Undergraduate Research at the Vis Center

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.

Research Question-Week 2

This week I began the final leg of the Latin to NIV Translation XML. This officially puts me past the half way point in the Chad Gospel XML. It is exciting to get to the point with this data where I feel like I have made a substantial dent in its preservation!

Just to give a brief overview of how I have gone about writing the XML, I began by going through each image of the Chad Gospels and writing down the Latin in each page. I then went through and noted every Chapter, verse, line break, and page break that occurred in the text. Then, in order to make the text easily searchable, I noted every time incorrect Latin was used, added correct Latin, and made sure that all abbreviations and words that were split by line and page breaks could be found (and searched) in their correct forms. What this boiled down to is a lot of details that had to be checked and double checked!

After I finished that, I began matching up the Latin from the Chad Gospels to the English translation of the Bible. This process was a little less detail oriented than the Latin XML, however, it has been flexing my “Latin muscles” a bit more.

One of my main struggles in all of this  has been to retain our vision for the Info Forest App  in those moments where it can be hard to get past some of the more monotonous aspects of my portion of the project. For example, when it is 3 in the afternoon and I have been writing XML for 7 hours and still have 1 hour to go, when I have been staring at the same line on the manuscript for 20 minutes and can still not figure out for the life of me what it says, or when there is an error in the XML and I have already spent so much time looking at it that I have begun to question the existence of numbers and letters that actually have meaning.

This week has been especially good for me in that Dr. Brent Seales and Julie Martinez have been working with us to identify our research question. I think this has been so beneficial because I personally equate the concept of a research question with the purpose of a mission statement. It is our guiding force as we push through the less exciting aspects of our work and gives us not only a sense of purpose in our work, but also a sense of its significance.

While still in the rough stages of its formation, I have begun to identify my research question. It will be a little less conventional than my fellow teammates’ due to the nature of my contribution to the project, however it is just as vital to what I am contributing to the app as it is to what they are contributing.

With that said, I hope to find a way to assemble the data from important manuscripts in a way that is accessible, correct, and logical. I see my role on the team as someone who is here to enable the success of my teammates by providing quality content that will work cohesively with the technology they are creating so that those who are scholars and those who are not will be able to enjoy and find meaning in the Info Forest project.

Research(week 2)

This week has had more of a definite structure as we all fall into the work week routine. And with that my goal has shifted from absorption to implementation.

At the beginning of the week I piddled around with databases and SQL, as you can see from this screen shot. I managed to select and transfer images of pie to and from a database. You can probably tell it was nearing my lunch break and I was getting somewhat hungry.

Overall, the theme for this week would probably be research. More specifically: what is my research question? As undergrad researchers we want to push past our knowledge, not just flirt with the line of the unknown. The ultimate accomplishment would be to push past all existing human knowledge and expand on it.

My biggest struggle with forming a research question was that I couldn’t narrow in on the specifics. I wanted to think of the big picture and end product instead of my individual part in the project. And since my part involves the coding of the iOS app, my question needs to revolve around that. So here it goes, this is what I’ve established as my research question so far:

How do I import data from the server to display in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner on iOS?

And once again I’d like to wrap up with a side note:  Jean-Karlo makes a mean cup of coffee.

Week 2: Research Question

This week was about continuous learning and reading all that could help me developing the Web based application. I also read and watched some video tutorials related with Java in order to help Eric in the Android part. We also had a very interesting seminar by Dr. Seales. It was about what is a research and the VisU  Program. He encourages us to push the boundaries of what we know and find our direction to graduate school. He also asked us to make our research question:  Is it possible that we can develop an application that will be compatible with iOS, Android, and Web? I said “we” because as Dr. Seales said there’s no “I” in a teamwork, so that’s the general project question. My research question is: Is it possible to develop a Web-based app related with the ancient manuscripts with a standardized format compatible with the Android and iOS apps?

What am I working on?

This week I managed to get a clearer notion of how data is going to be managed by the android application I am working on. After sharing plenty of ideas with my partners, we finally thought of a way of representing data when transported between the server and the clients applications, so that it would be easy to interpret and display on the application. Then I started working on the classes that will match the data that the application will receive. I managed to create the HTTP request on android which will ask the server for the configuration file, which will set up the application, and it receives the file. I am still working and I will keep working on the classes and the interpretation of that file even thou I created the code that reads the configuration file with all the manuscript and displays a button for each one of them. I have created code that displays a images and code that plays sound, but I haven’t been able to display a video. My goal for the next week is to finally fill the classes with the data received from the server and fix the code that displays videos. After working on all that, meditation and a Dr. Seales presentation I got to state my research question, How to create a dynamic android application that displays data and media of ancient manuscripts? I am determined to keep pushing forward and having a great experience with my partners.



Configuration File               Dynamic Manuscript Menu (reading from configuration file)

Dynamic Manuscript Menu (reading from configuration file)


Imagining the Future

During the week, we met up with the guys working on the content for the 3D projection program, and we had a long talk about what could be displayed, how it could and should be displayed, and how to interact with it.  That’s when we decided to introduce the Microsoft Kinect into the project: imagining an entire workspace (or even at home), where interactions with the system are controlled by one’s own movements.  That sent my mind racing… the possibilities, the challenges, the excitement… But, as with everything (and one of my favorite quotes), “Significance is cumulative – but not always obvious.”  Meaning we have to start small, with the bits and pieces that, when merged, will realize that future vision of an interactive motion-sensing space.  Which leads to the focus of the research we will be doing: how do we begin building this smart place that recognizes and reacts to one’s movements?  As is usual when working in a team, each member makes one of those pieces his/her own.

In my case, I’m happy to be working with the interactivity of the Kinect, which produces a research question on a more personal level:

How can we create a basic system that recognizes intuitive gestures and reacts to them accordingly; a system which we can improve later to make it more complete and more interactive?

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)

Well hello there

My first couple of days have consisted of planning, meetings, and research.  The adult leaders of the program gathered us around to explain the basic goal of our project and then we all discussed the plans, possibilities, and execution of these goals.  I am working on the project titled “Info Forest”.  As much as that sounds like a project belonging to an environmentalist, it’s a metaphor for what we hope to lay the groundwork for.  The Vis Center would like to develop a database of ancient documents that are accessible on the website as well as through mobile devices.  Specifically, we are working with the Chad Gospels.  This will be the foundation for any future documents that are added to the database.

With the overall goals laid out, my goal for the moment is to absorb.  I am attempting to prepare myself for this project and have been relentlessly researching.  I’ve been diving into HTML, CSS, PHP, and XML since I had only had a very basic knowledge of them.

I am excited to work alongside such amazing students.  We have already been trading knowledge and teaching each other in order to stimulate growth as a team.  The other day Zack taught me how to create an app for Apple devices.  We even made a ridiculous app so I could gain experience.

And on a quick side note, I’d like to say that I am loving the cross-cultural environment.


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

First week

First week:

I like this program very much. I’m still adapting to here since it’s the first week but I like the university, the Marksbury building, and all the interesting projects that are taking place at the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environment. In the first week what I basically was doing was reading and trying to know more about the amazing project that I’ll be working on it. The program’s name is Info-Forest and it’s related with a manuscript application for Ipad, Android, and Web. I’m working in the web part, I read and learned about PHP, HTML, and CSS. I’m really excited and looking forward the next week.