August 24, 2015
It has been quite the summer. It is difficult for me to believe that it is almost time to begin another semester, yet alone the first semester of senior year. I have helped my younger sister move to college and my parents have transitioned to new jobs. It has been difficult balancing family, friends, and work, but somehow it was manageable. It has been a summer of transition and adjustment, but it has all been for the best. Progress on the wheelchair user fitness application has not happened as I planned. Unfortunately, Professor Laskin (the Physical Therapy professor for whom my partner and I are making the app) has been preoccupied with other obligations that took precedence, so our communication with him has been minimal. I have corresponded with him recently, and we will plan to take up the project again when the semester begins and will discuss a new progress plan.
If anything, this project has taught me about the importance of flexibility and reinforced independent learning. Even though I thought I knew exactly how it would work out, I had to accept the fact that external situations do take precedence sometimes. Even though I did not accomplish what I had “hoped”, we were able to do almost an entire layout of the app with almost all of the screens. There is baseline functionality to navigate through the screens and interact with the controls, like the text inputs and buttons. This project has reminded me a great deal of my highschool experience because I was homeschooled during highschool. I have had to acquire resources for myself and teach myself how to create this app in the Android programming environment. Fortunately, I had a solid programming base in multiple languages which helped, but the learning curve was still steep. Every little thing I learned how to do was a tremendous victory. I spent days trying to get a “spinner control” also known as a drop down list to work. That right there was a huge accomplishment. Also, you cannot approximate color; you must enter specific RBG color values to make sure it is consistent on different devices. Just a word to the wise, what looks like deep burgundy on one device, looks like a brownish-pink on another. Those colors are totally not the same….save yourself time and enter specific values, do not pick random colors on the color wheel.
This coming fall semester, I plan to continue to modify it aesthetically, continue working on the fitness calculator, and create the integrated database within the app. I am excited to continue working on this project with the goal of having the first generation app ready to download in spring of 2016. Hopefully, we will be able to present it at the UM Undergraduate Research Day and at the American College of Sports Medicine Research Conference in Tacoma next year. I am looking forward to beginning a new semester, and I am motivated to finish building this app.
Lisa H. Morgan