Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tied up on Thursday

Today was a more busy day. I dont mean that I did more things today than other usual days, but it was a full day today.

The morning meeting went from 8:45 to around 10:15. During this meeting, we had a peer review of each other's outlines for our presentations. It was very interesting to see the other interns' presentations because it also gave me more insight on what kind of work they are actually doing, rather than just learning about what kind of things they are researching in the other labs.

After this morning meeting, I directly went to my advisor to show him the work I had done with his code. I helped him identify what the problem actually was in his code, and I also added a couple of improvements in his program. After this, he wanted me to start working on fixing another program he had made. In order to do this, he had to actually give me the program and the code to begin with. To do this, i needed to access the server so that i could download said files, but i was encountering an error that stopped me from being able to get the files. After fixing this, it was already 11:30! Time certainly flew by this morning.

After lunch, I went to the DIY camera lab to be a test subject for them. They wanted me to build the Bigshot Camera from the DIY kit and instruction manual provided. Apparently, I did this quite fast and broke the record for building the camera in the least amount of time... It was fun!

After all of this, I went back to the lab, and my advisor gave me the files for the second thing he wanted me to work on. We worked on this for a while, and we figured a few things out. There's apparently one last problem he needs to fix before i can work on it. 

My coworkers, advisor, and a couple of graduate research students all looked at the equipment we had so far. We moved more things, and talked about things that were to come. We also tried out the sieve shaker that was in the lab, just to see how it worked and what it was like. 

After all of this finished, it was 5 already! We all went home and called it a day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday #4

Today, I did a bunch of things, listed below.

  • Worked on presentation outline
    • update at end of blog
  • helped troubleshoot the GPS more
    • we're closer to the end, but there's still one issue that we need to fix
    • it's a com port communication issue
  • helped look at some code for processing the data from the Spectrometer and the GRIT
    • problem in the code that i need to fix
      • time to learn some C++
      • time to actually work with some code
    • got access to the server so i can download the files (through FTP/SFTP) and work on them
    • learned more about unix commands, etc
  • got ready to order blackout material for the optical table that will arrive soon
    • found the store online, got a quote, etc
  • got ready to order clean room mats
    • for trapping dirt and keeping the room clean
    • found it online, got a quote, etc
  • 3D printed things for the interns as well as my coworkers
  • met some more deaf people who are here for a summer coop program
    • theyre working at the NTID services desk
    • i'm joining them for lunch tomorrow
I've only changed a couple of slides but here's the whole outline so that it's easier to see them all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We did stuff!

Today, we actually did stuff!

We took the GRIT outside and took a lot of measurements; it was lengthy but fun! We also used some equipment such as the penetrometer and the deflectometer. We got to see them in action, and we got to use them!
After this, we all went our separate ways for lunch break. When we came back, we tried out some more equipment. After this, we talked about writing a computer program that could control the GRIT and the spectrometer automatically, rather than repetitively doing it by hand. It's all becoming very interesting now!

On a different note, below is the very basic outline for my presentation that I will give.

Back again

On Friday, my coworkers were busy, so we did not get much moving done. Today, we changed that.

Today, we did a lot of moving. We emptied out the storage closet in the back of the lab. This was harder than I make it sound, we had to make 3-4 trips to another room to finish moving everything. We put a lot of things into a lot of boxes, and we took a lot of things out of a lot of boxes. We looked for more space upstairs and across the hall, etc. 

After all of the moving and reorganizing, we had a team meeting. In this team meeting, we talked about long term plans as well as short term plans. We talked about the equipment that arrived, and when we were going to test them out- when we were actually going to use them. We talked about things that we need to order, and 

Tomorrow (today) we are going to start practicing with the equipment! Yay!

In the meantime, I am working to create the basic outline of the presentation I am going to give at the end of my internship.

Monday, July 28, 2014

3 weeks already?!

On Friday, more stuff arrived to our lab. I helped move and set up some things, I mostly planned (or at least tried to plan) where we would put the rest of the equipment. That is to say, where do we put them for storage; we can't just leave them lying around the lab, can we?

