For Yuhao Ma, research has been an opportunity to learn to handle open-ended problems that do not have clear, obvious solutions. Through his experience, Yuhao feels that he has gained experience and insight that will serve him as he approaches graduate school and, eventually, a career in industry. He recommends working closely with your mentor, not being intimidated by their status, and asking questions often. Yuhao also stresses the importance of maintaining excellence in both research and classes, and not letting either get lost. UROP is proud to recognize Yuhao Ma for the passion he has brought to his undergraduate research.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

My research focuses on using depth sensors to create collaborative, markerless augmented reality environments. I work with a team of undergraduates under the guidance of Professor Donald Patterson. By using an infrared depth sensing camera, we are able to scan and construct a live model of the environment and use that data to place users inside the same coordinate space. Users can then interact with a dynamic data representation such as a synchronized physics simulation or a visual 3D presentation.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I reached out to Professor Patterson in the beginning of my second year. We first talked about the traditional uses of augmented reality and I quickly became fascinated by the potential of AR in future applications as mobile devices and wearable technology integrate more sophisticated embedded sensors.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research is a great way for me to apply concepts I've learned in the classroom to real problems. It has taught me how to tackle open-ended problems that don't have a clear step-by-step process on how to solve.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite experience with research would be the moment when we hit an initial milestone in developing our system. After putting in months of effort into building the framework for the augmented reality system, being able to finally see the fruits of our hard work was very rewarding.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I plan on entering a Master's program after I graduate and working in industry from then on. Research has helped me towards this goal by giving me experience and insight into what awaits me after graduation. It provides a useful contrast with internship experience.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

I would recommend taking the initiative early on and getting in touch with a faculty member whose area of research is similar to what you are interested in. When youíre working with a mentor, make sure to ask questions when you need clarification. It can be easy to let research slip into the background with all of your other classes, but donít let it!

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '15 Ka Hei (Eric) Chan
Nov. '15 Timna Medovoy
Oct. '15 Soraya Davia
Sep. '15 Amanda Nili
Aug. '15 Soo Song
Jul. '15 Tian Harrison
Jun. '15 Rommel Santos
May. '15 Mariyah Saiduddin
Apr. '15 Angel Rodriguez
Mar. '15 Sarah Tang
Feb. '15 Jay Tolentino
Jan. '15 Yuhao Ma