Tick Tick 1..
We’ve reached the end of the program and I can’t believe how quickly time went by.
We had a lot of fun yesterday with the presentation. The entire team of SPIRE-EIT interns did a very good job. We got the opportunity to talk to a lot of people regarding their experience in VR and they really liked the idea of our project.
Big thanks to Paul for clicking our pictures yesterday and also taking our interview for the b-roll videos. Really appreciate his patience and him taking out the time for us.
Can’t believe this is the last time I’m sitting in the VRAC and blogging. Goodbye’s are definitely hard but I’m hopeful we’ll all be in touch with each other as well as our faculty and grad mentor.
Looking forward to the Goodbye Lunch today..after which I’l finally begin my packing. 😀
Tick Tick 2..
Today is the final poster presentation day and I am super excited for it. Just two more days left.
Just keeping my fingers crossed for the presentation to go well!
I’m sure all of us will do well. 😀
Tick Tick 4….3
I trying my best to maintain my streak for the countdown.
With just three more days left here, the teleport team is preparing for tomorrow’s presentation.
We had Stephen’s HCI lecture in the morning and I found it very interesting to know how complex decision making works and how it is based on an individual’s characteristics. It was really thought provoking. The two video lectures we saw by Dan Ariely and Daniel Kahuman were very interesting too. I’m gonna miss all these lectures a lot when I go back to school.
Today is a busy day since we will be working on making videos for a demonstration tomorrow. I’m really excited for that and the ice cream that we’re gonna get today at VRAC in a bit…I already put aside more time for my workout todayy 😀
Tick Tick 5..
Explanation of the title: With just 5 more days left, I’m gonna try to be consistent with my blogs and actually name my titles as countdowns till the last day.
It’s the start of final week here and I can’t say how happy and sad I am at the same moment. I’m sure most of us can relate to this, the happiness of completing our projects, meeting so many people, I am so sad that we won’t have to come to VRAC after this week 🙁
On the brighter side though, the Teleport team is done with the paper and poster. I’m looking forward to practicing for the poster presentations tomorrow during the Craft of Research.
PS- This weekend was super awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the farewell dinner and got to bond more with the fellow interns. It was a fun evening and a much needed one after all the hard work the previous weeks. 😀
Yesterday, we visited the University of Minnesota where we all met other REU students and learnt about their research. The entire team from ISU REU also presented pretty well. The people there had some really good questions and I am proud of our entire intern team for being able to present our work there.
The highlight of the day was the Mall of America which was like any other mall…..BUT it was like 10 times bigger, had an entire amusement part inside it, it had Macy’s which I saw after really long!, it even had really good sales all around, and some stores were really cool. I can’t ever say enough about the grandeur of the mall but it was definitely a very good experience.
This week, teleport team is analyzing the data that we collected last week. We are basically done with the project. We are just excited about what the results are going to be like. Last week was hectic as we were testing participants and had some challenges when we did that. Fortunately, we completed our target and are right on track for this week. I’m really happy with our progress pace. Big thanks to the teleport team and our mentors and professors for their support throughout.
So much to do
I have not been getting enough time to blog and I wish I could do this more often. 🙁
Just two more weeks to go.
Last week Alec helped me so much in coding and I really appreciate his help!! 😀
We completed the testing demo for our project and starting this week we got our demo approved by our mentors. Tuesday, we started testing participants and I feel like our pace is good since today we are more than halfway done.
I feel good about this project and am super excited for analysing the results next week and after which we are basically done with the project.
Currently, while we are testing participants we are also working on our presentation that we have to give on Monday in Minnesota.
This week the Teleport Team aimed to be ready for testing and I am happy that it’s Friday and we are almost done. I just need to run a few more trials just for my satisfaction before I finalize the product and run it by Alec and Lucia.
I am working on the abstract today and I feel there is so much to write and it’s so tough to synthesize information and write relevant stuff. Karina has helped us a lot in writing the paper and Nina was a huge help for me today as she helped me get screenshots of our 4 tests. She was really patient while she was moving around in the Virtual Environment trying to get a perfect screenshot. (Thanks Guys! : D)
Next week, we will be continuing with writing the paper and will also start with the data collection and testing of the experiment and the week after we evaluate the data and include it in our paper.
