Jonas Bostrom, a Principal Scientist and Drug Hunter at AstraZeneca will be speaking at VR World 2017 being held on the 16th and 17th of May at Olympia Conference Centre, London.
In addition to acquiring knowledge of most phases and aspects of drug discovery from his +15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Jonas is also CEO and co-founder of EduChem VR; a start-up gamifying chemistry educations using virtual reality.
Jonas will be discussing VR in Drug Discovery on Day one of VR World and also took some time to complete our speaker interview:
Please tell us a bit about the work you are doing in the VR/MR/AR space?
At AstraZeneca we believe we have taken a leap into the future design of drug molecules by developing an Oculus Rift-based virtual reality molecular visualizer where scientists can be teleported into small and large molecules. The motion sensor Leap Motion is used for gesture-control. As side project, we’re developing mobile VR apps (for Google Cardboards) that aims to increase interest in and understanding of chemistry and structural biology.
What benefits do you think immersive technologies can bring to your industry?
Visualizing and interacting with molecular models is a significant part of a drug designer's day job and every improvement should matter. Traditional visualizers just show molecules in front of the users, whereas in a virtual reality drug designers can enter a protein-ligand complex and look around. The feeling of presence is amazing. “This is cool!” is a frequent response. By exposing the drug designer to a virtual reality a deeper understanding may be achieved, and new ideas could spark which might not have been imagined in a different (and traditional) setting.
Do you think enterprise is ready to take full advantage of immersive technologies?
Well, the recent advancements in technology has been impressive. However, our VR tool is designed for single-player mode, and drug discovery is, without a doubt, a team effort. Thus, the next step would be to make available multi-player modes, for example, using augmented reality tech. But the pharma industry is facing many challenges right now and it seems easy to down-prioritize IT investments.
Which industry do you think will be most impacted by VR/AR/MR technologies?
There are many, but if I have to choose one it’s the educational sector, for sure. EdTech is the future. Virtual reality is ideal to motivate, inspire and teach young and old!
How can we boost content creation for VR applications?
By continuing supporting and developing the oh so useful and excellent game-engines Unity and Unreal. Other open-source tools, like Blender, for 3D graphics animation software are also very important for continuous progress. The world needs more (and skilled) programmers, so programming should definitely be introduced as a mandatory school subject, globally.
What are the key challenges to mass market implementation of VR/AR/MR and how do you see these being overcome?
The head mounted devices are still quite pricey and requires high-end computers, not to mention all the cables. The future will definitely be more mobile, approaches using smartphones, such as Samsung GearVR and Google Daydream, will win.
Are there any projects or applications of VR/AR/MR that you’ve seen that are particularly impressive and why?
My personal favourite is Google Expeditions. Compare trying to make an (unmotivated) student read a book, by teleporting him/her into a new virtual world. Need I say more?
Where do you see immersive technologies in the next 18 months?
The sky is the limit. I also hope to see progress within haptic feedback and more use of voice recognition.
About VR World
Now in its 2nd year, VR World 2017 is a 2 day conference and exhibition focused on Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality and its impact beyond gaming.
With 4 in-depth event tracks and over 150 leading speakers, no other European event covers the market in as much detail.
Amid unparalleled networking opportunities, attendees will have access to visionary speakers and case-study led content. Hear from inspirational keynotes and thought-provoking panel discussions from key players redefining the boundaries for technology.
Register now to reserve your place for THE VR, AR and MR event of 2017.