This semester, the NEXIS (New Explorations in Information and Science) students worked on creating new and innovative ideas to present to the NEXIS lab. We asked them what inspired them to make their projects and what it took to get them there.
Here are just some of the amazing projects that were produced thanks to NEXIS:
Kyle Rand (NEXIS Director) and Mark Edmiston
Interactive Gesture Tracking for NEXIS
Mark: This project is primarily for others, specifically non NEXIS members. This will allow individuals outside of the NEXIS space to have a form of interaction with the technology. Hopefully this will peak their interest in other NEXIS projects.
Kyle: The problem with a research center full of students is that we have to go to class. This means occasionally there’s time where students aren’t in NEXIS. When tours or students interested in learning about NEXIS come to the space, I want there to be a resource waiting for them. We have a television screen with a powerpoint on it, but everyone should experience the essence of being part of NEXIS.
Mark: We wanted to do a project that allows non-members interaction with NEXIS technology and development. We hoped to develop a working program that allowed the Kinect to detect individuals through the glass outside NEXIS. We wanted the program to track hand movements and move the mouse of the outward facing screen in NEXIS. We wanted to develop a modern version of the NEXIS website that will allow for easy navigation through hand gestures.
Kyle: I want this to stay up in the NEXIS Space even after we’re gone. I think it’s a great resource for people to learn about NEXIS. However, I think it would be great for students to expand upon and increase its uses.
Tobin Fleming and Cameron Makowski
3-D Printed Racing Drone
Our love of drones was the inspiration behind this project. We have flown plenty of drones before, but we have never had the chance to build one ourselves. That’s when we decided we wanted to know more about drones and started building one from pieces. I came into NEXIS with very little knowledge about my project. I know how to fly them, some of the parts that were in a drone and that was about it. I wanted to join NEXIS because I wanted to be able to expand my knowledge on all the different technology NEXIS offers. With our project, we had to do a lot of research, a lot of watching youtube and googling. It was easier than we thought it was going to be. However, it still took a lot of time to build the drone and order the correct parts.
Over the semester, our project has changed slightly. From the beginning we were planning on 3-D printing the base of the drone and then build off of that. However, once we designed the base on the computer, we realized the base was slightly bigger than the 3-D printers plate so it wasn’t able to print it correctly. Due to this, we built the drone off of the main plate that came with the parts we ordered. This will be better for the drone because it will allow it to have a stronger structure. We hit a few bumps in the road while building the drone. There was missing parts or wrong parts, but we were still working diligently to overcome the bumps and finish the drone.
Once our project is complete, we want to be able to fly it around, race other drones, and be able to teach other people inside and outside of NEXIS how to fly a drone. Once we due more research into it, we want to be able to put our own modifications on it. As well as, allow other people to be able to use it or do what they want to it for a different project.
Raspberry Pi Networking
My inspiration to do this project came from the consistency of cyber security attacks coverage in the news. The internet of things and the growing security concerns fascinates me. More and more devices are becoming connected to the internet. I have been passionate about this for a while and heard of multiple attacks using hidden devices including raspberry pis. As a security concentration, I wanted a more hands-on experience directly with some of the “attacker” tools.
I would like to present the project to those who are interested in cyber security. Hopefully, it will encourage them to explore some of the same resources. I would be glad to share my findings, code, and information publicly. Coming into NEXIS I had a very base knowledge of the technologies I have been utilizing. The NEXIS tools, people, and resources gave me a much greater advantage. All while learning many of the tools essentially on the fly.
I had hoped to gain more familiarity with raspberry pis’. Along with networking encryption protocols, rogue access points, python, Kali Linux, and general penetration testing practices. My project’s purpose is to program a raspberry pi into a wireless access point, have myself or others connect, and intercept their traffic. I had hoped to use this as a demonstration to prove the ease that attacks can happen. I hope this use of ethical hacking can be a simple reminder for people to think twice when connecting a device to the internet. Overall, my project’s core principles haven’t really changed, I definitely have run into complications, and a steep learning curve. However, the majority of the project’s goals remain the same.
I am using an EEG to record peoples emotions, transcribe those emotions into code using python and print out those emotions into material. This will allow people to see how they are feeling and maybe understand what they are feeling. I really enjoy fashion, so I wanted my project to focus on fashion. There is a website where they record scenery and then print out the scenery using code onto scarfs that I came across.
I learned how to execute this project by doing research, learning about the EEG and playing around with python. I had to learn them from scratch, which is great, because I love learning new things. One thing I learned is when doing a project, it would be best to condense the project into smaller parts. It makes it easier to get things done. Hopefully next semester my project will be complete.
I would love for others to use it and myself as well. I want to learn more about my emotions and in a sense, how to control them. It would be cool to turn it into a business or help psychiatrist in a significant way.
V.R. Music Visualizer
Innovations and new technologies have always been an interest of mine. Virtual reality is an emerging technology that has a potential to affect and benefit our lives. But, not a lot has yet been developed in this area. I really wanted to learn more about what virtual reality is and how it works. Thus I decided to focus my project in this technology. I would love other people to check it out and explore what virtual reality is. Virtual reality will become more popular in a near future, so might as well try it out sooner than later.
My main goal for this project is to learn what the development for virtual reality consists of and create a VR program to get hands on experience. I want to learn how to use the software for VR development (e.g. Unity3d), become more familiar with scripting (mostly in c#), and how to transfer a program from the software into a virtual reality headset, in this case the Oculus.
I did not have any experience with virtual reality before joining NEXIS. In fact, I didn’t really have any technical background before joining the organization. I had to learn everything from scratch. It’s something that I’m really interested in, so it didn’t take much convincing to start learning what I needed to build something in virtual reality. This project hasn’t been as easy to accomplish since everything is relatively new to me. I’ve been learning a lot and building in VR is fun, plus it will probably come in handy in the future.