Future Direction

Extended Features
Future Direction

Many of the features, animation and user control functions were confirmed to be accurate and helpful towards assisting Eileen Hebets' research. Looking ahead, there are many more scientific experiments that could be developed with enhancements to this project. The following is a list of such items that arose out of our discussions:

1 Animation Extensions

Currently, animation is limited to the right foreleg since the initial design was modeled after the Schizocosa Uetzi species of spiders. In other species of wolf spiders, however, courtship displays involve movement in both forelegs and may even involve walking. Therefore, as a first step, the Matlab GUI and OpenGL rendering should allow user control and animation of both forelegs. For the walking motion, further investigation needs to be done on both the mechanics of all 8 legs during movement, and on the background scenery changes that would be needed to make the walking simulation realistic.

2 Morphological Trait Extensions

Morphological trait extensions are further enhancements to the spider rendering that will enable a closer match to a variety of species of wolf spiders. Enhancements that are most immediate include adding the eyes and the chelicera to the head structure. Next is to add striping coloration on the head, thorax and abdomen.

3 Logging

Currently, the graphical user interface provides a means for the scientist to control movement and morphological traits. Thus, in the middle of an experiment, the user may wish to change a feature of the spider (for example, accelerate the speed at which the foreleg is moving). As an enhancement to this program, a logging mechanism could be provided which will track all actions performed by the scientist during an experiment.

4 Controlling FPS

To ensure consistent rendering rates among different architectures, more investigation needs to be done concerning the fps measurement. Ideally, if the fps could be set in the program, this will ensure the speed of the animation will be the same across all architectures.

5 Video Capturing

Video capturing is currently done by using a trial version of a program called snagit. Therefore, purely for the purposes of this report, all demos and screen captures were done by this method. However, the application of this project is to ultimately allow the scientist to capture video segments of the animation into an avi file for video playback. Thus, more investigation will need to be done as to the cost effectiveness of continuing to use snagit versus adding an enhancement to the current program, which will allow recording of rendered scenes from the 'Spider' window into an avi file. One possible approach is to pass parameter settings back to the Matlab GUI from the Visual C++ program through the plhs mxArray[] parameter (see mexFunction() for details). If this can be done, then a Matlab program can read in these parameters settings frame by frame and set it into an avi file through the Matlab movie2avi() built-in function.