Paul Clay's Blog

July 25th, 2008

Hey! Its sort of works

Today marks the first time we were actually able to play Wap It!. It's pretty exciting to actually have something we can interact with. It's not yet in multiplayer mode, and pinch it is turned off due to some buggy behavior.... but it's definitely a start.

We were feverishly trying to get it to a demo-able level today, and we ended up missing the poster session, which I'm bummed about. But from what I hear, other people's posters were pretty difficult to understand.


SamanthaLevine - 30 Jul 2008 - 16:34

Dear Paul- you are awesome. Love Sam

ThomasNiedzielski - 29 Jul 2008 - 22:56

The microbiology posters were pretty tough to understand. If I weren't an incredible genius who was definitely not pretending to be smart while looking at a poster then trying to ask the least stupid question possible, it would have been much more awkward.

Anyway, I can't wait to play your games myself, even if they're not fully functional and may set me on fire.

BrianRussell - 25 Jul 2008 - 23:22

Wap It! was pretty cool to play even in its early demo stages.

July 24th, 2008

We have been eclipsed by the monolith named the Magic Table

Yes, it's shadow has darkened our work pod... our screens have automatically adjusted for the darker environment. The sun has become weaker, and soon we will wither away. Every day now the Gandolf team becomes stronger. Our only chance now is that we can deliver our app into the volcano, and destroy this dark force.

And by that I mean, our team is better than team Gandolf! and can your application fit in your pocket? I think not.

Anyways, our project continues, and we may have something working for tomorrow's PWISE poster session.


TravisChristian - 24 Jul 2008 - 21:13

That's why we have TV-in-the-face. It's the best of both worlds!

NizarKhalife - 24 Jul 2008 - 19:06

Huzzah! Team Waldorf shall prevail with the convenience of mobility. Plus, everybody knows that head mounted displays are the real future of augmented reality.

TravisChristian - 24 Jul 2008 - 16:59

The Shadow will spread over the face of VRAC, until all teams submit to our rule. iPod cannot defeat us by strength of code.

SamanthaLevine - 24 Jul 2008 - 16:59

Interesting approach. Watch yourself...that pod station is next on the list of things to annex to better the team. We shall live in non-infamy!!! Bwahahahahaha!

DavidOluwatimi - 24 Jul 2008 - 16:02

i like your opening to this blog.

July 23rd, 2008

Research paper extravaganza

So our research paper is coming along... and considering our draft is due by 5 PM, this a good thing. 4200 words and counting!

Last night, we saw the STYX concert that was here for ragbrai. It was pretty fantastic, maybe a little too formulaic, but you can't blame them too much, considering they've been playing together for over 30 years. Their voices still sound great, which is better than Christina Aguilera, or many other younger singers, can say.


JennaLanger - 23 Jul 2008 - 17:00

STYX was amazing! I didn't know they sang some of those songs! but poor mr. roboto, he was missed.

July 22st, 2008

More grad school (!?) and more tornados

Today, Jim Oliver gave us a interesting "insider" talk about the reality of grad school, grad admissions, and academia. It was pretty interesting. I though his point about Football teams determining the reputation, or at least recognisability, of a university was silly, but probably true. It's sad that something like football could matter so much, but that is my opinion (sorry, football fans).

Oh, and today we got to take a little tour of both the tornado simulators and also the wind tunnels. It was pretty cool. The tornado simulators were pretty inspiring.


July 21st, 2008

Grad School

Today made me get nervous and excited about grad school. What I thought was so crazy, was that it is actually possible to get a Doctorate, and I have people encouraging me to get one. In the past it has always seemed so far away and now it feels shockingly close. This program has definitely made the idea of being a professor a lot more appealing to me than it has been in the past. I just realize that what I want to do in life is pretty much discovering and thinking about new things and concepts, making interesting and weird things, making art, making music, tinkering with cool technology, and meeting interesting people. There are very few jobs that could incorporate all of that, except maybe professorship in some kind of multidisciplinary field (hci?) or being a full time artist, which also appeals to me (though that path is much less clear). I just feel like I have been introduced to a lot of new concepts this summer, and maybe life-long learning is what I really want.



EvaTao - 22 Jul 2008 - 00:00

Don't know what this is but...nice!!

JasmineJones - 21 Jul 2008 - 13:40

AWESOMMMMEEEEE!!!!! the ball is so cool. It's great that you're thinking about being a professor. You would definitely be the cool professor even when you're old and wrinkly and tear up student's "hippety hippety" portfolios when they utterly fail to incorporate any imagination into their pieces ;P

July 18th, 2008

le Game engine!

