Down to three weeks left already? Our time here is soon to come to an end, but that does not mean we cannot make the most out of the remainder! Everyone here has been amazing and I appreciate every second I have spent with them. Save for a few times my cooking turned out a bit worse that I wanted, I struggle to find any bad moments at all.
As for the project Quoc and I have been working on, we have been making a lot of progress (although perhaps not in the area we originally thought). Near the beginning of the program our original goal was to explore the differences between an FPGA board and a Linux-run board such as the BeagleBone Black to see what the advantages and disadvantages of each system in a facial recognition application were. You would think that exploring said differences would be quite easy, however that was not the case. Our team ran into two main issues: the FPGA board not having a strong Computer Vision library and the BeagleBone Black not having the processing power to use the OpenCV functions we wanted in real time. Now we have shifted our focus more to the Computer Vision side of things, attempting to find the coordinates of a person’s mouth relative to a camera looking at it. Everyone has seen basic facial recognition software, some point-and-shoot cameras had it back in the early 2000’s. Robots cannot do much with simple facial recognition, however, they need something a little bit more useful. Essentially, they need a numerical input, and three-dimensional coordinates give them just that. At the end of the day, we hope to be able to give a robotic arm these three-dimensional coordinates and said robotic arm will be able to, say, put a spoonful of food right in front of the person’s mouth. Doing this would make the everyday task of eating much easier for someone with a physical disability. Technology can really improve the life of someone with a disability and I cannot wait to see what kind of application our camera system could have.
How could I forget, in between all this time in the lab we have been having a bit of fun! Every weekend it seems like there is a new adventure to go on. St. Croix’s county fair was an absolute blast especially with all the amazing Wisconsin food that they had. Escape EC (an escape room) was an amazing experience that I hope to have again. Lots of fun is still to be had here in Menomonie and the surrounding area. Obviously, we will not be able to get to everything, but we can try to do as much as possible. Lake Menomin kayaking anyone?
Here is an example of the facial recognition as demonstrated on a Twitch stream.