Research Projects and Internships
Ross Buffington, a senior Computer Science major, spent the summer of 2009 conducting research at the University of Houston, Texas. This was funded by the National Science Foundation and the specific program name is "REU" or "Research Experience for Undergraduates". Ross worked in the University of Houston's Computational Physiology Laboratory with a number of master's and post-doctorate students. Dr. Ioannis Pavlidis, Dr. Dvijesh Shastri, and master's student Yuichi Fujiki were the three primary mentors in his research. This experience allowed Ross to further his understanding and competence in developing applications for the iPhone. Prior to the REU, Ross had spent the entire school year independently learning how to write software for the device.
Through his research he created "The Sky is Falling" which is a computer based, 2-dimensional, game which overlays on top of the live video feed of a security camera. The purpose of the game is to increase the cognitive engagement of a security guard, when charged with the task of monitoring video feeds for hours on end. Note: in lab experiments, cognitive engagement is measured using Dr. Pavlidis's patented technology, the Stress Cam, a high sensitivity infrared camera (source to original paper listed below). A secondary purpose of the application was to promote physical activity of the security guard. This was accomplished by incorporating the iPhone as a game controller-device, allowing a user to wirelessly interact with their computer using the iPhone.
Sergei Temkin, a 2007 graduate, majored in computer science. As a semester project for a linear algebra course, Sergei created a graphics software package that used matrix manipulation to visualize linear transformations. Through discussions with faculty in biology and mathematics, it became evident that Sergei's interests, and the flexibility of his graphics project were a great match for a emerging research effort involving c. elegans, a roundworm that has become an important model organism for the study of genetics, cell biology and neuroscience. Sergei is presently working on a system that captures video of the c. elegans, saves the video as individual images and analyzes their motion using image detection algorithms. As his project develops, it will be used as a tool for gathering information for numerous projects conducted by students and faculty working with c. elegans.