Last night we had a very productive white board session where we mapped out all of the nessisary parts of our Wap it! program. We literally covered about 120 sq feet of white board space - quite an achievement in my book. WE are essentially making the all powerful game engine that will be able to piece all of the technologies we've been working on into an actual game. I'm currently working on making the beat that maintains the rhythm of the game, it shall be very snazzy and fun sounding.


BrianRussell - 18 Jul 2008 - 22:46

The beat sounded pretty good when I heard it today.

July 17th, 2008

Chuga chuga!

The pressure is on the get our program working. Fortunately, today I got the sound to work on the actual iphone device, and not just on the simulator. Now I'm onto making the main tempo stuff and sounds that are fundamental to Bop it. Oh, and we finally renamed our game to "Wap it!" after Stephen informed us that "Wop it" was a Italian racial slur (I knew this... sort of, accept I thought it was fop).


July 14th, 2008

Putting it Together

This weekend I probably should have done more work.... but I was thouroughly exshausted by the Mall of America and a general lack of sleep. Nevertheless, I slept well last night, and now we're getting closer to putting together our Wop it (fka Glop it). I've been obsessing over the poster and now it's done (see below). Now we really just need to focus if we want to get everything done for the end of the summer.


EvaTao - 17 Jul 2008 - 14:07

Don't forget to blog!!

SamanthaLevine - 15 Jul 2008 - 13:28

I'm stoked that Eliot liked your poster. And it looks like Wop/Glop It is coming along nicely. I'm excited for Jasmine's audio with the program. Need any testers???

DesireeVelazquez - 14 Jul 2008 - 15:49

I'm directionally challenged. Where exactly below again?

JennaLanger - 14 Jul 2008 - 15:14

nice illustration!

ThomasNiedzielski - 14 Jul 2008 - 14:16

What other mini-games were you guys making, again?

July 11th, 2008

Usability Tour

Today, we took a tour of the usability labs at Principal Financial, which was pretty interesting. I like the structure of having the testers in one room, while in another room, there are bunch of people watching their screen and seeing what they do well and what they screw up. It was pretty funny watching david take the usability test. For no good reason, I was really stressed out by it, and I wanted him to do well, even though it doesn't really matter.

I was pretty surprised by the "Red Room" installation art piece that was tucked away in the building. I was not expecting anything like it. At first, I thought it was just a dark room with a red screen, but once I discovered that it was actually a separate red room that was completely monochrome, I thought it was pretty cool. It seems like an response to the overstimulation associated with such a high stress work environment. Maybe it's a joke about the desire to check out - like "you want to clear your mind? Well, how about I build a near pitch dark room with a silent, floating, red, mind-trick-playing obelisk?" Though, maybe the creator had no humor at all, and I should take it really seriously....


July 10th, 2008

Posters, ye-iikes!

We just finished our rough draft of our poster. It still needs some content editing and some design edits as well. But overall, it looks pretty good. It at least has distracted me from coding, which was stressing me out a little bit.

You should have seen me and Nizar last night, wildly wielding my laptop around in the air, struggling to get the perfect angle of my hands "pinching" a iPod. We eventually decided, after many failed photoshoots, to separate the hands into two photos.



and this:



NizarKhalife - 10 Jul 2008 - 20:19

Ironically that looks more natural than any of the other pictures we took of us actually doing the pinching gesture.

ThomasNiedzielski - 10 Jul 2008 - 16:04

That poster art is very classy. It's amazing what can be done with photographs and computers. We'll be doing something similar for our gestures, so your results are encouraging.

CatherinePeloquin - 10 Jul 2008 - 15:59

The final product looks very professional. I am looking forward to seeing your folks' poster.

SamanthaLevine - 10 Jul 2008 - 15:56

Ohhh- I thought that the hand was real. Your poster looked really classy. All it needs now is More Magic.

July 8th, 2008

Object Oriented Fun!

I feel like today and yesterday I have gotten over a major hump in my understanding of object oriented programing. All of the troubleshooting that I have been doing for our bop it program is paying off in my understanding of software architecture and how to use and organize classes in a way they were meant to be used. I'm excited about this, because only having a flimsy comfort level with programing before this summer was really a hindrance when I wanted to work on various technically challenging art, school, and work projects. So I guess you could say I feel empowered. Ha!


DavidOluwatimi - 10 Jul 2008 - 08:51

Matt....thats wat she said. lol. Yeah, um I love programming, and I guess you see why now.

BrianRussell - 08 Jul 2008 - 20:46

Object Oriented programming can be a difficult concept to grasp. However once you understand there's no going back.

MatthewScheinerman - 08 Jul 2008 - 15:45

I call being first to play BopIt !

July 7th, 2008


This pretty much sums up what I thought about the tour of John Deer today.







ThomasNiedzielski - 07 Jul 2008 - 14:37

Dude! That's the first thing I thought when we went into building 2. "This reminds me of lesbian androids!"

