As my second week of working at CURVE ends, I’m beginning to reflect on my time spent there, the progress made, and its overall usefulness in the name of research. Working at CURVE has truly made my lasts jobs seem so mundane and unbearable. Honestly to me, working at CURVE no longer feels like a job. Let me explain. The room is a high-tech visual and research oasis. As a computer science major, I am continuously at awe with everything that the space can do for GSU students, especially those dedicated research students. The workstations each have either a PC or a Mac of incredible quality. The PCs have 12 core processors and 128 GB of RAM (making them extremely fast and capable of loading things with a lot of data), while the Macs have 1 TB hard drives, making them able to store a significant amount of data and files. These workstations are all set up with high resolution Samsung screens, making the visuals great. The workstations are arranged for groups with multiple seats all around the station. The interact wall is immense. The wall of screens seems to stretch over more than half of the space.  The 4k screen has recently been used to display medical models of the human body, allowing a class of students with  medical related majors to clearly examine all that they can. This screen adds to the high-tech lineup of equipment, providing an area for viewing detailed images. Although the room is filled with such great resources for students, the traffic has been very slow due to its very recent opening this summer. Not many students are aware of the space because it is still very early in the semester, and it is strictly for research and group projects. I see nothing but potential in this space and I constantly feel so privileged to work in such a collaborative and academic-forward environment. Although there has not been a large use of the space, our group project has had a chance to meet in the space and discuss our project’s progress.

Meeting with the group we took the liberty of using one of CURVE’s many workstations. Attempting to create an interactive 3D model of Decatur street during the height of the blues movement, Robert Bryant (a fellow SIF and graduate student at Georgia State University), pulled up the walkable model of the street he began in a game engine called Unity. He had about five or six buildings set up with a side walk. Although he said it wasn’t much, the street looked great! The buildings were so realistically 3D, and Robert had used an old 1937 map of the street to create a sidewalk with an accurate measurement of the actual street. The old map was great for all of kinds of information that will help us make the street as realistic and historically accurate as possible. We were able to see exactly where buildings were, in between the buildings where there were alleys, and fire hydrants. I think one of the most important, was where exactly theatre 81 was located. When discussing the progress and direction of the project we had decisions to make upon which direction we wanted the interactive part of the project should take. Should we all someone freely walk around and they can only interact with certain parts of the street that we want to explore, or should to be sort of like a movie where they are guided to separate places and then when they are there they are able to click on things to interact with it and therefore gain more information and knowledge of the subject.

Our main goal is to make the model and street as interactive and as game-like as possible in order to promote it to feel like more of a game and ultimately more fun than an educational tool. Therefore, of executed correctly as a player continues to play they are exposed to various historical aspects and information that they are kind of forced to learn something of the time period and its significance.

As we continue to work on this project, I am continuously challenged and shocked at the intelligence, dedication, and ambition of the project members around me. This project has repeatedly continued to excite me and reinforce my belief that gaining knowledge and learning is fun and essential to growth.

Alexandra Orrego