Before the recent announcement of Open Chemistry, I was invited to the Semantic Physical Science Workshop and Symposium in Cambridge, England. The meeting was well attended, and Peter Murrary-Rust has put up videos of the talks given in the symposium on the final day. The meeting was ambitious, and we were able to get a lot done over a three day period. One of the things we are working to address in the Open Chemistry work is sharing and providing semantic meaning to data so that it can be searched. This workshop was a great opportunity to meet and discuss how that can be achieved with people from a diverse range backgrounds from code developers, researchers, publishers and end users.
While in England I also had the opportunity to visit Abbie Trewin, a researcher working on molecular modeling of porous materials at the University of Liverpool. She was preparing for a visit from Andrew Miller, MP, as part of an MP pairing scheme to support links between politics and science. I had been looking at novel interaction techniques in Avogadro for a while (since the symposium Peter Murray-Rust held last year, that I couldn’t make it to), and this visit was just the motivation to finish off that work. I used the Microsoft Kinect, with the OpenNI drivers, and wrote a plugin for Avogadro to take skeletal data and manipulate the camera of the active view.
Abbie has detailed the entire day and provided videos on her site. It looks like the day was a great success, and I really enjoyed making research in chemistry a little more fun and accessible for non-researchers. This is one of the great strengths of developing features in reusable libraries and applications that can be extended through plugins.