July 3rd, 2008

Yay! The fourth!

I'm so excited for the holiday tomorrow. It should be fun to see how the midwest does the independence.

Still working on gestures. If I can't get the wrist twist motion to work, I'm going to simplify it down to shake. hmph.


July 2nd, 2008

Women, work, and wobbly window washers

Same stuff today... more bop it for the iphone. The panel today about balancing family and work life was pretty interesting. Though, one qualm I had was that the general tone taken was that all the young women will get married and will have a husband. I know the forum was about family, so it wouldn't make sense to talk about, say, single life, but the fact that it sounded like there was really only one option for the women in the room sort of bothered me. But since I know that this was unintentional, I can't fuss too much.

Jenna informed me of this really cool tower to be built in Dubai. Supposedly it can power itself by wind power. We'll see if it actually gets built.


JohnMorales - 03 Jul 2008 - 17:52

I think that a bunch of lady's in that room should get married, they're smart, pretty and I'm single (crying, sob,sob), lol I'm kidding and about the towers, they look like fingers coming out of the water (there must be a giant hand underwater in that picture).

NizarKhalife - 03 Jul 2008 - 09:17

What would Captain Planet say about this?

JasmineJones - 02 Jul 2008 - 18:49

yay iPhone team! I saw an article about that building. apparently the architect has never built a skyscraper before, but he says that his lack of experience will not be an obstacle. I say, innovation comes from those who do not know their limits. smile

July 1st, 2008

Ethics and Robot Learning

Wow, this morning was a really fantastic learning experience. Because of both the Ethics course and the Luncheon Lecture with Alex Stoytchev, I really feel mentally stimulated. There was sooo much to talk about this morning, and I think we did a good job of going over it and covering the most important topics in the Ethics course.

One of the most interesting facts that we learned was that engineers are the most conservative of all college graduates. This might be due to a variety of reasons, including the fact that many engineering jobs are in part or directly funded by the military and by large corporations. It also might have to do with the way the engineering is taught, in that the education structure encourages obedience and acceptance of authority more strictly than other disciplines. The material about globalism and colonialism was also very interesting. It mainly confirmed something I already knew about many mega-corporations. They go into other countries and declaring moral, intellectual, and cultural high ground and then try to force a way of thinking onto foreign peoples. Lame.

The morning inspired me to definitely think more about how I can use my technical skills to further good in the world. I'm now curious as to what options exist out there for graduate school for working on more humanitarian engineering problems, or at least less military focused projects. Since I'm interested in art, I feel like art could play a bigger part in projects like these than something meant for military use. But who knows what I'll do after undergraduate. Graduate school? Art in Mexico? Become a mountain hermit?

On the topic of robotics, I really like the idea of writing code that allows for learning. I want to know more about modeling the brain and neural networks through code. There are lots of gaps in my understanding of how one would program something like that. I think it would be REALLY cool to apply some of these artificial intelligence and Learning concepts to an interactive art piece.


EvaTao - 06 Jul 2008 - 21:15

You can be a mountain hermit in Mexico and working on art, also taking distance online graduate school at the same time smile

BrianRussell - 01 Jul 2008 - 23:19

I agree, today gave me a lot to think about.

ThomasNiedzielski - 01 Jul 2008 - 16:25

I advise against the mountain hermit idea. It's a long trip back below the tree line for deciduous leaves. Anyway, I do think that engineering itself can be used for good. Personally, I plan to work on designing and programming computerized prosthetics.

June 30th, 2008

More gestures

So the problem continues. I have to make something that will detect this motion and only this motion. It's kind of a fun problem, but it's proving itself to be somewhat difficult. Does this look like a twist of the wrist to you? Does to me, but I've only stared at pics like these for the past 3 days straight. Though, we've decided that if I have no luck with getting wrist twisting detection, then we'll simplify it to shake detection.... we'll see.



NizarKhalife - 01 Jul 2008 - 00:27

We can do it!

TravisChristian - 30 Jun 2008 - 21:43

hmm... looks like a heart patient

SamanthaLevine - 30 Jun 2008 - 14:27

I hope the wrist twist works out. I hope that you are displaying my data as it was the most accurate smile

June 27th, 2008

Time to pick it up!

I just realized how little time we have left. Our group sure does have a lot of work ahead of us. We've divided up the first project, so I think we'll be able to get a working version next week. I'm doing gesture detection and accelerometer event detection. Nizar is going to work on the networking, so we can have multiplayer bop it between different iphones. Jasmin is going to work on getting views to change.

Last night we went over to Ken's house and met his ferrets. They kind of smell, but I have to say they are very cute and rambunctious critters. I wouldn't mind having a friendly one of my own. The only problem is that not all of them are friendly. Zoe, one of his ferrets, likes to find human flesh and nip at it, and since it's a very curious animal, it is good at finding human flesh. The others ones definetly won me over, though.


