Networks provide a powerful representation of complex systems of interacting components. In addition to a wide range of available analytical and computational tools, networks also offer a visual interface for exploring large data in a uniquely intuitive fashion. However, the size and complexity of many networks render static visualizations on common screen or paper sizes impractical and result in proverbial 'hairballs'. Here, we introduce an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) platform that overcomes these limitations and unlocks the full potential of visual, interactive exploration of large networks. Our platform is designed towards maximal customization and extendability, with key features including import of custom code for data analysis, easy integration of external databases, and design of arbitrary user interface elements. As a proof of concept, we show how our platform can be used to interactively explore genome-scale molecular networks for identifying genetic aberrations responsible for rare diseases and develop hypotheses on their respective pathobiological mechanisms. Our platform represents a first-of-its-kind, general purpose VR data exploration platform in which human intuition can work seamlessly together with state-of-the-art analysis methods for large and diverse data.
Check out our github for downloads and usage guides: github.com/menchelab/VRNetzer
The videos below show a quick howto for the user interface and one of our advanced use cases.