Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Michael Eisenberg

Second Advisor

Andrzej Ehrenfeucht

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Jessup

Abstract

Science on a Sphere (SOS) is an increasingly common display at museums and planetariums all over the world. The SOS system consists of a large spherical surface about six feet in diameter upon which images and movies are displayed using four surrounding projectors. The three-dimensional surface provides a unique viewing experience to help visitors understand data such as global weather patterns, ocean currents, and mappings of the Martian surface. However, the current utilization of this device is lacking in interactivity. Some installations allow visitors to rotate and spin the displayed image, or select different data to view, but users cannot create their own images to display. This is where Math on a Sphere (MOS) comes in. MOS is a drawing program applied to a spherical surface with the aim of interesting the public in mathematical and programming concepts, engaging visitors at science centers and museums, and providing a new medium for creative expression. In the spirit of making this software easily accessible, our implementation is almost entirely web-based. In fact, the web application functions independently, allowing users to edit and test their programs while seeing the effects on a preview of the sphere, making the SOS hardware optional. The main focus of this thesis is the programming language developed specifically for the MOS project. This language was designed in the image of the Logo programming language due to its learner-targeted characteristics.

MOSVID.mov (104079 kB)
Video of the MOS software running on the SOS sphere

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