Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

Better.

I wrote back in November about a rough week. Five months later I can tell you how it all turned out. First, let's review, shall we? I totally bombed an exam in a very difficult and very important class. A highly praised academic paper of mine taking much effort to write was rejected by a conference. In one of my research projects, the wheels had just fallen off. All this happened in just a single week.

By God's grace and after hours and hours and hours of studying and homework problem sets, I made it through that critical class with a B+. I could get no lower than a B. This is my first grade in graduate school less than an A. And I couldn't be more happy about it. I'm just about a month from finishing my last theory class in my core curriculum. It's challenging. Not quite as bad as the monster from last semester — but still a great deal of work. Assuming I make it through I will be able to breathe much easier next year (my last year of coursework) free of these stringent grade requirements.

I revised and cut down that failed paper into a lesser form known as a Work in Progress. The same conference that rejected the original full version accepted this  shorter version. In fact, it also accepted a second Work in Progress I submitted discussing another project of mine. And so, in two weeks I fly to Paris to show both projects and rub elbows with academics and practitioners in the field of Human Computer Interaction. A few weeks ago I submitted a revised and expanded version of the original failed paper to a different conference more suitable to its content. I spent eight hours finishing it with a bad fever and chills. I'll hear whether it's accepted in about six weeks.

My problematic research project is now back on track after digging into its issues and finding solutions to difficult problems. I have essentially no time for it this semester. Working on this project will become my summer job.

More recently I met with some researchers developing a very capable wearable Brain Computer Interface. Don't freak out. It can't read your thoughts — just how excited you are and enough of your thought patterns to roughly direct a cursor up, down, left, and right. I had something of a brainstorm (ahem) in that conversation. My advisor kinda lost her mind (again. ahem.) over what I came up with. Hopefully we'll get to do something very cool with Brain Computer Interfaces in the coming year.

Today I got to meet the founder of Grasshopper. Not much is posted online about the company and its project. Read the first half of this article for a rough idea of what they're doing (don't miss the video links in the photo captions). The founder Ien is something of a kindred spirit. I found it especially encouraging to talk to someone that thinks like I do.

This madness I've gone and done remains incredibly difficult. But I'm feeling better about it.