Bots, Bit Flips, and Catching the Bus

Published in MIT News on December 22, 2016, by Alison F. Takemura, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Engineering undergrads showcase their research after one semester of yearlong SuperUROP projects.

Imagine you’re walking in your dimly lit hallway. You’ve donned a pair of glasses that augment your reality. But the new object in your environment — a sleeping dragon the size of a cat — looks disappointingly flat and cartoonish.

“You can tell it’s really fake, because the lighting [on it] doesn’t match your environment,” explains Elisa Young. A senior in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Young is researching how to make simulated objects reflect the light in a user’s environment. That way, they could look more like objects in the real world.

“I have such love for visual things in combination with computer science,” says Young, who is enthused to erode the boundary between virtual and concrete realities. She smiles at the thought. “It’s really cool to be like, ‘Oh, I’m living in a movie.’”

Young was among 151 students presenting their work on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the SuperUROP Research Review. Students enrolled in the School of Engineering SuperUROP program — an advanced Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) — who undertake yearlong research projects shared their first term’s progress with faculty and graduate student mentors...

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