McDonalds BoomBox - We're Lovin It!

The purpose of our investigation was to determine whether it would be possible to increase the sound pressure level (SPL) produced by a smartphone inserted into the McDonalds BoomBox. Several aspects of the BoomBox were examined to determine if further improvements could be achieved. Various prototypes were designed and experiments were conducted in which SPLs were measured and recorded for each prototype.
There were 2 main prototypes considered:

  1.  designs where minimal modification were considered in case the client wanted to maintain the original aesthetic appeal,
  2.  designs where one speaker was removed.

For each prototype, we took measurements 15 cm away from the horn that encapsulated the phone speaker along the central axis.  Experiments were conducted in noisy environments since the purpose of the McDonalds BoomBox is to be used in public.


This is a spectrogram of a song that was played at the CBC during an interview. On the left under "Without BoomBox" we see the spectral analysis as a function of time. On the right under "With McDonalds BoomBox" is the spectrogram of the song when the phone was inserted into the BoomBox. Notice that the colours on the right are much brighter and more saturated. This means that the SPL associated at those frequency components is higher (i.e., louder)


 Our report along with our experimental results and analysis is posted below.


Our team also developed an AR app using @UE4 so that the sound transmitted from the speakers could be visualized by holding a smartphone over the BoomBox.


Virtual Reality (VR) LeapMotion Interaction Activity - An application of first-year university mathematics

A group of approximately 10 undergraduates students from Namseoul University, South Korean will be visiting the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo at the end of July. The students will be participating in various workshops and activities, one of which will be hosted by our team!

Activity Description

This workshop was inspired by the tap strap wearable keyboard recently featured in the media It's a device that is placed over your fingers in which you can use hand motion and gestures to type on any surface. We will be abstracting this concept to create a set of finger gestures that can be used with a @LeapMotion controller in order to easily type in VR. We will be using Unreal Engine 4 and incorporating fundamental concepts learned in first-year university linear algebra, classic algebra and calculus classes.

Screenshot of tutorial using #UE4 and #LeapMotion for making typing in #VR easier and more natural! 

The student tasks will consist of modifying this setup from the English alphabets to the Korean alphabet. In the morning session, an overview will be provided regarding the requisite maths background material to tackle the problem. A live tutorial with the students will then be held to show them how to implement the various features in UE4 giving the students an opportunity to gain practical experience in UE4’s blueprint system.

The tutorial and project will then be made available to the @UnrealEngine community :)

Immerse Meeting 2017

The Immerse Meeting 2017 Conference took place on June 7 - 9 at Carleton University. Updates can be found via Twitter @GamesInstitute

Π ∩ ϟ presented the results of an experiment done at the University of Waterloo for a first year honors math class. Our work would not have been possible without Epic Games, HTC Vive, NVIDIA & Wellcome Trust. On behalf of all of us at Π ∩ ϟ, we humbly thank you for support :)

Gamifying Education

First year math student trying a linear algebra demo.

First year math student trying a linear algebra demo.

Learning STEM subjects can be challenging, especially if the material or problem of interest is difficult to visualize. We firmly believe that it is time to embrace the gamification of education because it enables people to explore with the freedom to fail and experiment.

Our team is working on creating bite size post-secondary STEM VR education demos - if you have an idea for a VR lesson, or want to get involved please contact us!

Virtual Genome Project

Team Π ∩ ϟ participated in an international experiment called the Big Data VR Challenge, hosted by Wellcome Trust and Epic Games this past April-July 2015. The purpose of the Challenge was to explore if the video games industry could help scientists interrogate big data sets in virtual reality (VR). Our group was selected to work in collaboration with Martin Hemberg, a computational genomics researcher at Sanger Institute. The task was develop next generation VR environments to interrogate and visualize genomics data sets, to be presented in July at Develop Brighton 2015.  

Team Π ∩ ϟ "presented an intuitive way to interrogate genomics data through the use of head tracking, using motion to produce colourful patterns that correspond to variations of genetic parameters."  -UE4 Blog

Our group is continuing collaborative efforts with Martin Hemberg post challenge, and we have extended our efforts by including Canadian genomics researcher Andrew Doxey from the University of Waterloo. The platform and tools being developed will be extended beyond genomics and applied to modern big data problems.

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