KenKopecky - 30 Jun 2008 - 17:18

Zoe's not mean...she just plays rough. It's all out of love though.

ColeAnagnost - 27 Jun 2008 - 15:11

Yeah... I've always liked ferrets but I have also always heard they can be a bit mean sometimes...

June 26th, 2008

Swipe it!

I'm having lots of fun getting an iPhone program to detect different gestures. I already have it detecting swipes vs taps and drags. It's pretty cool. We'll be able to use the code for our upcoming Bop It game. The next step is to get it to detect circular gestures, which is taking some thought, but I think I have a good idea for how to implement it.

And I thought this was pretty cool. Apparently you can track multiple pooches at once with these devices.


EvaTao - 27 Jun 2008 - 15:15

Actually, some experiments have been done with implant technology using RFID but not yet combine with GPS. My team was working on this earlier. You can find the poster on the Hall way. Idealy, We can implant RFID chip with GPS function under children or dog's skin so we do not worry about missing children or dogs. However, some ethic issues still going on. See movie The Final Cut.

SamanthaLevine - 26 Jun 2008 - 16:58

Poor dog in a harness/antenna. I'm waiting for the dog to roll over!!!

JennaLanger - 26 Jun 2008 - 15:53

Sound's like you're well on your way! I can't wait to BOP it! oh, and i can see little kids having bracelets like that pooch pretty out!

BrianRussell - 26 Jun 2008 - 13:35

Bop It is a great game, I hope to test out your iPhone version.

June 25th, 2008

Games ideas: Version 2

Ken, Brandon and the team had a little meeting yesterday at Stomping Grounds, a cool local cafe on Welch st. We we decided upon focusing first on making two mini games. One will be "Dome Wars" and the other will be "Bop It" for on the iphone. I'm especially excited for Bop It, since it will use pretty much all of the possible touch screen and accelerometer features. Hopefully we won't have too many people breaking their iphones.

It should be fun making the graphics for dome wars. I can't wait to design the missiles and the particle effects, which, regardless of how pertinent they are, must be used.

On another topic, that Stomping Grounds seemed really cool. I'll have to return to try out some of their reputably terrific comestibles, cuz I know that their fruit smoothies are pretty good.


NizarKhalife - 26 Jun 2008 - 01:07

It's sort of a shame because we won't be able to use the iPhone's wedgie gesture.

ColeAnagnost - 25 Jun 2008 - 16:55

Dome Wars looks fun. Seems like tanks without the moving around which would simplify it a bit while making it a bit annoying at times (That's cheap, you spawned in a good spot and my spot sucks). Still, should be a really good project.

DavidOluwatimi - 25 Jun 2008 - 16:46

what is dome wars? Congrats, though. At least you are excited about your project because a week from now you would have been bored out of your mind.

ThomasNiedzielski - 25 Jun 2008 - 15:01

I think I prefer a more fun-oriented set of mini-games as well. That way you experiment with more cool iPhone tricks.

June 24th, 2008

Effect of video games on the MIND!

The presentation today by Robert West was very interesting. I did not necessarily learn anything mind blowing, but it definitely confirmed some of my beliefs about how video games affect people's brains. It makes sense that videos games enhance some of your visioaudio reception, and it also makes sense that it would desensitize you to images of violence. It seems that if you do anything over and over, you would become less stimulated by it. In this way, all the concerned parents out there definitely have the right intuition about video games' effect on the minds of their children. It is a stretch to say that video games will make youth act out violently, but it's not a positive influence on the brain.

The findings on executive control were rather concerning. Heavy video game players respond slower to tasks indicating executive control. Essentially, video game players are worse at tasks that involve people to block out one source of information while focusing on others (among other things, as Allison informed me). Maybe this is due to the fact that while playing video games the users never have to initiate a task, almost always the task is given to you and you usually have to pay attention to as many things as possible. For the same reason, it seams to me, video games would decrease creativity and critical thought (a similar effect to TV).


NizarKhalife - 25 Jun 2008 - 09:38

There is plenty of creativity in video games! You get to choose if you want to kill the enemy by shooting him in the face, stabbing him, blowing him to pieces, running him over, and sometimes even punch him to death. Honestly, if you don't love first person shooters than you don't love America! Commies!

JasmineJones - 25 Jun 2008 - 09:27

i agree with matthew. what if someone designed a game that required the user to create tasks of appropriate skill and difficulty in order to win the game? what if games like "call of duty" or "halo" gave you the storyline, and then gave you the option engaging the enemy, running away and then of assembling the right team with the right weapons? There's still the violence issue, but thats something else to consider.

