Week 8 Combo Reflection

Last week was incredibly busy for my team! We had to prepare for a virtual presentation with another REU group at CUNY. We have a lot that we can say about our project, so it was good practice making the slides to help slim down our content. It was interesting listening to the CUNY group present as well. They had a shorter timeline, and their project were done solo. I was quite surprised on how far along their projects were compared to ours even with all the work we have been doing. I’ve decided that we have just been having more fun!

After the presentations, we shifted our focus to our poster. All of us are beginners to designing academic posters, so it was confusing to understand what was expected of us. It would’ve been nice to have concrete examples of “good” and “bad” posters to get an idea. I’ve definitely been able to see a need for our virtual environment in this area!

While balancing the poster design, we worked on wrapping up our A/B testing. Our conditions were analyzing whether a subtitle or chat bubble text interaction format feels more natural in VR. We recruited the other interns and cross-mentors to be participants where they engaged in verbal conversations with NPCs that modeled the two text formats. Then they completed a survey asking about the level of immersion, cognitive workload, satisfaction, among other things.

All of our participants were continually blown away by the NPCs. Either they were unnerved by having a regular conversation with an AI that reacted to them, or they were thrilled with the unique experience. We received several impressed comments on the amount of work we have been putting in to create such a fascinating trial. Thank you to all the participants who helped us with the testing! We really do appreciate your time and supportive comments.

At this point, my team was exhausted. We only tested eight people (the other two people never rescheduled…), but it felt like 50. And, we hadn’t done any data analysis at that point either! Combine running repetitive testing with creating a presentation plus our last professor interview, oof. The weekend was welcomed for sure.

On Saturday, us interns made a plan to hang out and relax. We went to the pool nearby Freddy for the afternoon. I came by later after grocery shopping, but it was so nice to just chat with everyone. I offered to drive the group to get food, and Kris suggested B-Bop’s. Everyone really enjoyed the food and the retro atmosphere. I got a chocolate shake which was delicious.

Our lunch and lectures for the week were Holly, a past REU intern, and Dr. Beiwen Li, the scanning team’s professor. It was neat to hear about Holly’s experience as an intern and her journey since then. Dr. Li’s work was very interesting to learn about as well. The scanning team definitely has some great experience on their side!

There has been a request for more Star Wars memes, so here you go guys.

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