What a wonderful day yesterday. All us SPIRE interns got the opportunity to go to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and in the afternoon, the Mall of America. It was such a breath of fresh air to get out of Ames and Iowa in general. On the way to the university, I got to see skyscrapers, which we don’t have in Puerto Rico! Just for comparison, The tallest building in PR is 288 ft tall and has only 23 floors, while the 20th tallest building, the Marriott Hotel City Center, has 392 ft and has 32 floors. It also doesn’t help that the “skyscrapers” in PR mostly in the capital of San Juan, which is almost 3 hours away from where I live.
Here are the sources for the tallest building statistics for Puerto Rico and Minnesota:
We arrived at the University of Minnesota. Who knew the campus would be so beautiful! We walked around the campus, seeing the buildings, the trees, the environment— It was all so wonderful. Later on at the 2 VR labs we visited, we saw demos of projects from other graduate and REU students there. One of their most fascinating projects was their use of zSpace, a technology that combines both AR and VR on a desktop screen that through the use of their glasses and a stylus, you could pluck the object out from the screen and see it in a 3-Dimensional fashion. Objects we saw were a human brain, jaw, and heart. You could even make some parts of the heart transparent so you could see inside it and see how the heart was pumping blood through the valves!
After that, both the REU students from Iowa as well as the ones from the University of Minnesota presented their projects to one another. We did not have live demos, but rather slide presentations and pictures regarding the work we were doing. It was pretty cool seeing new projects from other REU students.
In the afternoon, we went to the Mall of America. We explored, shopped a bit, and checked out Nickelodeon World, a cute amusement park right in the center of the mall mostly based on Nickelodeon cartoons. On the way back, I slept in the car and listened to the conversations people were having after I woke up. The car rides to and from Minnesota were 3 hours long each, which was an arduous experience and tested my patience. Overall, the trip in Minnesota was amazing and I’m really glad the wait paid off.