SamanthaLevine - 25 Jun 2008 - 00:20

I concur with your feelings. I think that kids should go outside and play soccer instead of being corrupted by "blow up the terrorists" games.

MatthewScheinerman - 24 Jun 2008 - 14:48

What about video games that want you to be creative? Like Roller Coaster Tycoon! I love that game.

AllisonWhite - 24 Jun 2008 - 13:50

maybe labyrinth?

June 23rd, 2008

Change of direction for iphone project

The iphone team decided today to drop the theme of teaching Spanish, and instead, we are going to focus on making fun, well designed and innovative multiplayer minigames. Considering that no one here is an expert in language education, it didn't make that much sense to teach spanish. We'll be able to better tap the resources available to us at vrac, and our grad students will be able to have more input. This will really allow us to focus on gameplay and give us freer reign on game ideas. Some ideas that we have are:

  • Sledding
  • Tennis
  • Dodge Ball
  • Tanks
Another idea we had was to have each player have a "home base," where you would start out. You could then go visit other people's bases and hopefully be able to tamper with them. Maybe you could win paint balloons in the mini games and then you could use the balloons when you were in the greater world.


DesireeVelazquez - 24 Jun 2008 - 13:40

ah, paintballing

NizarKhalife - 23 Jun 2008 - 23:44

We figure that kids can just let the government educate them. They are doing a great job as it is. \*cough\*

MatthewScheinerman - 23 Jun 2008 - 14:50

How about paintball? Or racing? That would be fun.

TravisChristian - 23 Jun 2008 - 13:32

QUE??? I thought the language games were a great idea. So much for education.

June 20th, 2008

Success with the Program, on to our presentation

Here's a pic of our app, which is of a tornado that traveles around blowing things away. The pic is from the version that doesn't have the blowing away objects, since that is currently living on Nizars computer.


EvaTao - 23 Jun 2008 - 14:48

Nice. would really love to see the moving one.

NizarKhalife - 22 Jun 2008 - 23:36

I'm pretty sure Ken knew. Haha

BrianRussell - 20 Jun 2008 - 16:53

Who knew staying up all night could produce such good work?

JennaLanger - 20 Jun 2008 - 16:50

You can really see the rain in that picture! nice work!

June 18th, 2008

Soo much to do!

Eeek! Our group is feverishly working on getting our openGl project done for tomorrow. We've had a rough time getting textures to load with the corona framework, but we just got it working through some tedious trial and error. It turns out the our macs like to have lots of different folders for containing the developer frameworks. You pc people have it sooo easy. But at least were getting better at being IT superbeings!

If everything goes as planned, I think our tornado should be pretty sweet.

We had a meeting today with Dr. Elliot Winer, and it went pretty well. We have a lot to do before Friday, but i think we'll manage to present a decent presentation.


NizarKhalife - 21 Jun 2008 - 11:40

Setting up libraries in Xcode can be a such a pain!

JohnMorales - 20 Jun 2008 - 00:13

you put a nice scene in the program, nice work.

CatherinePeloquin - 19 Jun 2008 - 10:15

Great work on the project, folks. Make sure you start your projects earlier next time, though. All-nighters make for a pretty unproductive day after.

TravisChristian - 19 Jun 2008 - 09:17

I salute your all-night feverish work.

JennaLanger - 18 Jun 2008 - 16:50

I can't wait for you guys to teach me how to be an IT superbeing!!! Leopard and XCode here I come!

June 17th, 2008


I finally finished my fish.... I will call it "MatroFish," named after the Russian Matroyshka dolls that influenced the design. I used Maya, zbrush, and photoshop to do everything. My next step is to get everything into Maya, add some background stuff, and then hopefully animate it.

The original picture:

The 3D model:


EvaTao - 23 Jun 2008 - 14:52

They are awesome!! The original fish is like female and the 3D is very male like smile

NizarKhalife - 18 Jun 2008 - 13:43

I'll have the breaded MatroFish with a twist of lemon and a side of biscuits.

SamanthaLevine - 18 Jun 2008 - 08:05

That is by far the most amazing thing I have ever seen!!

DavidOluwatimi - 17 Jun 2008 - 15:17

nice. I really enjoy your artistic view of things

CatherinePeloquin - 17 Jun 2008 - 13:10

Paul, that is really amazing. Well done.

June 16th, 2008

iphone and the military

I found a interesting blog post about iphones, the military, and iphone dev terms. The iphone agreement terms discourage certain military applications (read below). I read once that Mathematica has some plugins under an opensource licence, which is available to all, accept military applications. I guess vrac couldn't use the iphone for some of the projects.

That's pretty amazing, thought, that they can make a usable user interface on a 320x480 screen that controls big expensive robot planes.