The following week will be our last week here and we will be focusing on our final paper presentation. I feel like we are in a good pace at this moment and am very excited to complete this project very soon.
“To do..To do..To do to do to doo”
Before I start with the blog..I should explain my title…This is basically how the Pink Panther music goes and I can relate to it as I see all the teams have so much work do since we only have 2 more weeks here… 😀
Yesterday was super productive for me..did a lot of unity work for the project.
Got to know so many new things about unity functionality. Last night I was thinking and researching for an hour or two to get some good ideas on writing the abstract. I think I’ll start with the abstract today but I plan on prioritizing unity work over it since I have to have the final unity project completed by tomorrow.
There’s a lot of work for me to do today. I need to finish building 4 applications for our 2X2 model. And I plan to add some extra features to it after I write the abstract today/tomorrow.
Only two more weeks to go and I feel like I am more charged up to do the work than ever before. Super excited!
Long time no see!
I’m posting after really long and I wished I could motivate myself to be more regular with my blogs. :((
Things are looking up with the final project. Before I start with what’s going on…I really want to appreciate Alec’s help. He’s been very patient with me while explaining the code to me. He breaks down every problem into small parts, and more than unity, I have learnt so much more about problem solving from him. I find myself extremely lucky to be in the project.
Jon and Stephen have been so supportive of our ideas and our mentors Lucia and Alec are helping us in whatever way they can and I really appreciate the fact that I’m a part of this group.
I have been working with Alec a lot since the past week and we finally managed to get everything together in one place. I feel like now we are in a place wherein all three of us feel like we’ve contributed our bit to the research. We now have a working demo but I still have a lot of things to add this week in order to start with the final testing. My team mates are super creative and I feel like we are in a good place when it comes to the paper and poster because of their hard work. I just feel so thankful today. The unity demonstration that I had to give to my team today went well and I’m super happy and grateful right now.
On the other hand, I wish I could contribute more on the MCA where I thing I lagged a bit. The Shaders group people are amazing and they’ve been very supportive of the fact that I was more involved in the final research project.
I hope to be able to implement all the things that are needed in the final project by the end of this week and gonna hope that everything turns out well since we don’t have that much room for error since it’s almost week 7 now! Hopefully everything will turn out just fine. :))
The GenderMag video was very interesting. It talks about how the UX differs with respect to different genders.It has actually been proven that males and females perform and think very differently.
The speaker mentioned, for example, if we consider a software or if we even consider the economic point of view for the online retail market, we can observe that women comprise of 70-80% of all online purchases, as opposed to men. This gives us a clear reason why GenderMag is significant for us to evaluate. The speaker mentioned the five steps to go about, i.e, picking a person, evaluating a software, walking the person through the software and evaluate goals and sub goals, risk evaluation and at the end tinkering. There five steps are very clear to me and I can see how all these add up to measuring, analysing, comparing and contrasting UX experienced by different genders.
Another thought provoking thought the speaker conveyed during the question session was that in the future, they aim to write a research paper on InclusiveMag which is inclusive of race, ethnicity, culture etc. She aims to find out if debugging structural inequalities will be of significant importance for our society and furthermore, in the field of Human Computer Interaction.
I look forward to reading her paper on GenderMag once I’m done with the research here.
Unity Unity Unity..
This weekend was very productive for me. I completed all the pending summer school work.
Apart from that, I have learnt so much in Unity since I have come here (thanks to Alec). I would say that before coming here I only knew like 50% of unity and now I think I know much more than that.
Shaders are super cool too! I was able to revise my concepts to implement hologram and fresnel effect and also went over some extra tutorials that dealt with adding the wave effect, dissolve effect and portal effect.
The MCA project is on track and I am happy with our progress so far..
The teleport team has made some good progress too! Nina has some really good ideas with the Virtual Environment and Karina has helped me a lot finding the correct kind of avatar. I think the shader effect on the avatar has come out really well! Lucia loved it too and I am excited to work on the steps ahead. I added the first person shooter on the avatar and now I have to place it in the Virutal Environment and try to walk around with it.
Excited for the coming week.
