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3D Body Gestures To Control Equipment From Distance October 31, 2011

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This week, I had to come to New Jersey for an important family situation and I hope to be back in San Francisco by Wednesday.  Family is very important to me and I will do whatever necessary to be present when I am needed.  I am staying at my sister’s house that is located one block away from one of the best Manhattan’s views.  Every time I come around here, I go to Boulevard East Street in North Bergen, NJ and just fix my sight to a beautiful city across the river that never sleeps.  This view is high up on the New Jersey side and it looks out onto Manhattan in New York City by the Hudson River.  I always recommend these views to friends that are coming to the New York/New Jersey area.  On the early mornings you can see people running about doing their business while your eyes are captured by the beautiful colors of the sunrise. The light of the sun creeping through those tall and beautifully odd shaped buildings mesmerize me.  Manhattan is as beautiful in the mornings as it is breathtaking in the evenings. You find families walking around with kids, single people with pets, teenagers trying to steal one last minute before bedtime, and people with beautiful bodies showing them off.  As soon as I pass the distraction of people around me and gaze toward New York City, I am helplessly trapped by its beautiful night lights. As I walk, I pick a comfortable and quiet spot, cross my arms and lean forward resting my upper body on the green golden fence and let my sight and imagination fly.  I know every city has its charms, and even though I love San Francisco, New York City still has a soft spot on my heart.  When I look at the city of Manhattan and see those yellow, gold, green, red, sparkling bright lights, they transport me to my teens and early twenties hanging out with friends and family around Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Radio City.  When I focus my sights to a specific area full of the various colors of the night, I feel as if I am rushed toward the center of Manhattan as it rushes out to meet me. It’s like a big image coming out of the theater screen. No wonder, people spend hours in these areas enjoying the views.  You know, how one experiences a beautiful view can positively impact ones outlook on life but how do we turn that around? Why not have interaction with technology that enhance our lives simply through gesture. Following on the ideas of views, images and body postures, Apple has been working on software to use interpretation of 3D imaging to control devices without physically touching it.

A friend of mine emailed me an article from CNNTech By Christina Bonnington where she speculates future control for the iPhone and iPad will be by hand sings from across the room.  She declares that Apple has already patented this idea/software since mid 2010.  New iPhones and iPads have the front-facing camera that allows the capturing of images facing it.  This ability of rotating the images will enhance the development of this software.  Basic gestures like check marks, circles, rectangles, and letters can be captured by the camera and turned into a 3D image that can further be turned into a command to be executed. All the while, this person can be sitting meters away.  People will be able to open applications and programs and then write, browse, and edit with basic body gestures.  I know we have already seen similar software before or at least played some type of game that uses body gestures, but the difference is on the simplicity and everyday application of this new software.  In looking ahead and specifically in the medical field and quality of life enhancement, this is a great revolution.  I am sure that in a few years we’ll be able to develop and improve the software so that people in wheel chairs will be able to control computers or other medical equipment with just hand gestures much like the great physicist Stephen Hawking uses his eyes today.  This will make today’s disabled less dependent and perhaps bring them a sense of mobility with a bit more dignity.  In the medical field, it would be great if one doctor in the operating room could manipulate different equipment while still having his surgical gloves on and not be concerned with contamination or infection due to handling of surgical instruments and visual displays in the operating room.  All of these wonders, and to have a play on words, are literally at hand. We as individuals and yes, our family and friends, have more wonders to look forward to and it’s exciting to me. Family and friends are a big part of my life; so the prospect of enhancing the quality of our lives is something of extreme importance to me.

Sorry that I can’t provide more links or visual aids, I am traveling!

