Friday, July 18, 2014

Fooling the Computer (Fri, 7/18)

Began working to make the program more user friendly by working with the instructions that Jimmy made. Spent the majority of the morning trying to figure out a way to have a button on the Wii remote bring up the guide which came up with a click. I finally accomplished this by having the program simulate a click on the button when the enter button is pressed. Once this was done, I was able to have it bring up the same pop-up on load of the page. After the picnic and volleyball game, I tried to help Jimmy fit the instructions guide onto the sun, so that it displays correctly on the sphere

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fixing the Egg (Thu, 7/17)

Biggest achievement today was getting the sun to fit correctly on the sphere while being projected from the Lenovo lap top. This was achieved by changing the dimensions of the picture in the source code. I originally did this with CSS, changing the dimensions in inches. However, I then tried to adjust the dimensions of only the green sun using JavaScript, and that required that the picture was set within the image tag, using pixels. Even though I made this change, the green sun was not very cooperative. The image itself is still 1024, but the sun itself is smaller. Thus, there is a larger border around the outside of the sun, and so when the sun is re-sized to fit the sphere, it is lower than all of the other images, and so it does not project onto the sphere.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Throughout recent years, many technological advancements have allowed for scientific topics which once seemed far too remote to become accessible to the average person. We are hoping to continue with this trend by creating the Science-Sphere suitcase, along with the software which goes with it. The Science-Sphere is an inflatable plastic sphere, which is used as a 3D projection surface for spherical objects. The Science-Sphere can make use of both the Digital Solar Explorer, or DSE, as well as the Sun Navigator, or SuN. The DSE makes use of the existing template of Google Earth in order to show a 3D model of the surface of the sun at different wavelengths of light, as well as provide several facts about the sun. We will expand the DSE in the future to include images of other cosmological objects, such as planets, as well as certain organs, such as the eyeball. The SuN, on the other hand, allows the user to navigate through images of the sun across time, as well as in different wavelengths of light. Both of these projects, in combination with the Science-Sphere, will make science more accessible and more interesting, and hopefully inspire a love of science in those who use and see them.

Our List of Problems (Wed, 7/16)

We have a prototype of the SuN up on Google Drive, ready to be edited, as well as a list of problems that we need to address. These include the problems we've been having getting the projection to work with the Lenovo laptop, perfecting the way in which the code recognizes image errors, so that we maintain 100 images for each wavelength, and having an instructions guide, both for setting up the sphere, and for the Wii buttons that need to be pressed to operate the SuN.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello, egg (Tue, 7/15)

Spent most of the day trying to fix the small, stupid errors that kept popping up. The projection system worked fine on the laptop we had it on, but when we tried to transfer it to the Lenovo which is supposed to go with the system, we ran into two problems. First, the license we had for Smoothboard, the software which interacts with the Wii remote, was limited to the first computer, and so the Lenovo was running an unlicensed version. Second, even though the Lenovo had the same screen size and settings as the HP we were using previously, the aspect ratio of the projection was messed up, either being too wide or too tall as we tried to adjust the settings. We grew pretty tired of seeing the sun pop up in the shape of an egg. Finally, I made a crude pulley out of a binder clip in the ceiling. Whether or not it was 100% necessary is debatable, but it sure does work.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We made Bucci proud (Mon, 7/14)

Today we made some real progress on the SuN. Before lunch, we made a few changes to the code, and then went to the other lab to begin setting up the Science-Sphere and connecting the Wii remote. Jimmy and I had to hunt through the whole building, with the help of Bob, to find 6 batteries for the Wii remote and the wireless sensor bar. Of course, we found them in the most obvious place, the main office. After lunch, I went to go visit a few other people's labs. I broke Adam's code again, allowing him to make more changes. Also, the DIY camera lab is far too comfortable, we may have to confiscate one of their chairs. After that, we were able to get the projector to project correctly onto the sphere, and configured the Wii remote to control the passage of time of the sun. Then we brought everyone down to view our progress, and Nick Bucci, the head undergrad in the lab, said he was proud of our progress. After that, the suitcase for the Science-Sphere finally arrived. Only then did we realize that it came in pink. We were able to fit everything in the suitcase, with room to spare for the few remaining parts that have to be purchased.