Today, it has exactly been a month since we all arrived here and we’re just left with one more month. I can feel like time is moving so fast…I feel really sad when I think that in a month’s time we’ll all be leaving from here and I just wish I could get to spend more time here. I even remember the time when Elliot was driving me and Roselynn from the airport and he said that since the past few years he has seen so many people, all of them who were anxious in the beginning, were the ones who were the saddest while leaving. I could not relate to it then, but I now I realize what he meant at that time. I am definitely gonna have a hard time leaving. :((
I read memes on social media that display Monday Blues but after coming here, I usually feel Friday Blues since I get a week closer to leaving from here. I am actually enjoying my work and that’s something I always wanted to have when I grow up… the feeling of excitement getting up every Monday morning to go to work. This program is not just about getting work done but also about building connections and meeting people and that’s something I will cherish the most when I leave from here.
But the good part is that we still have a month, and to quote Jennifer after Stephen’s HCI lecture today, “I’m just gonna pretend that this program isn’t ending till the last day, so that we can enjoy every moment here”..”and we’ll worry about leaving on the last day itself”. I really like this ideology! Thanks Jennifer for helping me with my Friday Blues. :))
Apart from this, I was able to implement portals in unity and now I am trying to give the effect of travelling from one dimension to another. Hopefully, I should be done with that plus the HCI homework over the weekend, and I’ll hopefully post the final version of the same next week.
Things seem to be under control. Our MCA is has proceeded to the next stage and we all have discussed how each of us can contribute to the project . We still brainstorm and keep coming up with new ideas and I’m happy we make a great team!
Apart from that, the teleport team is working on writing the research methods by this week and also work on the user interface and project development in unity. I am trying to implement some knowledge of deeper dives into our final project. Hopefully, it will all come together well. :))
Today we worked on planning tasks for our MCA. We even checked out the C6 lab with Vijay and Adam to learn how to run an application on C6. We might not make our final project using C6, but we got to learn something new today so it was good :))
I really look forward for the next few days as it’s gonna be juggling our final project work with MCA and I am super excited for both. My aim right now is to be able to contribute and be a good team member for both the projects.
Time is going by really fast, but the good part is that we have so much help and support around us. I’m confident we’re all gonna be doing good :))
(It took me a day to come up with a topic name that is an alliteration, just to keep my streak going)😊
With the starting of week 5 and 5 more weeks to go, I must say that things are going pretty good. We are in the middle of discussing the MCA and also our Teleport team has made some progress in game design the past week.
I’m trying to hit the gym everyday, even though I might do it for 15 minutes on some days..I just feel like sweating out little bit stress helps me a lot. Even the walk back to Freddy everyday after work, I spend my time thinking and reflecting on what I did that day and what could have I done better. Just makes me ready for the next day.
Looking forward for the rest of the day today! :))
I just realized I have this new habit of naming all my blog posts such that is becomes an alliteration 🙂
Today started with the rains and also with the fact that I realized I need to buy a bigger umbrella..the one that I have right now is so weird as despite holding it during my entire walk here this morning, I was drenched… 🙁
But, I am alright now since I used up my lunch break to go back to the dorm, grab a bit and change my clothes. Thankfully it wasn’t raining on my way back here. :))
To be on the safe side though, I brought my hair dryer with me just in case anyone’s shoes/socks are super wet. Feel free to take it from me. And I even checked the bathroom has an extra plug point so that problem is solved 🙂
We also started with Shaders today and Vijay has been very patient with us. Shader Lab is a new language for us and despite that, he was able to explain everything so clearly in both practical and theory. It was an information intensive session and we all enjoyed it as it gave us a very good idea about a graphic card, CPU and GPU programming, and many more things. Also, I am really happy with my group also since everyone asks really insightful questions which is really helping me learn a lot. I am looking forward for the MCA and already excited about what our topic is going to be.
I am really happy I got the Unity Shaders topic as a major course activity. I really wanted this one specifically as it will also help me come up with better ideas for the final project. I’m super excited to start with the deeper dives tomorrow with Vijay, Adam and rest of my team.
Apart from the deeper dives, our project has also taken up a little more pace. Teleport team will start working on the design implementation for the same today and I am really excited about the final product. I met with our grad mentor, Lucia yesterday and it was really sweet of her to offer us help. I was able to discuss my grad school plans and other future career desires with her and it was really nice getting to know her opinion and views on the same.