After a lot of moving and looking for space, I worked on the GPS, trying to troubleshoot it. I didn't do this for very long as the interns had a lunch cookout in front of the building. The weather was very nice, we set up the volleyball net, and a fellow intern brought his soccer ball, et cetera. We grilled our own food, so I grilled my own hot dogs, something I haven't done in a while. All of us played, talked, played again and talked again, until we all got back to work.

I went and worked on the GPS again. I finally got the bluetooth connection to work, but it didn't last very long. As my coworker said, the bluetooth feature was "funky. I also installed the software onto the field laptop so that data could be downloaded from the handheld device onto the computer for analysis and cataloging. I then tried but failed to test-collect data from outside RIT. I will try again another time.

Hopefully on Monday, I will be able to do this and finally get the GPS working. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Travail on Thursday

My ankle still hurts. A lot.

Oh well.

Today, the oven arrived! (as expected)
We set it up, and now it's ready to be used! Now we are waiting on some other equipment to set up later on. Our research advisor found the contact information for the GPS support, and we will do that tomorrow, and hopefully resolve the problem. Sometime soon, we will look at the spectrometer processing code and modify it a little bit for the GRIT. Also, our research advisor made a master list which also includes plans for future lab field experiments and such. 

At lunch today, I saw one of the deaf college students whom I talked with yesterday. We talked about majoring in Computer Science at RIT, and what the courses were like. We also talked about IT, and how CS and IT compare and contrast. Finally, we talked about how CS has many, many applications, and how to get involved with said applications.

Today, I brought my laptop and my Printrbot Simple 3D printer, and set them up in the lab. Today, I have been staying in the lab printing many things, I'm actually here right now as I type these words. I think this is the longest I've stayed at work so far. It's pretty fun!

Wednesday, day #umm i lost count

Yesterday, we had a meeting about preparations we are going to take for our field experiments that start (hopefully) next Monday. My research advisor re-discovered an old infra-red goniometer that is made for very small samples, and we might use it later on for help with measurements. We are also expecting an oven to arrive soon (not the oven you use to cook crepes, the lab is getting a Bench Series Oven, almost exactly like this We also talked about what we were going to do once on the field, what we were going to set up, etc. Soon, we will move everything that we are bringing to storage so we can keep inventory and transport them more easily.

For lunch, I went to crossroads by myself, where I met a group of deaf people who were all either finishing up college or were going into their 4th year at RIT. I had an interesting talk with them about what they were doing, and how their experience was/is here at RIT.

Afterwards, I still failed to troubleshoot the GPS. Because of this, my research advisor will find and obtain the proper contact information for support. After this, my coworkers and I didn't really have much to do, so we just talked a bit and then went home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Troublesome Tuesday

Today, we moved around some tables and things to prepare for an oven that will arrive soon- we are waiting on that now. It will be used to purify and sanitize samples that we will obtain later on.

I had to leave at around 10:45 to go to the doctor. I needed an x-ray on my ankle, which I got afterwards. The diagnosis was that I had a sprained ligament and that I was to wear a brace when active for the next two weeks. No more tennis for 2 weeks...

After all that, I got lunch and went back to work. 

Now my focus is working on the GPS and trying to get it to work. Apparently we won't be going to Lake Ontario unless the GPS is fixed, so it is kind of important... I worked on it for the remainder of the day, and had no luck.

Oh well. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday # 3

All of the interns and. a few others. had a webcam meeting with a man who graduated and went to graduate school at RIT, and now works at NASA. He gave up his lunch break and talked about his experience at RIT, gave detail about what he did, what he majored/minored in, et cetera. Afterwards, we had Q&A, and then we all got back to our day.

One of my coworkers gave me a list of "random tasks" to do, which really helped me get a better sense of direction with what I was doing.

So, for the next week or so, I will be doing some or all of the [paraphrased] things below:

  • GPS
    • Troubleshoot connection issues
    • collect test data
    • download said data on the computer
    • perform correction on data
  • Find/Design a field cart
    • find a cart that fulfills some specs
    • make sure it is portable, etc
  • Coding
    • look at the code
    • realize what it is doing
    • possibly modify it
    • look at different BRDF rendering code
      • modify it so it works better with GRIT
    • use it!
    • learn/see what it does
Yeah. That's pretty much my plan.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Work-free weekend [includes Thursday 7/17]

I'm back!
Sorry about that, I had another busy day on Thursday, and then I woke up at around 3:45 Friday morning to fly to Maryland, where I visited a lot of my friends. After the fun weekend with them, I came back home at around 11 PM Sunday night and went to bed straightaway.

