Undergraduate Research at the Vis Center

Week Three (visu)

Week 3 (Software tools)

This week I have been working with the data for on the server.  The images that mobile devices download need to have different sizes. Adobe’s Photoshop is a powerful tool when working with large quantities of images. My previous work has all been on Photoshop CS 3, but now Photoshop CS 6 is standard.

Meshlab is the tool we use most for working with the 3d data. It is a general-purpose mesh viewer. It is open source, but it is still buggy.


The 3d data that we have has around 100,000 points for each page. This is too much data for a portable device to use. Fortunately there is a function in mesh lab that allows us to interpolate and reduce points.



Most cameras use the Bayer pattern to capture RGB data. In the Bayer pattern every color-sensing element is red green or blue.




Our camera does not use the Bayer Pattern. Instead our camera takes black and white images. These black and white images are at a much higher quality. When we want a color image, we shine a red light on the subject and take a black and white picture. Then we shine a green light on the subject and take a picture, and then a blue light.


After taking multiple photos we have to merge the images back together.  Voxels are multi dimensional pixels. We use UNU to make files called (.nrrd) files. These file make up multi dimensional images, where each dimension is a color spectrum.

Week Two (Vis U)

So far so good.

This week we spent some time discussing what is “research”.  Wikipedia defines research as “creative work undertaken systematically to increase the stock of knowledge”. This is a very vague definition.

Most of the day to day things that we do here are very applicable. The question “Are we doing research?” has been raised. Earlier this week we were introduced to the three I’s of research.  For work to be considered research it must fulfill all three requirements.




Our research does fulfill all the requirements to pass the three I’s of research test.

The research statement that pertains to my section of the project is

“Developing an interactive and flexible cross platform system that visualizes data.”

Right now I am still working on the server side of the application. The computer that I do most of my work is in the basement, but I control it by a secure shell (ssh). Through the ssh connection I can control the remote server the same way I would control a local Linux machine. It is odd to think I have never seen the computer (server) that I have worked on for the last two weeks.


Django is  a internet framework that we have chosen to use for the info forest project. Django allows us to use python scripts to write the HTTPS responses. This makes the info forest system very flexible. If more content becomes available, it will be easy to modify the scripts.


Week One (Vis U)


We have officially started the “vis u” program. I am from Kentucky, but I find it very interesting to meet people from different parts of the world .The students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) have a different background in computer science. The field of Computer Science is expanding in many directions, so it will be helpful to have many different approaches to use in our project.


The project that I am working on is called ” Info Forest “. The end goal of this project is visualization of ancient manuscripts on many devices. The Center for Visualization has more data then most mobile devices could save, so to view all the data a web component is needed. This project will have many challenges to it, but with Eric, Bonnie, Becky, and Krystel we have a good possibility of completing the project.

John Broadbent

(Ipad Simulator)