Virtual Cell

is a collection of still images, texts and movies covering the structure and functioning of a typical plant cell.

Normally, you will begin by seeing a cell in surface view against a white background (if not, you can choose 'start' in Search pull-down menu). To see the rest of the presentation, click the appropriate button on the right for the action you want to take and then click inside the image (see description of navigation buttons below).

Sometimes it will matter where in the image you click, for you to take action on a particular object. This is the case with "Zoom". If you want to take other actions on an object, first zoom as close to it as possible (until it becomes the main object in the image, i.e. covers most of the viewing area).

Try not to click on edges or corners of objects. If certain actions generate unexpected results, simply back off to the previous frame by using your browser, and choose a different object or action.

ZOOM - get closer to an object
CUT - open the main object in the image to reveal contents
TURN - show the main object from different angle
WRITE - give more written information on the object
MICRO - show an electron micrograph of the main object
FUNCTION - play an animated GIF movie demonstrating function of the main object
HOTSPOTS - highlight outlines of objects that can be clicked.
STEREO - start showing stereographic pairs for 3-D viewing
ANAGLYPH - start showing anaglyph images (red and green) for 3-D viewing
SEARCH - choose a word, it will get you to a related location in the system. Be careful to select "nothing" again (selected by default initially) if you want to start using the navigation buttons! This feature can be used for creating links from elsewhere on the web that jump to a particular location of the cell. Read how or mail the author for details.

If you encounter any strange behaviour, please, let us know. It could be a result of a recent modification.
Usage statistics

Project description and credits

Virtual Cell is being developed by Matej Lexa using POVRAY to generate 3-D images and PERL to write the script for navigation, with support from University of Illinois, namely SCALE and Prof. Richard Crang. The author has also produced a multimedia textbook for teaching photosynthesis and a searchable database of first names. He also has his own domain, hosting the Virtual City project. Some of the texts used here were adapted from:

A. B. Novikoff, E. Holtzman (1976) Cells and Organelles, 2nd ed. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 400 pp.

T. L. Lentz (1971) Cell Fine Structure. An Atlas of Drawings of Whole-Cell Structure. W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 437 pp.

Paul Thiessen from University of Illinois was kind to provide me with a POV-Ray DNA model made with his PovChem program. He has a nice page with related stuff on the Web.

Last major update: Jan 30, 1997.