“It feels like science fiction.”
This is how Matthew Camp, ’19, information technology (IT), describes his research into cutting-edge visualization technologies as a GGC student.
“It’s not 20 years in the future,” he said. “It’s here now.”
One technology is reminiscent of the holograms in Tony Stark’s laboratory in the Marvel movie series.
Using a variation of virtual reality (VR) technology called mixed reality, special goggles seem to project a 3-D image in front of their wearer. However, unlike typical VR images that immerse the viewer within a 3-D scene, the viewer can walk around the 3-D image and view it from all angles.
“It’s not exactly like Tony’s Stark’s holograms because you must use goggles to see the images,” Camp said. “But the effect is like his holograms in that the projection appears suspended in space as a true, stationary 3-D image.”
Camp and his GGC colleagues use the technology to visualize molecules. This is helpful to students as well as professionals who seek to better understand the 3-D structure of molecules, the angles of bonds between atoms and other features.
While this technology is used for simple images today, Camp envisions its use for much more complex images in the future. For example, data from CT and MRI scans could be used to create and project a 3-D image of a patient’s internal organs for physicians to examine, he said.
Camp’s other project arose from a selective Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, hosted at Lehigh University and funded by the National Science Foundation. Camp and his REU team taught an artificial intelligence (AI) program to analyze MRI scan data, distinguish a cancerous brain tumor from healthy tissue and then create a 3-D image of the tumor.
The technology shows promise – in only nine weeks, they taught the AI program to identify 85 percent of brain tumors.
“This technology will not be a replacement for physicians,” Camp said, “But it can be a useful, time-saving tool for diagnosis.”
Camp was invited to present a paper on the project at a national undergraduate research conference hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Camp didn’t originally intend to study such technological advances. He attended two colleges in the upper Midwest, initially as a mathematics major with an education minor. However, he found it expensive, and he didn’t have a positive experience with large, impersonal classes.
His family then moved to Georgia, where he heard about GGC’s small classes and affordability.
Once enrolled, he found a supportive environment where faculty took interest in their students. He found that he enjoyed his classes more. He also appreciated having real conversations with his professors and forming mentoring relationships that transformed his higher education experience – and himself.
“I’ve overcome my shyness,” he said.
He credits his professors for encouraging him and nudging him into research. They include Dr. Todd Lindley, School of Liberal Arts; and Drs. Charles Pibel, Evelyn Brannock and Robert Lutz, School of Science and Technology. Between their influence and an internship that introduced him to programming, Camp changed his major to IT.
However, he still has a love for mathematics and education – interests he puts into action as a tutor in the Academic Enhancement Center.
“I can see their growth,” Camp said of his students. “It makes me feel good to know that I’m making a difference.”
At GGC, Camp discovered a new enthusiasm for learning and for his future. He plans to obtain a job and work toward a master’s degree that will allow him to expand on his research interests. He foresees exciting possibilities.
Read more about the college, its student and alumni in GGC's Engage Magazine.