Midterm Reflection about English414. October 21, 2011

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I smiled when I saw a young teacher in front of the class. As I walked into the classroom trying to add English414, all the students were seated on a circle trying to figure each other out; some were already talking, others were shy and quit, and I was happy to finally see a teacher that was not over fifty.  The professor said that her class roll was filled but I decided to stay, not because I needed the class right away but because I liked the makeup and feel of the class. There are very few classes that bring enjoyment and this is one of them for me.  I was very antagonistic at the idea of taking this class having failed the JEPET; however, I am so glad to be part of this class.  I didn’t even know what a blog was, and now I am enjoying posting and commenting and even friends and family are reading my blog.  In previous classes I read and wrote in such a superficial and uninteresting level and now I can’t wait to read my classmates’ posts and comments and checking my posts constantly smiling at my classmates’ comments on my posts.  Now I pay more attention to the details and references when writing in the hope of making my readers understand and enjoy my ideas.  It is surprising to me how a 50 word comment makes a whole night of writing and creating a post worth the effort.  I am very glad that with our very own contributions, ideas, interactions and freedom, this class has turned from a required course into an exploring, learning, and rewarding experience.

I’m not a fan of writing, but the class dynamics keep me focused and willing to explore and share more about the development, usage and accessibility of 3D Imaging Technology.  When I read my group’s posts and comments and understand how precious their time is; I find myself writing not just for my enrichment but for my readers’ enjoyment as well.  When I chose this topic, I did it because I wanted to learn about 3D technology trying to be objective and fun but now I find myself emotionally tied to my blog and reflecting on personal experiences.  I want readers to understand the amazing range of technology around them for instance, in their kitchens when cooking their loved ones favorite dish.  For a typical guy, I want him to visualize the future and see himself in a 3D exercising environment at home while reading my blog.  If my reader travels abroad I just don’t want her to focus on common sense and safety, but also on ways of improving the lives of less fortunate people with safe and affordable technology.  Pay more attention to imaging and video technology when hanging out with friends at clubs and perhaps enhanced by a couple of cocktails.  These are just a few ideas picked from my group’s posts which show how brilliant it is to incorporate blogging in English414.

I sometimes find myself questioning and or doubting my topic from and I wonder if my readers are getting bored with the topic or my writing style.  Are they as excited about my topic as I am or are they just tolerating me?  I went back and read some of my postings and was shocked with the amount of information I collected and expressed from readings and personal experience.  I shared information about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, cancers, family experiences, treatments and technologies.  I read my group’s blogs and they too have an equal amount of great information obtained from research, personal experience and imagination.  I am sure that we all question are blogs and topics sometimes, especially when we get not so positive comments.  Nice comments make us feel good about our post, but negative comments may help us improve our writings and avoid future mistakes.  If we give up on our blogs or topics, we would deprive the reader from knowing our interests and experiences and our writings will be much less enjoyable.  I am still very enthusiastic about blogging as well as my class makeup and setting.

I am happy with the reading subjects chosen by the students.  It is very helpful to read the essays then hear student interpretations and their questions each unique point of view.  As a reader I am encouraged to read an essay knowing that perhaps the student who chose it has the same knowledge of the subject as I do.  That makes me less nervous when commenting online or in class.  Leneah lead a very smooth and interactive discussion the other day, but I am a little scared of leading the class discussion.  The Teacher’s views and interactions are extremely helpful when students are to lead the discussion. Two of my favorite readings are “Coatesville” by Lineah and “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” by Maria.  Lineah’s essay talked about a white man defending a black man, which lead to a very interesting discussion about racism.  Maria’s essay talks about the achievement and strong personality of a black woman.  These two essays are very inspiring as they encouraged taking action and not be defeated by differences in skin color or ethnic backgrounds.

I shall always have room for improvement in my grammar; having student do the grammar presentation makes it less rigid and more comfortable for me when I make a mistake in class exercises.  Overall, I am very impressed on the amount of skills we are developing in this class.  At the end we will be better at writing, analyzing, researching, blogging, presenting and perhaps all due to our initial failure of the JEPET.

Prostate & Breast Cancer Screenings and Treatments. October 14, 2011

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Breast and Prostate Cancer

With the shock of being diagnosed with some type of cancer come despair, guilt, financial instability, and the loss of hope.  This summer I found out that one of my aunts had her left breast and part of the right breast surgically removed.  I felt very sad about her experience and guilty for not being around when she was going through her ordeal.   Later, I found that it wasn’t just me, but my entire family felt the same guilt toward my aunt’s breast cancer ordeal.

