This project would involve building an application allowing genes to be visualised in ‘mixed reality’ with the Microsoft HoloLens. Mixed reality (MR), sometimes referred to as hybrid reality, is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical objects co-exist and interact in real-time. HoloLens uses the real-world as a canvas on which to overlay virtual elements. The prospective application will utilise the genetic data held by Ensembl, and bring genes and genomes to life by creating 3-D ‘holograms’ of them which viewers can interact with using natural gestures, voice commands, and eye movements. Depending on the success of the resulting application, there is scope to move the application to the Improbable Spatial OS platform (, which can be integrated with applications built with Unity. (Improbable is partnered with Google Cloud Platform to deliver their services). This platform allows developers to build simulations of virtual worlds in which concurrent players can interact. This would mean that the gene and genome visualisations could be viewed and interacted with online by many people at once.


Rachel Slater


  • Carlos Garcia Giron
  • Fergal Martin