So, on Thursday, my group and I started contemplating our first experimental field test. That is to say, we talked about what we were going to do and we gathered all of the materials necessary. We made mental checklists and went shopping at local hardware stores. We double checked the GRIT (Goniometer at R.I.T.), set up the illuminator lamp for lighting, set up the spectrometer fiber, etc. All of us except for one poor coworker were taking Friday (or Friday and Monday) off, so we didn't actually do anything that day, we just got ready to. 

After that I went home, bought gifts, packed, and then went to bed. I'll spare you all the details. 

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By the way, if you're looking for more information about the chess event, here's the Community Chess Club of Rochester's blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where Was Wednesday?

I stand corrected.
Yesterday was the longest day, not Tuesday.

Here's why.

7:30 AM. Time to wake up. I woke up (barely) and then got ready, ate, etc.

blah blah blah. These little things don't really bother you, and you barely notice them. Until you have a bad/long day. Then you notice everything. Every little thing. 

At work, I learned the codes to change the file permissions, and then I was able to install TAFKAA! Now I just need to learn and understand what it actually is and how to use it...

I helped out my coworkers by researching external storage drives that we may eventually need to buy to keep all of our data on. I also researched several pycnometers for the lab, and made an excel spreadsheet about them.

For lunch, there was a bit of confusion, but I ended up eating at Crossroads again. After that, we [the same fellow interns from Tuesday] visited the Biomedical Modeling, Imaging, and Visualization lab. This is where one specific intern I'm jealous of works. He's the one with the Smart TV, if you remember. I helped him set it up so he could use the Smart TV as a really, really big external monitor. We went on to waste time watching youtube videos on it.

After that, I went back to my lab, and my coworkers and I planned out what we were going to do for the rest of the week. Our research advisor e-mailed us and asked if we had set up and ran any test experiments. We have not. But soon we will. 

For your information, if you didn't know already, I play chess. Last night, I had a chess simul event, where I played agaisnt 26 people at once. It started at about 7:35 PM, and I got home at around 12:45 AM. So, it was a pretty long night for me too. Walking around in a circle for 5 hours doing nothing but playing chess is pretty fun.... Until it reaches 10 PM. 11 PM. 12PM.

So while I may have not been detailed and elaborate in my blog, trust me- it was a long day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

(almost) Tardy Tuesday

Well, today was perhaps the longest day I've had so far.

First, I left home at 8:10 (my own fault), expecting to show up just on time for the prompt 8:45 meeting.

There was a huge traffic jam [it was almost as dramatic as I make it sound] and after 15 minutes, I had just gotten about a mile or so away from home... Luckily, later on it was much, much better, and I arrived at 8:45! Another lucky thing was that the man in charge of the meeting showed up at around 8:47, so I had not appeared to be late :)


After that, I continued to work on the TAFKAA installation. It seems that it might be a permissions problem, preventing me from modifying the contents in one of the directories. I learned a little bit about using the command line to change said permissions, and I also learned something new about permissions themselves! (computer stuff)

After that, I started working on the title and abstract for the presentation I'm going to give about my internship in the end. This can be found at the bottom of this blog post. This is where I formally tell the reader what I actually do during my internship, and what the current goal of our lab is.

After eating lunch at Crossroads, three fellow interns and I went and visited each other's labs and had a lot of fun! We got to see the work we were doing, and we also got to see how we spend down time (if we have any) in the labs. In one of my fellow intern's labs, they have multiple fancy-looking monitors, along with a humongous 55" Samsung Smart TV (no, this is not product placement). We, evidently, became very jealous of this TV... At least we got to play with it! We can always go and visit each other at the different labs, so one day I might go in and take advantage of that TV :D

After I got back, I continued working on the TAFKAA software, but I focused on my Title and Abstract, seeing as it's due by tomorrow morning. (I tend to procrastinate and do things last minute...)

