I apologize for the alliteration... and molehill / mountain reference; I couldn't resist. Here is a sample of what Molehill means for the Flash Player and an early look at Away3D 4 (broomstick).
Wee-bit of a back-story here.
I've been considering going back to school and while reading through the graduate application, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to review the scholarly projects of the professors in the IST department... to get a feel for current areas of interest / research.
I ran across an early-stage chemistry database project headed by Dr. C. Lee Giles - the David Reese Professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology. As I was perusing the project... I thought, this is pretty cool.
Then, as it always does, the wheels started turning.
What if you expanded on the text-based interaction? Added a means to visualize compounds, plot them on a virtual globe, chart frequency of various compounds per locale... that kind of thing.
Away3D 4 (broomstick) is out... and Flash Player Molehill is on the interwebs. I took a sip of Diet Coke w/ Lime and fired up Wikipedia - landing on the Periodic Table of Elements. Six hours later... this is what I have to show for it (make sure you have the molehill incubator release installed before you click through).
[ Molehill Molecule Mountain Example ]
Essentially, what I've done is create a means to visualize molecules that leverages Away3D and the performance improvements in Molehill. The speed is exceptional even when rendering tens-of-thousands of polygons. Wow - that's all I can say is wow!
Not interested in Molehill or Away3D? That's ok... for the chemistry buff you might find some useful bits in the source. All the basics are there for creating some nice looking 3D molecular models.
A quick word before you dig into the source. You'll need to make sure your system is properly configured... else you're going to have some issues compiling / running the ActionScript application.
Have fun storming the castle!
[ source: Molehill Molecule Mountain - Flash Builder Project ]