Undergraduate Research at the Vis Center

Sixth Week: The Rundown

Work this week has kept good pace. On the other hand, for me it’s getting stale. There is not much to do but keep on calibrating and it gets overwhelming at times, I’ve been pulling through though. I have always thought of my computer science skills as a tool for better programming because writing source code is my passion at this point in my life, there is not much to say about it. Here I am trying to push myself and discover the academic process of research and it has been but since progress takes time it feels awkward that I can’t just go ahead and write a few lines of code and get it done. I really have to put myself into this and drive the results step by step to a pleasing one.


On the flip side,  I should say that the need for code took over a few days and I started looking for Python Learning books. This should keep me going for a while even if I’m not able to make use of those skills fairly soon. If you are asking yourself; Why Python? the answer is simple, it is widely used which means I will be able to find programming help online if needed and it is also fairly simple, using IDLE certainly is a plus in my point of view, it adds flexibility for programmers that come from hard typed compiled languages where it takes time to get things running.


We also started working on our essays and I have been editing my power point presentation. Today (Friday) we had a peer review session for the essays and I got some pretty good advice and guidance from my fellow  coworkers that have English as a first language.

Fifth Week: Lots to do

We started of the week pretty good. The first exciting thing is that we got ANOTHER BALL. This time it was a smooth plastic orange ball (kinda shinny but I still got good news about it later). We rethought our approach and soon I am going to be handed a laptop to move around for the calibration, still don’t know when though.


Going back to the ball. Julie also handed me a can of white flat spray paint, emphasis on the flat (needed to take out the shininess). I went out to a patch of grass as soon as I got it and painted a section of the ball to try out in hopes that I would not mess it up and did not work eventually. Guess what? It all worked out. After that on Tuesday I finished painting the whole thing and started working with it.


Up until now the rest of my work consists in tweaking the calibration as much as I can, Working on my presentation which will turn out great if I get the ball done and started my essay draft mostly to keep track of other narrative ideas.

On the other hand I should mention that for the 4rth of July celebration the 3rd we went  to Gratz Park on Transilvania University to see a little show that they do every year for the community. They played a couple of patriotic and/or classical pieces. It was nice and the popcorn was great (you can ask Eric). the 4rth I went with a couple of people to see a parade in downtown. So that was it for this week.

Fourth Week: Support, end of the beginning.

We have been looking forward to making the project into a significantly well calibrated and move forwards in other aspects of it but it has proven more challenging than expected. It turns out that all that is left is manual labor.

We finally moved the multi-spectral camera out of the area for our setup and brought the aluminum pieces we have to work with for now. It took us a while to get everything in place, but it was a good work out because some of the stuff we moved was fairly heavy.

After consulting with more experienced professors they provided some pretty relevant information about the requirements and expectations in the hardware matter to make the project work. We’ll be putting our efforts on those too. That includes a bigger ball or sphere and projectors that have wider throw for better focusing and more viewing more relevant details. There happened to be that a certain some one had already thought on buying a beach ball.

Third Week: Trial & error. (DEBUGGING)

The whole week went by really fast. It seems that the work that we are doing now has that effect on me. By midweek we moved up a couple of tables, projectors and the ball with texture to mount a temporary display. I got some help from Fred, the guy that made the warping and blending program, he’s a really nice guy and sometimes takes some time off his work to help out to get me “in touch” with his program and how it works.


The meetings with the content guys was a kind of success again since we have not made as much progress as we have now, at the end of the week. It was difficult for them to contemplate my perspective without seeing what actually the results would be. On the other hand, Aaron offered his mighty hand to help us have an image with certain properties we need to calibrate the projectors onto the setup.


Friday we presented our little draft of the presentations and had a peer feedback session. It went smooth but there is still allot to work on.

But performance and results seems to be arriving at a steady stream. Let’s hope things keep that pace.

Shout out to my girlfriend that I miss so much! And to people back home…

Second Week: Work in … progress?

This week we sorted out problems. More materials were coming in, but we haven’t arrived at the point of getting something done. On Tuesday we met up with the Content Designers and we set up a method of communication after discussing some ideas for the content and how it should be made. There’s still a lot of things we need from them to make this work so I hope they don’t get stressed over it.

On Wednesday we finally worked getting the system (computers) backed-up, re-installed and all the works. So now we’ve got a powerful PC. Also, we got our Styrofoam ball, should do pretty good when we project onto it.

Again this week we were told that Bill (the engineer) would not arrive until next week because of a date miscalcullation.


Also on Wednesday, Brent Seals came to visit and gave us a pretty good presentations on how to DO PRESENTATIONS… Talk about inception. He also talked about our commitment and participation on the projects and other general ideas about  the program.

For the most part, everything is running smooth with some altercations and drawbacks, but nothing that we can not fix. We expect to get results pretty fast since all the research that we have done will certainly pay out somehow.

1rst Week: Settling in.


Work has been doing progress slowly but steadily. After lots of introductions to new people and other meetings we have an assigned project. Me and Jean-Karlo (Diego) are working together on it, I won’t say which for now to keep the tension and mystery, as they did to us for the first three days. We have been reading a book that was given to us for basic familiarization with the work that is to come, which I found online as a PDF (I guess I got lucky)  and we started theorizing and making models of estimated measures and such since we don’t have the accurate tools yet. On Wednesday we received the two projectors that we’ll be working with for now and we used a 8″ model ball that did not work last time to get our ideas going and it helped out to figure out wide the range of the projectors on circular surfaces, but it’s still not something completely worked through.

We are still working on getting a workstation that can manage the computing power we need and getting the code and programs installed on it. For next week we hope on talking with the engineer, when he arrives, about aspect designs and getting our “stuff” (materials and such) to build the mount and work on the actual projector calibrations for the balls or shapes that we’ll use.

What I haven’t talked about is the off work hours. The mornings are cold for us tropical island people, we have small breakfast and maybe stop at the coffee shop on the way. I certainly get to ride my board down a little steep hill that feels pretty sweet also, and later we arrive.ROSE ST HILLLunch is neat, pretty good food around. A half hour is more than enough since service is great. Today I’ll be eating in Q’doba, real good Mexican food.

The afternoons are varied. We usually go to the gym to rock climb or play basketball or do any number of things there. It’s a huge place with lots of options. maybe we’ll end up in shape after all. I will see if I get a chance to ride board on the weekend and go around campus for more entertaining stuff to say.

That’s all for now.

-Karlo Luis Martínez Martos