonstration!

  4. Evan Ross says:

    Very cool!! is this available?  it is an amazing demonstration!

  5. kennedy2 says:

    Wait… “Because of the shape and the structure and the magnets”…
    structure and the magnets…

    viruses have magnets?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Sure, only they’re called Hydrogen-bonds (and perhaps salt bridges)  ;)

  6. I read a while back that it is difficult even for supercomputers to simulate how proteins will fold
    into proper three-dimensional configuration
    , so perhaps physical models made with 3D printed parts and magnets might do the trick.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    If you are interested in seeing more solid printing and augmented reality work from my lab go to

  8. Nils Hitze says:

    Where can one download the model & instructions to build one?

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