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Term in Full Force

As classes have begun to settle into their course content in terms of introduction and preparing student’s for remote teaching I have been reminded of the pacing of school that can be incredibly rough. My canvas calendar appears to grow with due dates as I previewed what is to come. Nonetheless, the work must continue!

This week I wanted to talk about some of my preliminary findings on the HoloLens I discussed in last weeks post. I haven’t looked full force into the specific documentation as we haven’t confirmed if we are going to be using a HoloLens 1 or 2 so far. I have though seen many of the capabilities of the HoloLens 2 and am getting even more hopeful that we can get our –> hands <– on one!

There are many differences such as being able to use both of your hands to perform gestures. There is Eye tracking now, and many more gestures that one can perform now. I’ve also noticed that multiple commenting threads have been talking about it being much more comfortable to wear as well, which sounds important at the end of the day for the client.

While I would love to just give a huge list of the differences I should give a context of the ideas I have with our project should we get a HoloLens 2. Primarily it would have to do with many of the upgraded gestures. Being able to grab and manipulate the projections we make will be incredibly useful. As over time the user may find that they have a preference in where they want their projections being displayed. As I always find myself trying to make things more comfortable whenever I get into a new environment. Im still making adjustments to IDE’s I use and even to my own room layout. We all find a groove or specific layout we like over time, and giving the client the option to be able to setup specific layouts or sizes even for their testing environment sounds super useful.

Ergonomics aside, the differences CPU, RAM size (4GB vs 2GB) and improved WIFI capabilities will ensure that realtime updates are possible in order to let the user change tests or experiments at a moments notice. Maybe they notice odd behavior that they want to inspect before the strain potentially gets too heavy on the material and breaks it. Ensuring that no lag from the connection and no slowdown from the software itself seems paramount in what the user wants to achieve with this device.

I am not sure how difficult it will be on the processor and wifi(consistency at least in terms of wifi) to do what we want. As we haven’t been able to talk to the user directly to see what testing conditions are. For all we know there could be an incredibly large amount of strain gauges used and need to change how we approach modeling the data in general.

Otherwise I am feeling quite content this week in terms of what I have accomplished. I learned some about the differences in terms of developing in Unity and Unreal Engine, and while Unreal Engine comes off as more difficult(general consensus). I find it very appealing in terms of capability and technology.

For next week, we will have our first follow-up meeting and as much as I know we are waterfalling this project. But I hope we get to do some hands on programming and testing soon. So I will most likely cover more of my individual research of either one of the two engines, or ramble about class assignments and secretly reference my upcoming D&D campaign.

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The Start of the AR Capstone Project and Teambuilding

This week has been very tense, motivating, and captivating as we finally have our capstone teams assembled. I am on the Augmented Reality for Realtime Strain Visualization(AR-RSV) team mentored and partnered with Professor Mike Bailey at OSU. The team has had a chance to meet together as a group and with Professor Bailey. He has been incredibly helpful so far and has basically left himself open for us to ask questions. I will be going through what has went well this week and what I am understanding about my project so far.

First I want to share how well the initial team contact has been. And how I have found how ideal the week has been in terms of communication between my peers.

We all immediately found an instant messenger type service that we prefer in order to have instant feedback from each other. We chose Discord knowing it might not have some of the versatility or features that some other services offer like Slack, but it is what we are comfortable with.

We are testing Asana as a Kanban board and general task management system for our assignments as I have had experience using it before. So I suggested to the team and we have all agreed to use for the time being to see how the workflow manages. I am confident that we have gotten off to a great start in terms. As we have already helped each other become accountable by requiring peer reviewing papers as early as our first papers. Additionally we are sending our papers to Professor Bailey in order for him to see if we are missing anything to further improve or have feedback on our assignments. He wants to be included so he can aide us through the capstone project and ensure that as long as we do the work, we will succeed.

The environment that has been created so far, even if it may be a honeymoon phase, has been great. A solid organizational foundation feels great compared to other group projects I have had at OSU. Previously I have had group projects at OSU feel very unorganized and almost confusing. Where messaging is done through Direct Messages(DM’s) and communication can happens days apart with no real update in progress. So I am somewhat more at ease going into this term than I initially was due to the clear organization of our team.

The general idea of the project is as follows: We will be programming a Microsoft Hololens 1 or 2, a mixed reality device, to display contour lines or heat maps in real-time as a concrete test is occurring. This will allow our client to be able to change tests as they see fit based on the values they see. The initial project meeting went well with Professor Bailey as he gave us a clear vision of how the product is to work and we will be able achieve it. We are pending to see if we can get a Microsoft Hololens 2 though. Professor Bailey stated that the differences from the first model and second greatly reduce the burden on the programmer in terms of managing software.

I am still in my preliminary stages of researching about the technology. Though I have learned enough to know that we can embed markers in images to be able to use as anchors for creating visualizations.

Based on the information I have synthesized from the meeting my initial idea is that as long as we add some sort of marker to each strain gauge, or an area that is suitable to represent it’s location, we can display that data whenever the user looks at it to show the current strain value. there is also the option of having a location based device in order to map the strain gauges, but it seems much cheaper and feasible to simply have a printed image on a location.

Although it is the first true week of our project, I feel that our team is poised for success with the amount of work we have already put forward to the organization and structure of our team.

Next week I expect to have learned more about the Hololen’s through reading it’s SDK to describe some features and possibilities.

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Breaking Rules and Looking Forward

When I transferred to OSU I originally had the intention of staying away from computer graphics. Or much of anything that could be perceived as focused in the gaming industry. A rule I wanted to hold to myself to when I decided to go to a university for computer science(CS). I want make sure that I was interested in CS and not the concept of working on a game. I felt that I had used so much of my time in high school gaming and neglecting any sort of studies in general. So I needed to make sure I wasn’t lying to myself about being interested in CS.

I am going to break this rule.

Not due to how I have learned a great amount about the field. Or how I enjoy the process of programming and problem solving. I am breaking it because of my interest of the technology for my chosen senior capstone project. I feel that my curiosity as an engineer has taken it’s roots deep and any concern for my studies no longer exist.

The capstone project I am in is Augmented Reality(AR) for Realtime Strain Visualization mentored by Professor Mike Bailey at OSU. The moment I read it in the list of projects I had an immediate interest from the cross discipline nature of the project and the use of AR to solve a problem. I have also had a very good experience listening in on some of Professor Bailey’s lectures the previous year while waiting in-between classes.

So I am looking forward to this year. The expansion of my knowledge in CS from just AI and algorithms leave me excited to see what else I become interested in.

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