September, 2009

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Kalman Filters + QNX madness

Today was a packed day, full of excitement. As the TA for computer vision, I had to give the lecture today since my professor is in Kyoto at the ICCV conference. My lecture was on SIFT, arguably the most important concept in computer vision. And so many glazed looks from the class….sigh….at least I don’t think it went too poorly. I debated recording it so I could analyze it later to see how badly I did, but didn’t get around to it. Next time….procrastination strikes successfully again. Interestingly enough, the back row was apparently the place to be. I had one friend fall asleep during my lecture and two others were apparently arguing on whether I was a controls or vision person. I personally maintain that I’m neither: while attempting to do both, I do neither well.

I am also working with the new visiting Spainish student in my lab on Kalman Filters and developing a model of Micron. The results so far are looking promising with a very basic Kalman filter with an identity A matrix and no inputs. It is able to filter stationary noise by several factors to an RMSE of 1-2 micros. Not bad, but then again we are using the Kalman filter under the most idealistic scenario. It will be interesting to see what happens when we add in a model of hand movements and the kinematics of the system. On an unrelated note, I spent some time working with Uma to get his new computer which uses PCI instead of ISA to work in the realtime operating system QNX. He is trying to interface with various electronics such as DACs mounted to PCI expansion cards. That still needs more work as we keep getting weird errors where functions compile and link just fine but then spit out “Error not implemented” when you run them. Oddnesses abound.

Simple Kalman Filtering

Simple Kalman Filtering

No payments until next Jan

It’s like those very clever advertisements: “Don’t have cash at the moment? Buy it now anyhow, and we won’t charge interest until next Jan.”  Of course, by the time you’ve gotten through Christmas and New Years, you still won’t have any money and they’ll slap on months and months of interest. Gotcha! Life is like that. Today I went for lunch, did some grocery shopping, baked, and went to a birthday party – all with some friends. It was a great time, no doubt about it. But….it is reminiscent of the clever ad: have fun now, overpay later – meaning lots of work for tomorrow. Moral of the story is make sure you plan into the future to have enough cash/work done before you purchase/have fun. Otherwise you might be paying/working more tomorrow than you originally anticipated.

Blog up, Surrogates

One of the things I’ve been missing is a good blog that does all the fancy stuff I’ve been needing: categorizing, easy editing, RSS, etc. I figured I’d install the ever popular WordPress and be done with it, but it requires MySQL and I’m pretty alergic when it comes to databases. Not that I have anything against them, but I like the surety of seeing my content as files somewhere that I can backup. When searching for alternatives, I discovered that it is really quite hard to find a blog that doesn’t use MySQL. All the ones that do look terrible and have lame features. I finally hunted down NinjaBlog which appears to be a modified version of WordPress that uses flat files as the storage mechanism. Hurrah! Anyhow, we’ll see how it does. EDIT: It goes really poorly, I had to go ahead and swap to WordPress, which is actually quite nice, even if it does hide all my data away in a database.

On a more personal note, I saw Surrogates today. I had been excited about it for a while, but recent reviews have not been kind so I went in with low expectations. I found it quite enjoyable, if predictable at times. It makes one think about life and the lies we use to reassure ourselves. But the best part was it featured Takeo Kanade, the professor at CMU/Robotics Instititue that is largely responsible for the field of robotics. Way to go Takeo! With Randy Pausch in Star Trek and now Takeo Kanade in Surrogates, perhaps being featured in a major Hollywood film is closer to me than I think 🙂