Since 2004, a team of professors and students from the University of California, Berkeley has searched for ways to let a single human supervise a team of robot planes. Now, this Center for Collaborative Control of Unmanned Vehicles has a new device for ordering around its drones: an iPhone.

In a video taken from this month's Teaching & Technology conference, the Berkeley crew uses an iPhone to pick tasks for its drone squadron, input a set of coordinates for a local reconnaissance mission, and send the planes new orders while the aircraft are in the sky.

But don't tell Steve Jobs how the Berkeley folks are using his gadget. According to the terms of the Apple Software Developer Kit agreement, "applications may not be designed or marketed for real-time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes."



EvaTao - 17 Jun 2008 - 05:32

Yeah, that is amazing! How come I never see your modeling photo posted?

ColeAnagnost - 16 Jun 2008 - 22:42

"or emergency or life-saving purposes" Well nuts. I guess they just don't want the liability that would come with that kinda stuff.

BrianRussell - 16 Jun 2008 - 17:21

Interesting video and excerpts that it show this is a violation of Apple's license agreement.

DavidOluwatimi - 16 Jun 2008 - 16:49

I love your blog ....."sounds like that bod commercial" lol

June 13-15th, 2008

Tornados and Fish

The iphone group decided to work on a openGl program that involves moving around a tornado. We have yet to work out many of the finer details, but that I think we will start on Monday.

On another front, my model fish is stuck in a program called zbrush. I can't figure out how to export my texture, which is crucial maybe not for the c4, but at least for the maximum 3d enjoyment.


June 12th, 2008


-Last nights thunderstorm's were pretty impressive. It's too bad that there is so much flooding around the state of Iowa.

-On another note, this openGL class is pretty fast paced. I think it is kind of flying by me. Though, I'm sure once I do today's assignment, some of the concepts from today's lecture will become clearer. It will be cool to get a better grip on it on, up to the point where we feel like we have some creative powers with it. I still think Ken's starpaint thing was super sweet and I'd love to make something so beautiful and creative.

-My fish continues to develop in 3D land, but it's probably not going to be ready for Vijay by tomorrow.


KenKopecky - 13 Jun 2008 - 21:03

Any GL questions you have, bring em by me. I'm pretty good at explaining it said ken

CatherinePeloquin - 13 Jun 2008 - 09:02

Let's see the progress on the fish! I am curious.

SamanthaLevine - 12 Jun 2008 - 23:20

I love that fish!!! Probably the most awesome thing EVER!!!

NizarKhalife - 12 Jun 2008 - 21:04

The fish really is awesome. Is Zbrush making it easier?

AllisonWhite - 12 Jun 2008 - 14:02

Thanks for the compliment to my lamp, but your fish is more awesome by several degrees of magnitude.

June 11th, 2008

Project Ideas and Zbrush

The iphone team has been getting a more solid idea of what we are going to do for our main project. We're thinking of doing a mario-party like kind of game that muliple users could play on their iphones. Hopefully it would have some kind of educational purpose, possibly to teach Spanish.

On another front, today I got an introduction to Zbrush, with an organic 3d modeling program that specializes in making realistic textures and organic shapes. It's quite cool. I'm going to use it to make the finer details of my model fish-bird, which I'll post a pic of once I'm done with it.


June 10th, 2008

Artificial Evolution!

Today's lecture by Tylor Streeter was one of the most blowing things I've seen this summer (and that's saying a lot). I had always heard about genetic algorithms, but I had never seen the idea extended to taylor digital "creatures" to do certain behaviors. I searched "genetic algorithm creature" on youtube, and I found a lot of cool stuff (I posted below). There were a lot of different evolved creatures that were fitted to do certain motions. Many of the creatures were very odd looking, and not necessarily similar to anything in nature. I was thinking that if you added the contrants of 1) natural limb connections/range of motion, and 2) minimal shock to surface (cuz no one likes a bruise), you could probably get more natural looking results.

This is what I feel like sometimes:


EvaTao - 12 Jun 2008 - 02:24

Blog today? Why don't you post what you have done on Maya?

DavidOluwatimi - 11 Jun 2008 - 23:18

Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool too. Can you imagine the possibilities with that. People could probably find cures using that same parent child generations.

TravisChristian - 11 Jun 2008 - 14:18

It's like Spore.... but uglier.

JohnMorales - 11 Jun 2008 - 01:28

yeah, today lecture was awesome, I was talking to him at lunch and he told me that he used some libraries and OpenGL for the making of the dolls (the guys that were jumping with epilepsy) and for the DNA part he just used strings.

MatthewScheinerman - 10 Jun 2008 - 22:42

You remind me of that creature, too. Not sure why.