It’s the start of a new day today. I feel lucky to be surrounded with such a good support system. I’m also thinking I’ll try some new places to eat around here during this weekend. Although, whenever I say this, I always end up eating my regular subway 🙁 ..but I’m still gonna give it a try 🙂
It’s a nice day today, especially with the rains. But rain sometimes makes me lazy and sleepy so I’d be needing a lottt of caffeine today…
The tutorials so far have been interesting. I did not get much of Maya and Solidworks but Unity is something that I am really excited about and enjoyed myself thoroughly during the lectures.
We completed the mini problem statement of our project last week and are hoping to finalize the methods of our study by this week.
It’s been a pretty productive week with all the reading material and lectures. I’m feeling good about our project and hopefully our team will achieve all the goals we have planned for us.
HCI- Could only find one
On Tuesday, Bradon, Emmanulle and I were super hungry and thought of trying out the vending machine at Howe Hall in the hope of getting some snacks to go.
Unfortunately, the machine with the snacks, did not accept credit cards and only accepted bills of $1. Thankfully, Emmanuelle had some $1 bills but the machine wasn’t accepting the bills for some reason. We tried 3-4 times when it finally worked. I clicked a picture of them struggling…It was funny at that time because we were already getting late for the Craft of Research meeting and were super hungry too.
I felt like the design could be improved if the machine accepted bills of denominations of $5- $10..or even accepted credit cards. 😀
It’s gonna be alright
I haven’t blogged since a while, partly because there is nothing unique to discuss about and partly because there is so much going on apart from the research here at ISU that I don’t even know where to start from.
I’ll try getting some things off my chest and gonna write impromptu, hoping it all makes sense despite inadvertent grammatical errors. .
I follow a person named @sadhguru and another person named @garyvee on Instagram and since the past couple of weeks I have come to believe (through them) that it’s very important that we know what we are, how we are as a person, until this happens, we won’t ever know what we are bringing to any team or contributing in any work place.
So I decided to actually retrospect what I am.
2 years ago, I never imagined I’d be in the US with my entire family, sitting in a state that I only heard about from other people. Immigration to US was something that my family planned when I was born about 20 years ago when they applied for my green card in hope that I will pursue my PhD/ Masters in the States.
Bottom of the line, I was supposed to come to US 5 years later but due to Immigration Visa rules, I had to come to the US and my parents used up all the money they saved for my masters to pay my undergraduate tuition fee.
It was as if we were earning in Indian Rupees and spending in dollars (1$ = 70 Rs, btw), so it was a huge financial strain on all of us (It still is, but not spending is not an option, we gotta do what we have to do).
We had a very hard time coping up in a new country, one because we were suddenly uprooted from India..had to leave our family, home, friends, everything..and two.. we had to start afresh from scratch. That entire year..I felt as if I am getting all the problems I should be normally getting throughout my lifetime..in that one year. I was unable to talk to anyone in my family since I could not take the risk of making them feel as if they didn’t do the right thing bringing me here, the inferiority complex of having an Indian accent and not being able to fit in a group kept crumbling me down. I soon stopped eating food..it later led to a few personal health problems which I am suffering from even right now. My dad would ask me how my day went and I used to try to keep a straight face and tell him it went alright, despite the fact my classmates did not include me in any group,I was trying to get accustomed to the new culture here..I did not know half the things..for example..I did not know what a pop tart was. I worked as a cashier in a grocery shop and once had to give change back to a person..I did not even know what a dime and nickel looked like… I was having a hard time doing coding and I was experiencing newness in literally everything..I had a tough time making my point clear in a classroom whenever I was asked a question, I even had relationship issues with people I was connected to back in India. I was in my most helpless state but one thing that I never stopped was praying. I kept praying every single day..not to ask for anything but just to help me gain some peace of mind.
Why am I discussing the past?
I’d say that I want to give out a message to people, also to myself (because sometimes I forget everything is going to be okay).
