Food Insecurity in Ky

Produced by Nate Hernandez

Kentucky is one of the most food insecure states in the nation. Because of this, families and students have to choose between basic necessities just to get by. Spark Community Cafe is a non-profit restaurant that offers a “pay as you can” motto. Customers can chose to pay full or partial price for the farm to table food or they can volunteer to pay for their meals for their family. This is just one example of how Kentucky if fighting poverty. In the end, the biggest difference will be made through legal action.

How Machine Learning is Paving the Way for Educational Experiences in VR

3D assets for video games and movies is incredibly expensive and time consuming, so it is no wonder why most VR don’t have personalized experiences. With advancements in AI and machine learning, however, those time-consuming tasks can be delegated to the computers, so that developers can make those personalized experiences quickly. AiSolve is a company working to make immersive and interactive learning modules by combining machine learning and VR.

AiSolve recognized the potential for VR to help people learn without having to purchase expensive equipment and classes. They offer a variety of courses that can teach the basics of pediatric emergency room healthcare, manufacturing, and education. By applying machine learning to handle the mundane tasks, developers can make curriculum opportunities that are tailor made for specific companies quickly and effectively.  

AiSolve with the help of VRsims, a proprietary virtual reality company, have earned learning awards for their first VR experience. The simulation helped workers to learn how to plumb without all the equipment. Not only does AiSolve’s machine learning help create smart and interactive content quickly, but it also takes analytics from the game to help advance the learning progress of the user. As they progress through the program, they grow from beginner to an advanced user.

VRsims is used at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital to teach healthcare students how to react to high stakes situations in the workplace. Students learn how to diagnose and treat symptoms through the immersive lens of VR. These experiences set them up for success in the workplace and teaches them how to be calm under pressure.

AiSolve’s Pediatric Intensive Care simulation

Additionally, AiSolve and VRsims have created a simulation platform to teach airport security to spot and react to dangerous situations in an airport. Workers can experience how to identify dangerous weapons hidden in luggage.

AiSolve’s products and services are breaking new ground by using machine learning to aid in the development process and to track a user’s progress as they take the courses.  This makes experiences faster to ship, more realistic, and personalized for the user.  They already are working with partners such as Sony, Facebook, and Oculus and hope to continue their success.

Food Insecurity at UKY

In March of 2019, SSTOP Hunger held a student assembly to convince the student government to take action to stop food insecurity and poverty among students.

Filmed By: Nate Hernandez

Edited by Nate Hernandez & Abee Martha

How To Create a “Before & After” Wipe in Premiere Pro

Written by: Nate Hernandez

Even though we live for a good “Before n’ After”, we don’t watch HGTV only for the home makeover. It takes courage to admit that we watch for the crazy house hunting mom-drama.  We get so caught up in the house hunting drama, that we forget about what we originally tuned in for; that transformation.

A powerful transformation can sell the dramatic change the “Property Brothers” worked so hard for. VR, however, has the potential to make the makeover even better. One small problem stops us from making it effective in VR, however. A wipe in 2D is easy to animate, but it isn’t easy to do that in 3D.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to animate a transitional wipe in VR. It’s perfect for a transformation like in HGTV or the wipe on Avengers: Infinity Wars when Thanos reveals the destruction of his home planet.

While you may be a magical Premiere Pro warlock, getting the footage perfect before post-production is essential. Here are your goals when filming:

  1. Make sure to stick the camera in the exact same position. Place it on the same spot on the floor as well as the same height.
  2. Next, the camera and its settings should be the same. Ideally, you should use the highest resolution and use 30fps. If there are dark shadows, change the white balance so that the image is brighter. Brighter pixels are sharper pixels!

Now that we have all our footage ready to go, stitch your footage and we can finally open Premier Pro! Import the videos and lay them directly on top of each other. Place the Before above the After.

The second step is to align the footage so that the landmarks are on the same part of the screen. Reduce the opacity of the top layer so that you can see both simultaneously. Then apply the “VR Rotate Sphere” and adjust the layers until they are aligned properly.

Side Note: If you are just a bit off and you can’t get it in the EXACT position, don’t worry too much. The human mind will compensate for small differences.

Moving on, we are going to start adding effects. Select the effects tab and look up the “crop” tool. Drag the effect onto the top layer. Select the “Effects Controls” tab on the left of the screen. The effect on the bottom should say “Crop”. Click it.

Enter for the left is 0% and then 75% for the right. You can personalize the size to your tastes, but I found this to be a good balance between the “Before” and “After”.

There should be a small chunk of the before shifted slightly to the left with a harsh line revealing the “After” layer under it. No feathering. No motion.  Just a block of footage standing alone like a kid in the supermarket pretending that they didn’t get lost.

To get some motion going, we need to use the dreaded key frames. They can be a little tricky for first timers, so it is important to carefully follow these instructions.

Make sure your timeline in effects control is at the zero mark. In crop effect, you will see a stop watch icon. Click on the stop watch on the left and the right crop effects.  Two diamonds should appear in the beginning of the timeline. Move the timeline cursor to when you want the animation to end. 15-30 seconds should be enough. Now you can change the values to 75% for the left and 0% for the right.  Two more diamonds should appear in the timeline.

You can now play back the video and see that it’s moving. The hard part is over. You can relax, now.

To give it the finishing touches, we need to feather out the harsh lines of the top layer. Luckily, this effect is already in the crop effect. The value of the feather tool should be at zero. Change it to 500. This will ensure that both layers blend seamlessly.

If “ifs” and “buts” are candy and nuts, you should be finished. Congratulations!

Gatton Student Center Before and After

Watch as rooms from the UKY student center transform from desolate concrete structures to fully furnished rooms. With the aide of VR video, you can catch a glimpse of what the student center looked like in construction and compared to what it is now. The two will sweep across your eyes magically.

Photographed by Abee Martha & Zach Curry

Edited: Nate Hernandez