Making 3D Molecules in Virtual Reality

An interactive 3D periodic table experience



An educational interactive experience that allows you to pull atoms from a 3D periodic table to create molecules.

This was a weekend-long MIT XR Hackathon. Our project focused on enabling a user to play and interact with a periodic table of elements in a safe and engaging virtual lab. The user can easily interact with the periodic table, grab different atoms, and experiment with them to get different results.


HTC Vive | Unity 3D
Virtual Reality

My Role

Main UX Designer
(see deliverables)


Project Lead and
designer, 3 developers



One Weekend

My Process


-Help define project goals
-Competitive Analysis
-Guerilla interviews


-Journey map
-Define user flows
-Sketch ideas and wireframes


-Define UI and interactions
-Provide 3D assets
-Test with other participants


-Work alongside developers to implement and adjust to any technical constraints

What's our vision?

Not all students learn in the same way. Often, students need a more immersive experience which allows for deeper thinking. We thought Chemistry would be an interesting topic to tackle, considering that learning labs require students to wear a lot of safety equipment and deal with abstract concepts such as atoms and molecules.

The EducatVR team aims to tackle this issue by providing an engaging, immersive educational experience, MoleculVR. We wanted students to interact with the world in a way they are not able to in reality, making atoms and molecules tangible.

Who's going to use this?

Intended Users

Middle school kids, audiences typically focused on early science education.


Easy to learn
Items are easy to reach (consider height)
Quick error recovery (allow for experimentation)
Fun and colorful (portray playfulness)


The HTC Vive had some hardware issues. The PC did not detect the Vive hardware. A lot of time was dedicated to fixing these issues, which interfered with our ability to debug.

Many of us are also new to game design (especially for VR) and ran into challenges surrounding the creation of a holistic immersive experience.

The entire project broke 1 hr before it was due. We had to pull our last workable version and lost some of our UI elements (e.g., color-coded periodic table with locked elements).

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