X-mas and festivities, including fatty liver syndrome, are soon to be enjoyed. And I think this is well deserved, for everyone in the Oseyeris team. It has been a crazy year, and we expect next year to be even crazier as we have 2 fully functional and award winning products being pushed out. I'm sitting with a form of pride for everyone in the team who have all excelled in what they do, and have all been able to keep egos at bay, to remain tight and working together efficiently throughout.
Between the James Dyson award, the media frenzy, the NASA space app challenge win, the immense leap forward in both hardware and software, a larger team, some more funds and speaking at TEDx, this sequence of overwhelmingly positive events have erased my father's passing away at the beginning of the year, and subsequent months of having to deal with hospital, funeral and other fees, dealing with family members requiring help, while studying and earning certificates in fields I deem important such as A.I, and running Oseyeris all at the same time. I would really like to add that I'm also blind, which doesn't make things easier, but the more you deal with adversity and come out of it unscathed, the stronger you get. And so I will omit using sight impairment as an extra ego stroke, but I feel I had to mention this as most think I might either be a spokesperson, or just some crazy dreaded guy with a black dog who appears to be technically savvy.
To put some things in perspective for what has become a really comprehensive product, Astreos, I just realised that all the research undertaken to represent the universe in the most faithful way, no cutting corners, is significant.
Significant because Astreos now has all objects available in the sky that even pro apps have, and more. Combining every space app and their features, I have found out that we have several features standing out, and to keep realistic goals in sight for the near future, i would also like to add what I think we should improve on.
First though, the spiel on Astreos.
if you look at any research paper or API borne out of astrophysics research, you will find a list of open source software having been used to materialise this. Below is a non-comprehensive list of such software used by astrophysicists:
• SuperNova db
• NASA Horizons
• NASA SDSS small body database
• NASA exoplanet archives
• 15 SatDat APIs
• Black marble
• Air temperature
• HYG database
• DSO database
• Open NGC database
• MWA Stingray radio telescopy database
• SpaceX launch/craft/capsule API
• Lothar radio telescope array
The above have all been curated, aggregated, cross referenced, compiled, merged, filtered and rendered accessible through a central server database that provides dynamic updates to all client apps. This means that when an exoplanet is confirmed and found, it will automatically be entered, its Cartesian coordinates generated, its host star associated, orbit computed using its available data, and when known, its geological/chemical properties compiled and served to every Astreos device. The same holds true for every asteroid/comet when new geometry is available, every spacecraft which mission updates are automatically filled with images into the central python based server side, when new black holes are confirmed, or new mission launches occur.
To do a recap of what Astreos contains in terms of information, with all objects having descriptive text, images with captions, geometry as well as textures is as follows:
• Stars (118k)
• NGC encompassing galaxies, open clusters, dar nebulas, and other peculiar objects (13k)
• Exoplanets (3.8k)
• All Messier
• 43 most massive black holes
Apart from the above, I have spent countless hours listening to videos of astrophysicists describing phenomena occurring in the skies, from planet types to the sun, the star categories, black holes, light speed travel and even a series dissecting sci-fi movies, and commenting on its realism to have a very much looking glass into this pocket universe and make sense of it.
I think obsession is the right word here, but it is actually really rewarding and fascinating, as Astreos is a blend of 3 different skill sets: big data, 3D, user experience. Glad to be obsessed about space.
Now that you have an overview of the above, I would like to put some penchant into what it actually means in terms of what needs to be done next.
Simply put, data is like Teflon being now used when its original application was the space shuttle's underbelly protecting it from atmospheric re-entry. This data is categorised, meaning that a semantic or vocabulary with unique words, co-variances and an actual lexical field has been wired up. This system can now be used to create a natural agent that can give answers to everything about space, in a restrictive word space (still about 34k words, bigger than the average chat bot system). I am hoping that with the NLP and RNN processes and structures I have learned about, the creation of this agent which we will call LEAH for (Light Electron Artificial Human) will come to life and be more of an assistive mentor/helper tool for both kids, amateurs, photographers and to a larger extent, astrophysicists who speak the lingo and know the numerous properties existing within the Astreos database.
This is for the purpose of leaving the monitor and entering a full dialogue based, Aliens Covenant style Mother/Father A.I which has full control of its system.
I find the Mother A.I to be the sexiest thing about being in control of your destiny in a complex and unforgiving world.
I know a lot of you may have actually been disappointed by Aliens Covenant, and I agree to a certain extent, as some of the dialogue made me feel like they had hired some porn stars to become star truckers with engineering degrees. Maybe that's not so bad, but it lowered the quality of the movie somewhat to a hollow version of its book counterpart, which itself was way more interesting.
as are all the other Aliens books, but I will synthesise all this and spare your reading to give you what I have learned from them:
An A.I system is there to help you achieve things faster, get to information faster, assess it with you, and diagnose. This system has sensors wiring the entire spacecraft or armour you live in, diagnosing it every fraction of a second and having a snapshot of its integrity at any time, knows which system to cut off when integrity is compromised, backup and redundancy systems give it a survival instinct, its sensor arrays and outer hull observational sub components give it sentient knowledge of the space it flies in, but its central and most prioritised objective is to keep the human at its core alive and well.
I find this concept beautiful, especially when looking at space as being our next conquest.
When it does come to visuals, Astreos has to blow everyone away, inspire them to look at space, or physics, chemistry, engineering, maths or simply writing about space. Inspiration comes from beautiful design. And we don't want to lack in any of it.
The data and all the properties ar there, now its time to put it literally into perspective.
I know Jake tells me it's already beautiful in its own right, and I'm sure it is. And I think we can achieve even better, to have a really high standard in 3D representation, faithful to what the sky is like, and how every object up there interacts physically.
So we are looking for a talented 3D shader to help us achieve this high standard, as we are all busy with other aspects of the app: myself on the dialogue modes and A.I, Chan with giving the smooth user experience, to get people to like playing with the app and remain on it to explore, Jake with helping with some of the more involved 3D maths which require visual debugging. So if you're reading this and are a shader programmer, the contact button is somewhere on this page :)
Design is not about aesthetics. It's about function revealing form. Form comes from beautiful thought put into design. What goes where, how an object might be always there, discreetly, and provide the best amount of information without screaming for attention and yet it's there. How control flow allows us to get somewhere in the best possible way, optionally the fastest way if the former is to be bypassed. Design is about utilising color, sound, touch in a way that gives us power into a task, understanding or need. I had spent my former life finding interfaces that gave maximum access in the least possible time, and a color had functionality, it wasn't simply because it looks good.
I want this applied everywhere in Astreos. In some ways, it's a multi dimensional canvas for an artist turned scientific, an abstract mind to start with who was given the tools to turn that abstraction to functional design.
Here I will mention my blindness, just so you can understand that this approach of looking into something we don't usually see as being a good one. If you take a piano player and put him on the bass for a while, the bassist will literally be blown away by some of the intuition transfer the pianist will express through his journey into a less familiar instrument. A judoka will give the jiu-Jutsu guy a run for his money because there are moves he uses which are not of his adversary's toolbox, and vice versa. This is why MMA is so popular, you aren't restricted to your echo chamber, you breathe every room in, and learn new methods from it.
And this applies perfectly in the intuition used by blind people in a sighted world.
This was a "moderately" long blog post, but I wanted to express my excitement and poise on one of our flagship offerings and share it with you.
Merry X-mas everyone, and do what you do, believe what you believe and don't let anyone prove you otherwise :)