June 9th, 2008


With glorious triumph, the iphone team, presents "Mouth It," our new, extremely inovative.... spelling program. I'm glad our presentation went relatively well today, though it's too bad we didn't quite have time to finish the last little kinks in the program. I thought all of the programs were pretty cool. I especially liked seeing all of the slides up and running at the same time. It made me aware that we, indeed, are all pretty good at computer stuff. I though: "Hey, most groups of 15 would not be able to pull this off in a week." Well, congrats everyone!


ColeAnagnost -09 Jun 2008 - 23:24

Heh, hopefully you guys can get the hang of the objective C soon, because hopefully I will be using it for the iPod Touch for our project. If you guys are all having trouble then that doesn't bode well for the future.

June 6th, 2008

Getting Closer

We're getting closer to having a working application for monday. I have been struggling to get a picture to dynmaically change to another picture, while Nizar have been working on getting a timer running. Nizar combined what he figured out with some of what I figured out, and vua la! We has a very basic structure to get our program running. Now we just have to set up sound, and get some array functionallity so that we display the correct images depending on what the user inputs as a string. Once we get all this running, maybe then we'll try to get the video running, if we have time.

Oh, and this is a pic of my dad with my new car:



EvaTao - 07 Jun 2008 - 00:40

Oh yeah...right... Could you post your HCI video on the team blog?

June 5th, 2008


Today was spent mostly working on our programming group project. I have to say that objective c is not as easy as other languages, such as Java, or even c++. It's very verbose, and thus its syntax can get pretty grating. However, today I feel happy because, with the help of Ken, I got the iphone to dynamically load an image. You think it would be simple, but to get it just right, was not. The overhead for learning how to program on the iphone is pretty high. It's not as straight forward as doing something text based, since we have to work with the extra construct of a visual/user interface. It's also kind of fun learning two languages at once, objective-c and c++. Fortunately they are different enough that I don't get too confused between the two.


CodyGlover - 06 Jun 2008 - 13:28

Learning or having learned C++ and Jave before a language like C is always tricky since you are moving from an object oriented line of though to a more procedural language.

MatthewScheinerman - 05 Jun 2008 - 21:23

Wow. I'm impressed with your Iphone skillz.

NizarKhalife - 05 Jun 2008 - 20:54

We shall overcome.

JasmineJones - 05 Jun 2008 - 20:07

amen bro. good job with the images ^_^

June 4th, 2008


The personality quiz for the HCI class pinned me as a "change-agent," which I suppose is flattering. Though, it's always stressful when people or, in this case, standardized tests tell you that you will change the world. It's kind of a heavy burden. How will I change things? Will it be for better or worse? Maybe I will revolutionize the world with this very blog.... he he he.

I thought the material on team building, group dynamics, and conflict organization was pretty interesting. The fact that NASA is trying to develop a psychiatrist computer is impressive. I'm somewhat skeptical that they will be entirely successful. Part of the mental treatment process is interpersonal communication. Even if a computer is able to say all the right things, it's still a computer, and will they be able to create a machine that can emulate human presence?


CodyGlover - 05 Jun 2008 - 13:55

You would be surprised on what they can make for interpersonal communication. At Northwestern they were working with an AI program that interacted with kids. They showed some interesting results.

ColeAnagnost - 05 Jun 2008 - 01:05

Heh I think I was a World Caregiver or something like that. Not quite as cool as the rebel stuff that you guys were. I'm just confused that they are making a computer to monitor all the psychological stuff but they are basing it off facial gestures... wouldn't you want to take into account the person's natural bodily reactions? That would probably be a lot more telling. They are going to have to be wearing certain clothes anyway on the space shuttle so you can have sensors in there to keep track of changes and stuff. Some people are good at keeping their emotions off their face, and those people are probably the ones you need to watch out for on an extended trip like that...

June 3rd, 2008

Betas, SL, and 3D web

  • Today I realized why working in a development environment still in its beta stages can have its downsides. When I was following a tutorial on how to do the basics in objective-c in xcode, tutorial was probably made just before the new beta version was released, and thus ommited a nessesary line of code in their instructions. It wasn't a big deal, but it just made me aware that we'll have have to be pretty self sufficient this summer if we actually want to do some complicated stuff on the iphone.
  • On the topic of second life, I had a lot of thoughts that arrised during today's presentation by Brian Mannecke. It seems to me that 2nd life is already dead, and that right now, we might be in an inbetween time. We have already moved away from 2nd life, but no alternative offering a similar set up has arrived yet. 2nd life does not appeal to a wide audience, which seems like a major problem for such an environment.
  • Something that I disagree with him on is that all the net will be in a some sort of 3D platform in the nea future. However, as long as the general public is interacting with computers via a 2D interface, something as well used as the internet will stay predominantly 2D. There will be exceptions, sure, but the basic fact is is that interacting with 3D in 2D is not entirely intuitive.... and I suppose this is one thing that HCI people are working on.