Zohra on her blog post Breast Cancer in 3D Culture explains the effectiveness on doing breast cancer treatment research entirely in a 3D environment before it is synthesized or even tested on humans.  After our family experience and finding out how humbling it is for the patient and the family, I wanted to identify ways to make the screening and the education process more simple and understandable.

People usually believe that cancer is for another person to worry about, preferably older but not for him or her.  Surprisingly, young people are at most risk of dying when diagnosed with some type of cancer.  Young males have 75% more chances of dying when diagnosed with prostate cancer than older males.  All of this is attributed to the fact that because one is young, he/she thinks that the body is healthy enough to withstand any illness, ignoring education on illness and delaying treatment.

The other night, I was watching a CBS network show called Cutting Edge by reporter Julie Nelson that explored breast and prostate cancer.  She talked about the different treatments, reactions, support, help, and technology involved.  Of course what got my attention was the array of 3D technology mentioned on her show, prompting me to write this post.

3D view of Breast Cancer

About 12% or 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US.  Men are also being diagnosed with breast cancer with a rate of about 2000 cases per year.  Breast cancer starts as a small lesion on the breast and can grow and spread to other parts of the body.  Early detection is very crucial in preventing mortality, representing about 40,000 deaths per year in the US and about 1.5 million cases diagnosed worldwide.

Imaging technology which includes Breast MRI machines also known as 3D mammography or tomosynthesis are used for regular size breasts and molecular breast imaging, which uses Gama rays, is used for women with large breasts.   MRI tends to work best on women with less tissue density in their breasts.  These scans and 3D images allow doctors to do extensive review and analysis of a patient’s breast without the patient being present on every occasion.  Doctors can present and discuss theories and rebuttals regarding a patient’s case based entirely on the images taken.  If they find irregularities or lumps on a part of the breast, the images can be rotated, sliced, reduced, expanded and zoomed in order to have a complete review of the breast. This gives the doctor an opportunity to scrutinize the data before giving a diagnosis to a patient.  Being able to do a study on the breast from 3D images may reduce stress and possibly causing more injury to the patient.  Doctors can also present 3D images of the procedure showing the removal of part of the breast and its reconstruction.  With the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis; having some visual aids to understand their condition and prognosis can be extremely helpful to the patient. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment through the Urethra

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men with about 220,000 cases every year and about 30,000 deaths where the mortality rate is much higher on younger males.  Younger males don’t do regular prostate cancer screenings, therefore reducing chances of survival.  The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut located under the bladder and is responsible for producing the fluids in semen.  The usual screenings involve blood work or physical examination, where the doctor touches the gland with his finger through the rectum.   The screenings are invasive but the treatment may not be.  For treatment, patients may choose from surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy.  In hormone therapy, patients take a veritable cocktail that includes women’s hormones to reduce the level of testosterone.  For surgery, there are new methods using robotic arms and cameras that produce live 3D images to guide with precision the tiny robotic arms to perform the surgery.  With radiation, patients lie on the table with their clothes on, while the radiation delivering machines is guided by a person in another room using 3D images and a live feed camera.  In the quest for making treatment less invasive, there is a newer method that involves going through the urethra to get to the prostate avoiding incisions and scar tissue.

We still don’t have a 100% effective treatment for most cancers yet and these treatments are extremely stressful, but doctors may agree on implementing some of my group’s blogs suggestions in the fight against cancer.  Daniel on his blog suggests doing proper exercise.  Lineah’s blog suggests getting plenty of rest and eating healthy.  From Khanh’s post, we learn the importance of emotional support.  Although their suggestions are not cancer treatment or prevention specific, they are a good morn to follow.  There are organizations that can help with the treatment and screening, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  Patients, especially ones diagnosed with cancer are under such fright and despair, let’s help them by providing affordable technology that will make their ordeal less stressful and perhaps enhance their quality of life.

The Real Meaning of My Café Late October 9, 2011

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The other day in class we talked about ways of bringing memories back to life by remembering specific details of the environment around the event.  I was immediately captured by the topic of “extremely happy time” as students read each possible scenario. I wrote on my last post, Capture of Emotions, where I unexpectedly presented a friendly contradiction of my post and my blog. I am happy about and want to contribute on ways of making 3D technology improve our lives; however, I must admit that I hit a wall when it comes to digitally capturing of emotions and memories.