The fact of the matter is that despite so much unrest in my mind…there was some sort of strength in me to wake up every morning and focus all my anger and sadness into concentration in my work. I am a firm believer of philosophy and am currently reading the Bhagwat Geeta (I also plan to read the Bible, Kuran and other such books sometime later). What that book is teaching me is be a “Karma Yogi”, i.e. keep doing what’s under your control and leave the rest to God.
I kept working hard every single day. I was new to coding and I absolutely despised it. I also thought of changing my major to mathematics or philosophy for a while..yet I kept working. Even writing the code to calculate the sum of 5 numbers used to give shudders down my spine. My dad played a huge role in pushing me into this..he had a feeling I’d be alright. A year went by, and nothing improved..I was okay in coding and far from being proficient. But then…Last summer, I had a moment of epiphany..I was helping out a friend and somehow whatever questions he had..I was able to solve. I wrote my own code for matrix multiplication and it ran without any error. I programmed a vending machine, movie kiosk…all the things that I could not have imagined doing a week ago. It was then I realized that hard work eventually pays off. It takes real long to get results..but it does. After some time, I applied for the job of a student instructor on campus, nailed the interview and got the job. My work now is important to me because when I see people come to my lecture..I see myself in them and I go to any lengths to help them. After the semester the look of satisfaction I get from my peer students..Is something that is priceless to me. I could have never imagined that what terrified me a year ago, is something that gives me immense joy now.
Coming back to my point, I feel that if we try hard enough, nothing is impossible. We can easily blame others, our circumstances for not being able to perform well, but the truth is that no matter how people around you are like..you have the power to change your results if you put in the hard work.
This is something that I have learnt in the past two years. I still have the same Indian accent, I wear Indian ethnic clothes sometimes to class, I still find it hard to talk to people at first, I have a huge inferiority complex but I know I am responsible for it. I’m gonna try my level best to improve myself and if not,I’ll be responsible for who I am. Priyanka Chopra, my favorite Bollywood actress and wife of Nick Jonas I guess?.. once said..whether I am in India or I am in America…I’m always true to who I am. Because if you try to change into something you’re not…you wont ever be able to know what you can do for the place you’re working for. If you stay true to who you are, then whatever little you achieve will be yours and you’ll only move forward in life and take everyone else along with you..
My aim here in Iowa is to fight all my fears. A lot of time I feel disheartened and unable to work. A few days ago my father was really unwell..Like very very unwell. That was the time I thought to myself..my mom and sister are already taking care of him what can I possibly do for him sitting 10k miles away? I can only make my time here worthwhile by doing my job to the best of my abilities..knowing my father..this is something that will give him immense joy.
I still am not tension free yet..I have team issues, I have family problems, financial issues , my own insecurities and what not but I still pray everyday and try to tell myself everything will be okay. To everyone who is reading this right now and is able to relate to even 0.0001% of it…I can assure you that as generic as it may sound at times… but eventually everything does become alright. If I am able to change even one person’s mood today..or uplift someone..I’d be very proud of myself. 🙂
A little bit about some of the work I do…
It’s been a very productive week so far for us…although c++ is something that I feel is the only thing I am actually good at, yet I got to learn very interesting and new techniques form Adam. I went to check out the gym yesterday and it felt pretty good working out after so long. I did my regular cardio and never felt so fresh ever before.
Apart from that, we also checked out the VR lab which I forgot to blog about the day before. So this post is a cumulative of the past two days. Our mentor Lucia gave us a small tour of the lab and also gave us access so that we can go and get comfortable with VR games in general. I personally felt really nice since we will be using the HTC vive as opposed to the Rift I was using since the past year.
Talking about rift, I don’t think I have ever mentioned in detail as to what I am currently involved in outside of the REU. So I am working with my team back in California to make a Virtual Reality Game that is based on sustainable education. This past year, we (my team mainly, as I am not as proficient in sketchUp) replicated all the buildings of our campus and imported those to unity. My role is to write the code behind for all unity scripts. What we aim to do by the end of the summer is that to enable the user to walk around the campus and when the user comes across a particular building, he can click on a canvas/banner/button that gives him various sustainable options each building can have.
The sustainable options will have the total cost, the green house gas emitted and the energy saved right next to each options. For example, a user can chose what kind of windows (triple, double or single-pane) are suitable for a particular building, what kind of bulbs (Fluorescent or Incandescent) are better, if solar panels are required or not on that building. It’s more like a test on the user’s higher order thinking skills to help him understand and apply the concept of sustainability.