EvaTao - 04 Jun 2008 - 03:02

Good point! Think about what is the reason 2nd life is not that appealing to the beginner like most people think about C++. It will be a very good start for your research. BTW, could you vote the activities you will attend when you get a chance?

JasmineJones - 04 Jun 2008 - 00:11

i think once we get the hang of this Obj-C language it will be fun to see what we can push the iPhone to do. But learning that language is hard!

ColeAnagnost - 03 Jun 2008 - 22:12

I think that when augmented reality gets easy to use, we will all be wearing glasses or contacts or something that display the 3D models of things on our desk. Totally redefine the desktop. At that point maybe things will move to 3D but until we move past the flat screen as our medium of display for computers 2D will most likely remain the most common.

JennaLanger - 03 Jun 2008 - 15:42

That's true that working with 3D in 2D is not intuitive - unless you play a lot of video games. Do you think an open source program like second life will take over sometime soon?

June 2nd, 2008

And the Techyness Begins!

Today's intro to Xcode with Brandon was pretty cool. It definitely cleared up some fundamental questions I had about the various tools and project organization. It's also fun working within a technology that isn't out of beta, and thus I feel like we'll be learning really cutting edge stuff.

Our team thinking up what we should do, not only for the week long programming project but also for the big project. I don't really want to do a educational project, so I'm hoping the the magic table team will, since our professor wants at least one of the groups to do an educationally focused project. We'll talk more about it, but the last place we left off, we're thinking of making some sort of tank game.

It would be cool to make some sort of visualizer that takes input from users searching the internet on an iphone and then displaying it in some sort of fashion like so:


EvaTao - 03 Jun 2008 - 00:48

Hey Paul, could you vote the activities you will attend when you get a chance?

DesireeVelazquez - 02 Jun 2008 - 14:25

Wow, this is different.

SamanthaLevine - 02 Jun 2008 - 14:13

Hey My Space--I love your layout! But on a serious note, xCode sounds pretty cool, and it is quite awesome that you can do all your iPhone programming on Macs.

TravisChristian - 02 Jun 2008 - 14:01

actually it's fairly simple to generate a maze, and that was our original idea, but Eric thought it would be better to focus on the functionality first. We might add random mazes if we have time.

BrianRussell - 02 Jun 2008 - 13:45

I've never used Xcode but I've heard that it's pretty good. I'll have to ask your group how it is.

May 30th, 2008

What to do....

After yesterday's research project "Parade," I think we all got pretty excited about these upcoming two months. It seemed like every project was really cool and would definitely be challenging. I'm now excited to figure out our iphone/ipod touch project idea. There is so much that we could potentially do. After seeing what Ken and Brandon have been working on, it's obvious that our options are vast.


EvaTao - 02 Jun 2008 - 01:07

WOW WOW...What is this~~I have to admit that you did a good job on experimental. Could you direct your blog and comments from May 29th as well?

ThomasNiedzielski - 01 Jun 2008 - 15:46

I wonder, would it be possible to use the 9 squares program that the grad students already developed to make an ad-hoc wireless Simon Says competition? (You know, each person adds one more step to the sequence.)

ColeAnagnost - 30 May 2008 - 22:52

I was just going to ask you where the flashing text and everything was, but it looks like you got there first. So you haven't narrowed down your project yet?

DavidOluwatimi - 30 May 2008 - 13:28

I am so jealous, but I love mine project so I am satisfied

May 29th, 2008

Emotions and the ipod

I thought the discussion on the feasibility, application and ethics affective computing was interesting. Though, I think that it's a field shrouded by a lack of actually knowledge on the subject. If I learned anything about the field from the article, it was that we actually don't know a lot, and we're just beginning to figure out... what we need to figure out.

One issue we didn't really flesh out in class was to what extent people involved with affective computing actually want to apply it. The author makes the point that effective emotionally sensitive interaction with a user does not necessarily require that the computer experience emotions.

On another note, here's a cool project description from the MIT Media Lab:

iCalm (TM): Wireless Bio-Sensing for iPod and Cell Phone We are developing a wireless sensor platform that allows easy integration of wearable biosensors with various consumer products, such as an iPod or cell phone. This platform has many applications, including health monitoring for outpatients or eldercare, fitness products, and various types of interactive content (e.g., MP3 music, video) that respond to the wearer's health or mood. Initial applications include: (1) personalized relapse-prevention messages for abstinent drug addicts, triggered by physiological craving signals; (2) mood-triggered music selections; and (3) a personal monitor for understanding the influence of autonomic arousal in autism.

Oh, and my computer has bipolar disorder.


Topic revision: r158 - 2008-07-30 - 21:34:14 - SamanthaLevine
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