Undergrad researcher brings windows to life - lsureveille.com: News

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Technology Undergrad researcher brings windows to life

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 9:23 pm | Updated: 11:45 pm, Thu Mar 27, 2014.

Stained glass windows may remind some people of old buildings, but one University student has a different vision.

Computer engineering senior Kathryn Williams is in the process of developing a way to create interactive stained glass for the Center for Computation and Technology’s new home at the Louisiana Digital Media Center.

The windows will act as a normal PC would, with a mouse and keyboad.

“We had these windows in here, and we thought we should have something more interesting than just a window,” Williams said.

The goal of the project is to create a type of interactive display with CCT-related media, Williams said.

Williams said she loves computer science, and this project provided her with a way to channel that into a creative outlet.

The displays are possible through the use of the Raspberry Pi and another, larger computing unit, Williams said.

The Raspberry Pi is a small computer, no larger than a driver’s license and costing no more than $35, which may be plugged in to allow users to perform some of the same functions as a typical PC, such as word processing, creating spreadsheets and playing games, according to the website.

The Raspberry Pi, while slower at processing things than a PC, is often used in grade schools to teach children about programming, Williams said.

While demonstrating her work, Williams connected the machines through her MacBook Pro but said they will probably need to use a Windows Surface in the future.

“Whenever I talk to people about [working with the CCT], they don’t really know what we do,” Williams said.

Williams is a member of the CCT’s tangible visualization group, composed of undergraduate and graduate students. According to the website, the group — also referred to as “tangviz” — focuses on designing and deploying “new kinds of physical interaction devices and associated software systems to simplify, strengthen, and extend computer visualizations.”

The group helps connect people and computing through objects they can physically grasp, Williams said.

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