We eventually aim to make this game available for all incoming freshmen to get an enhanced virtual tour of campus, the college administration to help them implement sustainability. We will also be including this game in future introductory engineering classes as as example of what they can do on their final project.
I don’t have any pictures of my game right now, but what i have right now is some of the pictures of a day when we hosted an event for high school students to make them experience Virtual Reality, with my professor Dr. Fadi Castronovo and teammates Karan Monga and Durodoluwa Odumosu.(In the pictures we are using the Oculus headset connected to the Alienware laptop.)
My research on Teleportation is something that fits perfectly with my past experience and I hope I am able to contribute my skills and experiences in the research and take with me not only new skills but also strong and friendly relationships with fellow REU interns.
Apologies if my blog looks like a Statement of Purpose haha, but I just thought I should share with everyone what I do. The posts ion the following week will be about my story and how life takes unpredictable turns..
Looking forward for the rest of the summer.
Start of Week 2
The weekend passed by really fast. I still feel as if it was Friday evening just yesterday. Although, like most people, I am not a big fan of Mondays but the start of this week has been surprisingly very exciting.
We are beginning with our courses and hopefully will be done by them in the next few weeks. I do have some idea on what my project is going to be like, so I am not as anxious about it as I was during the past couple of days.
Aside from all this, I really wanna go to the the state gym and try rock climbing, and I do plan to go check it out this week. If anyone would like to tag along with me, I’d love it! So please let me know you are interested. I’m afraid of heights too, but just wanted to find some fun activities to do here on campus.
I am also taking summer school right now along with a research that I am doing back in school , but I am somehow not feeling any stress anymore. Either I can’t feel stress anymore or I’m actually getting used to it, I don’t know lol. But what I do know is that I am really enjoying my time here. Our VR lab tour last week only inspires me to do more and more in life and actually become eligible to work in such labs when I grow up. All the load that I am taking only drives me to perform better and be an asset to my team, and also help others along the way whilst I keep learning new things from my fellow colleagues. I find myself lucky to be a part of this team and I wish all undergrads should try applying for such opportunities.
That’s pretty much all I had to say for today, sorry if I was a little random, but I’m just writing by thoughts so apologies if this is confusing.
Looking forward for the rest of the week!
The End of Week 1
It has been quite an overwhelming week with so much information to absorb, yet thankfully enough, I feel very relieved to know that our mentors are here to support and help us throughout the semester. I have started to grow fond of the busy schedule and i really feel lucky to be here, specially after today’s VR tour.
Getting the opportunity to use the vive , rift and AR headset along with the knowledge of 3D printing and not to forget the C6 lab, really opened my mind to new possibilities we all can become a part of. The C6 lab was something that I was very fascinated with as it was something that I had never experienced before.It was interesting to know Iowa State has one of the largest 4k X 4k screens with 16 million pixels, and that students here made an application for companies like Boeing.
I am really excited about this summer and hopefully, I too would be able to contribute my bit in an efficient way to our project.
The Start of a New Journey…
Coming to Iowa State for the first time ever was a definitely something that I was extremely anxious about but also something to be excited for. As an Undergrad Researcher in my university, I did have a very little idea of what really a research is, but what I’m most excited about is getting to work with interns all around the States. As a resident of California who immigrated here a hardly a couple of years ago, I am used to adapting and getting to know different cultures. Although, the idea of spending my entire summer here at Iowa, in a new state, among new people, with diverse backgrounds and different cultures, felt challenging at first, but after getting to know everyone in the last two days, I can confidently say that we all are going to a wonderful time at here.
I believe that all of us are here to make an impact and contribute our bit to the amazing research topics we have been given. All of us bring our own share of experiences and innovative ideas, and working under professors here at Iowa State will be able to further broaden our horizons and think out of the box. It has hardly been three days and I already wish I was a student here for the rest of the year. The intellectually simulating environment of the VRAC lab and the support of all the faculty, professors and mentors fills me with immense joy the the desire to work hard, learn and apply my learning to contribute my bit to our research.