At 5PM, the interns, as well as others, were invited to "Dinner and A Movie!" We were fed garbage plates, which were delicious, and then treated to "Tim's Vermeer," a movie/documentary about how Vermeer might have used optics for a few [six?] of his paintings. Tim researched this and tested his hypothesis by being Vermeer, and doing what he [is hypothesized to have done] to paint said paintings. That's right, Tim actually built and painted one of Vermeer's famous pieces, "The Music Lesson." A lot of time and work was spent on this project. A lot.

After this enticing movie (yes, I recommend it), I got home at around 7:15 PM, making it the longest day ever. But don't get me wrong, today was one of the most fun days so far. 

Alright, that's pretty much all for today! Below is the prophesied title and abstract.

Remote Sensing of Granular Materials
Modeling, Calibration, and Validation using GRIT

Current remote sensing models of light matter interactions with granular materials
have proved to be not fully reliable.  For example, several of said models have 
significant errors, especially when the scatter is strong and anisotropic.  However 
these models can be useful, as Hapke’s model has shown itself as a good starting 
point for our own models.  The recently developed Goniometer at the Rochester 
Institute of Technology (GRIT) will be used to produce more suitable models 
for study.  The GRIT has been designed to capture the bidirectional reflectance 
distribution function (BRDF) of the various samples it is subjected to.  Analysis 
of these BRDF’s will show how they change with density, composition, grain size 
distribution, and moisture content of the material.  Also, this will be used alongside 
hyper-spectral imaging to assist in validation of the resulting data.  This data will go 
on to create final, satisfactory models for light-matter interactions within various 
granular materials.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moot Monday


Yes, today was moot.

That is to say, today I started and worked on a lot of things, but didn't accomplish anything concrete :(
Today, I tried to install the TAFKAA software, and one of the graduate research students helped me out with it. In the end, it didn't work. We had gone through the steps and checked everything, but was all futile. Not in a bad way, though. We both learned and/or realized many things throughout the process.

After that, I took a look at the code from the GOPHER.

Well, the first few parts, I understood. After that, nope. There was a lot of background information I needed to continue following along with it, et cetera. It wasn't all confusion and chaos, no. I saw some methods that they implemented in their programming, and I got to see a glimpse of what my come in my future here and later in life (I think I want to major in Computer Science at RIT).

Well, at least I know what I'll be working on for the week.

Outside of 'work' work, the interns are creating t-shirt designs.
Interns' t-shirt designs

No, I didn't contribute my creativity to any of these... (I bet you didn't see that coming :P )

Later on, when we all vote and pick one shirt, we will order them online, and then hopefully get to sport them around RIT before out internship is finished!

That's pretty much all I have for today!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Friday. --  I mean--  Friday!

Today, my coworkers went to Lake Ontario to gather samples, and I was at RIT all day. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, though. Here's why.

My RIT CIS ID has not been giving me card swipe access to anywhere :(
Until today! One of the very nice and friendly staff helped me fix the problem, and now I have access to my laboratory, as well as the break room and many other rooms that I'll never go into. Yay!

Today, Dr. Bachmann shared with the group (graduate/undergraduate students, etc) and me some of the code for the Spectrometer Processing from the GOPHER. Now I can actually get started and do some real work!

Also, there is some atmospheric correction (don't ask) software that we are trying to get installed onto our computers. This is now another one of my tasks. I will install TAFKAA (an atmospheric correction software), and make it accessible and usable through ENVI, using ENVI as a convenient, familiar interface. After I accomplish this, I will make a short and sweet tutorial for my coworkers so that their lives are easier.

At noon, there was a "Lunch cookout," where Mr. Callens, et al., set up a grill and served a lot of food! The interns set up a volleyball net, and we inevitably played volleyball! I also played some bocce ball with a couple of my fellow high school interns, all while enjoying hotdogs, fruit, and brownies. Life is good.

After that, I went back to the lab and started looking at the files and the instructions for installation. Later on, my coworkers came back and told me about what they did at Lake Ontario and why they did what they did.

We planned out what we were going to do next week, and then concluded with a sense of relief. Then we all said our farewells, and all went our separate ways to enjoy our much-deserved weekend!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tony talks on Thursday

Hello again!

Well, I want to apologize (and also apologize in advance) for the dullness that may have/will appear[ed] in my blogs; I don't always write with a sense of enthusiasm :(

Oh well.

