VisU, a yearly undergraduate research program developed by the Center for Visual and Virtual Environments, capped off its summer of research projects with a series of student presentations in the James F. Hardymon Theatre of the Davis Marksbury Building on Thursday, August 2. As in summers past, participants were a mixture of engineering and computer science majors from the University of Puerto Rico as well as local students.
Of the seven students who took part in VisU, five worked on an ambitious project called “InfoForest.” The goal of InfoForest is to give ancient manuscripts new life by allowing anyone to analyze digitally replicated versions. At the forefront of InfoForest is the “Chad Gospels,” a volume of ancient biblical texts copied from the Latin Vulgate and dating to the eighth century. The lone surviving volume of the Chad Gospels is housed in Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, England; however, using scanned images of the documents, VisU researchers specializing in classical literature, data visualization, programming languages, browsers and mobile devices have succeeded in paving the way for future users to perform visually interesting, detailed research on the Gospels, regardless of what device they use.
“The goal was to make InfoForest easily replicable and dynamic,” said Becky Hogan of Taylor University. “Like the name, InfoForest, we anticipate frequently adding to the ways in which we can visually present the manuscripts.”
In addition to Hogan, UK students Bonnie Lewis and John Broadbent contributed to InfoForest, along with Puerto Rican students Krystel Marquez and Eric Santos.
“I have never worked with a better or more talented group of people,” said Broadbent at the close of his presentation.
Prior to the group’s report, VisU’s other two students from Puerto Rico described their research efforts and accomplishments. Jean-Karlo Accetta gave a demonstration on the future possibilities of computer interfaces using a Microsoft Kinect to move through his slides. Following Accetta, Karlo Luis Martinez Martos took those in attendance through his research into warping images onto non-flat surfaces.
Computer science professor, Brent Seales, is the faculty mentor for the VisU program. The program was created in 2010 following nearly 10 years of partnering with the University of Puerto Rico to provide research experiences for undergraduate students in the computer science program.