Sir/Madam if you believe that everything can be captured in ones and zeros, please allow me to contradict you and at the same time prove you right by detailing my introduction to Café Late at the age of 4.

My parents and me when I was a teenager

When I was a very small child in El Salvador, my father would take me around the land to pick fresh fruits or to go see the workers that helped my father on our farm.  I was very short, slim and had white colored skin that would easily blend in with the rocks and grass and disappear from sight in the middle of the bright sun.  My father would take me from home through a short and narrow trail with huge rocks and lots of trees to where the workers and crops were.  My father would never let me walk alone on our land, no matter how much I complained. Why do parents always do the opposite of what the child wants? Is it possible that a parent wants the child to suffer just as the parent did in the past?

I remember my father carrying me on his shoulders with my little legs hanging forward on his chest with my left calf hitting a small plastic and animal decorated cup on the left side pocket of his shirt.  My hands would be constantly grabbing and sliding off his soft short hair while my whole little skinny body would be pressing against the back of his head.  I would be terrified of falling off my father and hit the rocks or roll down the hill and be lost from my father forever; I would then squeeze my dad’s head tighter.  I would be annoyed that he stopped constantly and asked me to be quiet not to scare the grass hoppers, squirrels, and birds away.  But I was glad of these stops sometimes because that gave me the opportunity to see more of what was around me.  Since my father would dress me up with a light green shirt, light brown shorts, and black soft sandals I would feel that fresh cool morning breeze creeping up my shorts, tickling my ribs and back, then exiting around my neck making my ears cold.  The warmth of my dad’s shoulders and head was enough to stop complaining about the cool breeze and instead look at the little animals around me. If it had rained the night before I would smell the fresh morning dew, see the wet birds sitting on the rocks or top of the trees bathing on the sun while the blue and purple tiny butterflies sat still on the not yet opened flowers. The other times, the sun would be very bright and I would feel warm.  On these dry days, I got to see birds flying and singing, the squirrels chasing each other along the branches and the grass hoppers jumping away from the hunting ants. I would be absolutely fixated with this amazing range of details and unfolding of events before my eyes, all the while I had to stay quiet sitting on my father’s neck with that uncomfortable cup by my left leg.  Finally we would walk past the rocks, birds and trees and come to the other side and be mesmerized by the cows and their calves, flicking their tails left and right looking at me while my father walked between them.

I would be lifted off my father’s shoulder by a very old man that was always smiling and gently scratching my head while the other workers started talking to my dad in words that meant nothing to me.  My dad would pull out the little cup from his pocket.  All of the sudden this tickling joyful feeling rushed through my tiny body and I would grab my dad’s leg as he walked toward the big buckets of fresh warm milk that the workers had milked by hand from the cows that had observed my arrival.  He would dip the cup into one of the buckets and pull it out full of fresh milk and foam then gently bring it toward my lips and I would drink it.  My father and the smiling old man would start laughing hard, but I would just be interested in drinking even though my upper lip and the tip of my nose were completely covered with foam.  Eventually my father would wipe my lips and nose, put me back on his shoulders and bring me back home.  On the way back I would fall asleep and then wake up at home when my mother pulled me off my father’s shoulders.

On a recent trip to El Salvador, my mother and I went walking around our land and she pointed with her left hand toward a dense tree covered area while holding her hat with her right hand and said “that was our secret short cut during the civil war”.  She continued to say, “Your dad used to take you through that trail against my will because your uncles and other workers liked when you came to the farm, but some people lost their lives around these lands during the war”.

Then I understood the significance of seeing a happy child covered with milk foam in the middle of such precarious times.  As grownups do we tell our parents that we love them and thank them for their protection and support?  Do you think it is necessary to say it or parents know us so well that it is not necessary to tell them how much we appreciate them? I usually don’t share these memories with my siblings for fear of being overshadowed by more exciting memories of their own recollections of events.  I hope I have been able to emotionally present you with a full dimensional image of one of my memories.  My father passed away years ago and this is one of my most cherished memories of him.  On the way to my office every morning I stop by Starbucks coffee and with a joyful smile I ask: “a tall late please… with extra foam”.