Anyways, today, as you may have deduced, Tony Vodacek ( gave a talk about his past research/project concerning the dynamics of Lake Kivu. It was very interesting, and he incorporated a lot of different imaging science fields into his research, making it appeal to most everyone, including me (evidently).

Today, Dr. Bachmann showed me some of his articles and papers about past research that he has done. These articles showed me what kind of data collection and analysis and inferences we will be making with our current project.

A few articles include:

"Retrieval of Substrate Bearing Strength from Hyperspectral Imagery during the Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR'07) Multi-Sensor Campaign"

"Phase angle dependence of sand density observable in hyperspectral reflectance"

"A dual-spectrometer approach to reflectance measurements under sub-optimal sky conditions"

"Linking goniometer measurements to hyperspectral and multisensor imagery for retrieval of beach properties and coastal characterization"

There's a lot more, of course, but these are the major examples.

Dr. Bachmann also sent me a few resources giving me background information as preparation before looking at the code from the GOPHER. These resources also give me more insight on the kind of work they have done with their past research.

Today, a group of middle/high school students were given a tour of RIT, including the labs in the Carlson CIS building, where I intern. They came and crammed into our lab, and my coworkers gave excellent descriptions of the lab and what they do in it. Even I learned a lot!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Third time's the charm!

Today was a better day. We started off with the daily intern meeting, which was good. Everyone shared what they were doing in their labs, and Mr. Callens gave us the schedule for the next couple of days. 

This morning, I continued my adventure with the ENVI software, as planned. 

At noon, there was a "movie lunch," where we (the high school interns, undergraduate/graduate research students, and some staff) were provided free pizza, popcorn, and pop (not sure if all of these start with 'p' intentionally). We were shown a few videos of people talking about their careers, as well as giving advice to people who are just starting theirs. Later in the afternoon, my coworkers and I had a meeting with Dr. Bachmann, and we discussed what our plan is now and what we will do in the future.

A concise summary: Currently, the short term plan is to take the code from the GOPHER (some equipment used before the equipment we have now) and modify/redo it so it works better with the GRIT (the current equipment). 

Well, basically, things just got real.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Still have a long way to go...

Well, today was day #2, although I guess we could call it my first day on the job. Today, I actually used some software, and learned about the equipment that I would use later in the summer. I doubt that you'll be surprised when I tell you this: I made a list of things that happened today!

  • We started off the day with our daily intern meeting, as expected. Mr. Callens showed up promptly at 8:45 AM and went on to let us know what he knew about our schedule for the rest of the week.
  • Dr. Bachmann showed me some of the basics of ENVI (ENvironment for Visualizing Images), one of the many programs that I will use throughout my internship. He also showed me some of the key features that I should learn to use. 
  • Dr. Bachmann also introduced me to several goals of Remote Sensing, and different things that I should aim for throughout my internship. 

Screenshot of some basic ENVI features
  • I got a good look at the equipment (I won't bother you with the technical details) and was able to visualize and 'see' how i would be using it later in the summer.
  • I also got to get to know my fellow 'co-workers' better. (I'm still not sure what to call them...Sorry.)
  • For the rest of the day, I just kept playing with the software to see what the different features were, et cetera.
That's all, folks!

Monday, July 7, 2014

And the journey begins.

Well, let me start off by saying hello.


Welcome to my RIT CIS Summer Internship blog, where I will post a daily update on my internship experience. I will be describing what I did, what I learned, what I achieved, what I enjoyed, along with many other "whats" throughout my 6 weeks of being an Imaging Science intern in the Remote Sensing lab.

Today was my first day, and here's what happened:

-all of the interns got to meet one another 
-we split into groups and went on a scavenger hunt, and made a movie about our adventure and what we found
-we watched said movies and were given awards for various reasons
-we went over the "boring stuff" (quote from Bethany Choate), including rules and code of decorum

After that, we went off to our labs and met their research advisors, mine being Dr. Chip Bachmann.

Dr. Bachmann introduced himself, quite friendly so, as well as giving me a short abstract of the Remote Sensing lab and the sorts of things I could expect to do over my next 6 weeks. He also introduced me to the several graduate and undergraduate research students who are now known as my co-workers- although they deserve a more prestigious title on this blog- and I am now ready for tomorrow!