Post-Masters Work

Ok, I know it has been a while since a blog update.

Yes, I passed my Masters and graduated but that has not stopped me from working on SEAR-RL.

With UK’s E-Day, coming up this weekend, and Prof. Jaromczyk wanted me to demonstrate it for the event it gave me a deadline to improve it. As, my old teacher Jesse Schell once said, “Deadlines are magic.”

So, I did some major clean-up to the code base and UI. However, the most important change, is gone is my old system for locating closest objects in the user’s view. I replaced it with a particle filter system to do the same thing [because all the cool kids are using Machine Learning in their projects in one way or another]. What is nice is that the particle filter does work much better than my old system. Sure, it is a little wacky at moments [like all machine learning algorithms can be] but overall it seems to be a win.

The hardest part was just self-teaching myself everything I needed to implement one. This GitHub project and this YouTube video probably helped me understand how Particle Filters work the best. Which is good, because most of the literature is just a little math-y, and I am not great when it comes to learning from books. I am definitively, a show me once [maybe twice] type of learner.

Now just a couple of random thoughts.

I am constantly, surprised how bad a lot of scientific/math/engineering writing is. I honestly, think it is one of the things that turns people off from science. Just because one is writing about complex things does not mean one needs to write complicatedly.

The rule I was always taught, is write toward an audience at 5th grade level, and I think there is something to be said for that. If I had never found that video and project, I am not sure I would have ever figured out how to build a particle filter. I think the scientific communities really needs to take a look at what is considered good writing for the public at large.

At much as SEAR-RL is a passion project for me, I think one of the reason my previous few blog posts seem sort of light was that working on anything for a long time can wear someone down.

Seriously, I have been working on this project for at least a decade time, and even though I still have a lot of ideas for improvement, I am still not sure about my personal future nor what to do with the project. So much of that can begin to hang on oneself like an albatross.

I really did not have anything to follow up that notion, but I think it does provide insights on how people like George Lucas can give up Star Wars and the rest of the LucasFilm to Disney. Even the best of things can wear on a person creating it.

Still, thanks to Jamie Martini’s for the suggestion to use a particle filter.

Finally, I think I finally thought of the perfect way to describe my project to people: Augmented Reality for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I will try that for a while and see how it works.

About ForeverTangent

Currently a Masters of Computer Science Student at the University of Kentucky.
Previous Masters of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon.
Before that Graduated from Berklee College of Music.
I have worked for Public Radio and the Video Games industry.
Most of my interests now are UI and Accessibility Issues for Technology.

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