May 2011 GTUG meet

The May GTUG meet took place last night. Unlike most of our other meets, this one involved a larger amount of short talks, all of which were given by final year undergraduate students (bar one). The idea of this session was to see what cool technologies some of the cool kids are playing with – we thought this would be of interest to some of the group.

There were seven talks in all, covering a wide range of topics, from RFID to an iPad MIDI controller. The session went over time (as is not uncommon!), but as most people remained engaged, this was not a huge issue.

First up was Zac Davison from DIT who talked about a MIDI controller he had developed for the iPad. Zac is involved in music production and DJing and recognized the need for flexible controllers to replace legacy equipment, primarily mixing desks, found in music studios. To this end, he developed an iPad app which serves as a flexible device controller – it interfaces to MIDI equipment to control the sound output of the equipment and it is very configurable – sliders, knobs and on/off switches can easily be added to the interface and associated with different devices. [Slides, Video]

Philip Nolan, also from DIT, was up next. Philip did a project which focused on dealing with issues receiving text messages while driving. He developed an Android app which detects when a message is received and notifies the user (who is driving). The app will convert the text message to speech and convey it to the user. The app can also automatically respond indicating that the user is driving and will revert shortly. The app is currently available in the market – search for ‘Driver Safety’ to give it a test drive! [Slides]

Christina Lynch from UCD followed Philip. Christina did a project which tries to give information on the types of people who frequent different venues such as bars and restaurants – the idea being to get some feel for a place based on the characteristics of folks who go there. Christina developed an application with both a web and mobile front end. The application was built on top of foursquare (for venue information) and hunch (for preference information). Christina provided limited distribution of the app and got some useful feedback from people, mostly in the hunch community. The project may be taken forward in different guises. [Slides]

Another DIT student took the stage after Christina: John Breen did an investigation of the use of Knowledge Management (KM) in a small organization. John investigated how such an organization understands what information it has and how it is distributed. Interestingly, John found that a lot of people prefer to have a human component to information dissemination – purely technological solutions lack the human factor and can be wanting in some respects. [Slides]

After the short break, Karl O’Dwyer from NUI-M gave an overview of an eye-tracking project he did. Karl used a high speed camera to detect eye movements targeted at driver training applications. Karl talked about the challenges that eye-tracking presents and then went on to talk about the system that he developed. He talked about a number of different algorithms which are often used for eye-tracking and how they compared in the system that he worked on. He managed to devise a system which has reasonable levels of accuracy with good response times, but there is still scope for further improvement, which may occur if the project is taken forward. [Slides]

Next up was Jeffrey Roe from DCU who presented his work on accurate GPS tracking with a cycle tracking application in mind. Jeffrey developed a system which samples, stores and visualizes location data. Jeffrey developed a system comprised of an Arduino based data sampler, an Arduino based data logger and a backend which talks HTTP. Jeffrey described the particular components he used to build the system and demonstrated the front end functionality which showed where the device had logged location data. [Slides]

Last, but certainly not least, was Kevin Chen from DKIT. Kevin did some work on security exploits in RFID systems in general and NFC systems in particular. Kevin reviewed the different NFC systems that are available and described how standard configurations can be the source of security vulnerabilities. Kevin discussed some of the tools that are used to crack NFC systems and gave some examples in which he cracked school ID cards and Mifare 1k tags. [Slides]

Overall, the session was a very engaging session with the audience asking lots of questions – informal feedback was that this was a good thing to do, so we will probably do it again next year.

At the next session, we’re delighted that Ilmari Heikkinen from Google will come to talk about Chrome and HTML5. More details to follow.

The usual suspects retired to the Schoolhouse for some robust post-GTUG debate.

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About morphousmusings
Engineer, thinker, tinker, drinker, talker, walker, hiker, biker, liker, lover

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