A downloadable tool for Windows

A beta release of NarupaXR, an open-source framework for interactive molecular dynamics in virtual reality (source is available here), brought to you by the Intangible Realities Laboratory.  See our open access publication describing Narupa for further details.

Why is it called Narupa?

Narupa combines the prefix 'nano' and suffix 'arupa'. Wikipedia explains how arūpa is a Sanskrit word describing non-physical and non-material objects. It seemed to us a good concept for describing what it's like to interact with simulated nanoscale objects in VR!

A guide to setting up your own multi-participant VR lab is available here.  Full documentation on the server and VR client are available here: serverVR

Install instructions

Note: the following instructions are for installing and running the server and VR on Windows. If you want to run the server on Linux / Mac OS,  follow the guide to compile it from source on our gitlab repository. The VR is not currently supported on Linux or Mac OS. 

We recommend using the itch client app, which will automatically update and download the application for you.  Log in with an itch.io account and search for NarupaXR, and click Add To Collection. You'll then be able to view and install the application from the itch client app, under Collections. 

Once installed, click Launch! You can launch both the Narupa Server and the VR at the same time, or separately. If you're running a multi-user VR installation, then only one server is required.  Upon launching the server, it will ask what simulation you want to run, so you can choose your own simulation XML files. There are several demo simulations in the folder NarupaXR/server/Assets/Simulations/VR Demos, including: 

  • Buckyballs: Get used to the simulation environment by manipulating buckminsterfullerene molecules.
  • Nanotube Methane: Thread a methane through a nanotube. 
  • 17-Alanine: Tie a the peptide string 17-Alanine in a knot.
  • Knotted Protein: Visualise the smallest known knotted protein, MJ0366.
  • Neuraminidase & Tamiflu: Try a docking simulation of Tamiflu in the enzyme H7N9 neuraminidase.

Full documentation on the server and VR client are available here: serverVR

I Can't Use the itch.io App

If you're having problems with the itch.io app, or don't want to use it, you can download and launch the executable directly. The app simply installs everything to the folder %AppData%\itch\apps\NarupaXR, which can be copied into the address bar to get straight to the application folder, which should look something like this: 

The server executable is server/narupa-server.exe, and the VR executable is narupaXR/narupaXR.exe. The script to choose a server is launch_scripts/choose_server. These can be used directly. 


narupaxr-windows.zip 40 MB
Version 8 May 02, 2019


Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.


Does this support the HTC Vive Cosmos controller? Tried the app with new HTC Cosmos, it's not working. The server is up and I can see the option panel, even the virtual controller under the grand, but I can't do anything with the Cosmos controller. Really want to get this working, any help would be very appreciated!

Hi, we also have the same problem with HTC Vive; VR headset works well, but a controller is fixed on the ground. If you find a way to use the controller, we would like to know it. Thanks in advance.

Not yet, unfortunately!