ACE Visualization Labs

Rodgers Kimera demonstrates a VR set up at ACE-Uganda.

The ACE Consortium offers state-of-the-art visualization labs equipped with Virtual Reality (VR) and  Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. At ACE-Uganda, the lab is located on the ground floor of the McKinnell Knowledge Centre at the Infectious Diseases Institute. ACE-Mali's room is on the ground floor of Bloc C at the Faculty of Science for the University of Sciences, Techniques, and Technologies (USTTB). 


VR and AR technologies have the power to unlock new perspectives and pave the way for new discoveries. These tools prove invaluable for researchers, clinicians, and patients, offering intricate explorations of complex protein structures and anatomy. We use UCSF ChimeraX visualization software to help students and researchers better understand complex molecules and anatomy by traveling inside the structure in a virtual environment. This powerful experience of discovery can be shared with educators and colleagues around the world in a virtual “meeting” to facilitate communication.


We know that the immersive nature of VR improves learning efficiency and comprehension. By utilizing platforms like Enduvo, instructors can create content that optimizes learning experiences, reducing the time needed to convey information compared to standard lecture formats. The software was designed with medical education in mind, but it can be applied to any field of learning or training. Free lessons are available in the Enduvo catalog and from NIAID bioinformatics subject matter experts. Lecturers will be able to easily create custom content to complement their own courses.

The ACE visualization labs offer:


Experience the future of immersive technology with our collection of six wearable head-mounted displays. Featuring high-resolution screens, directional audio, and haptic feedback, these devices offer a fully engaging virtual reality (VR) experience. Our setup is equipped with multiple base stations and ensures precise 360-degree controller and headset tracking. This enables multiple users to enjoy immersive experiences simultaneously.


Our custom-built workstations boast modular configurations, each housing a small form-factor PC connected to an external GPU (eGPU) with cutting-edge VR-specific graphics capabilities. This setup offers flexibility and portability for using VR headsets across different devices and facilitates easy GPU upgrades as VR/AR technology evolves.


Utilizing the HTC Vive Pro VR system, the labs offer:

  • Two screens (one per eye) with 1440px x 1600px resolution each (615 PPI)
  • 90Hz display refresh rate
  • 120° field of view
  • High-resolution, 3D spatial audio with integrated microphones
  • Haptic feedback for enhanced immersion
  • Steam 2.0 base stations emit safe infrared light detected by 70 sensors on the headset and controllers, ensuring comprehensive coverage in our spacious ~8m x ~9m room

Powered by Intel NUC8i7BEH computers featuring 8th generation Intel i7-8559U processors, 512 GB SSD, and 32 GB RAM, our workstations offer Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports for fast data transfer to and from the eGPU. The inclusion of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards with 11GB of ultra-fast GDDR6 memory ensures top-tier performance critical for an unparalleled VR experience.