Crystals Explorer in VR
Crystal forms are beautiful and amazing. Although they seem to appear in an infinite variety, there only 48 possible crystal forms. This app shows most of them and how two forms can (and do) combine to yield the more complex shapes typically seen in real crystals.
Like so much of WebVR it is currently bleeding edge and works only on special versions of Chrome and Firefox. Later this year the standard Chrome, Firefox and Edge will handle WebVR natively. The app works with the HTC Vive and the Oculus Touch, using the gui.datVR tool for menu items.
Instructions and acknowledgements are below.
You can fly around the world using the triggers on your controllers (one for forward, one for reverse) and travelling in the direction in which you are looking. Looking at any crystal brings up information (Number of faces: main Miller Index, point group). Clicking one menu button toggles the Miller Indices on the faces, clicking the other toggles edges on the crystals.
You can blend any two crystal forms. [In theory I should stop you from combining forms from different symmetry groups, but it's more fun this way] Look at one crystal and press a Touchpad button. Look at another one and press the other Touchpad. You now have two crystals blended together. Looking at the blend and pressing either trigger increases/decreases the relative percent of the crystals so you can morph from pure one to pure the other via a full range of intermediates. This uses the capabiliites of the marvellous ThreeCSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) from Chandler Prall
The crystal structures were created with the amazing WinXMorph by Prof Werner Kaminsky, U Washington, Seattle, whose help is gratefully acknowledged.