My final video is posted on my server, in documents!


Project Keynote Presentation

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Project Summaries

Through the course of this independent science research class, I had many opportunities to go through various projects, familiarizing myself with new technologies and fields of study as I slowly approach graduation.

Music-Dementia Project

As I volunteered at the elderly day-care center in Japan, I was exposed to various situations on the severity of the lack of support the elderly have. Compared to the significant increase in the numbers of the elderly, the numbers of volunteers/caretakers are in shortage. Understanding this situation, I thought one task I must take part of was assisting the citizens in need. At HPA, I was introduced to the NeuroSky Headset that measures brain activity with research-grade, noise filtering, and EEG biosensors.

I composed a study that looked at the therapeutic effects of music on dementia patients. I finally displayed it in an excel grid format to make data comparisons.

After the first visit, I discussed with the organizer of the day-care center to increase the clients’ exposure to music. A month later, I returned to the day-care, to once again conduct the two types of tests on the same clients. Although the duration of a month was a very short time period, the clients presented with an improvement of sleep, and began to show positive reactions. Some patients showed a great smile that they had never showed before. I brought this project back home in Fukuoka, Japan, where I was originally inspired. Similar responses were seen, with the patients showing especially higher levels of gamma waves. (Which is related to the cognitive processing component of the brain)

Cognitive Activity (Morning vs Night)

People have times of the day in which their cognitive activity is higher as opposed to other times of the day. Therefore, optimal study is more effective within a certain window of time. This study was conducted to display individual patterns in cognitive performance to find the times of the day that people are most alert, eventually corresponding to the performance with learning tasks.

In this study, I asked the subjects (boarding students) to take a survey to rate their stress level and the total hours of sleep they had on the night before. Using a visual test for analytical data, I simultaneously recorded their brainwave using the NeuroSky Brainwave Visualizer Application. Similarly to my music-dementia project, I used the data from the application, and converted the xml format data into an excel spreadsheet. Instead of looking at all ranges of brainwaves, the gamma waves were specifically looked at, as it relates to the students’ ability to achieve the same performance with or without much exertion.

Overall, the majority of the people presented with better analytical scores of the visual test in the morning, and higher (high + low) gamma levels in the morning. The high school students I tested performed better in the morning as opposed to the night. One interesting data that I found was that 91% of the people stated the survey (I asked before the test) that they were in fact a “night person”. Thus, I was able to prove their beliefs wrong.

Robertson Sound Audit

My first project that I worked on was the sound audit of the Robertson’s dormitory. Living in the dorm with 30 other girls and boys, there are constantly sources of noises to distract one another during study hall and in morning when one desires to sleep in. I thought, what is a way in which the sound produced in the hallway could be absorbed, to create a more comfortable environment for the students? As I looked into soundproofing companies, in general it was described to be an environment that prioritizes the interaction between the person and the room acoustic comfort that contributes to the human well being. Theses statements generally back up the idea in which there is a correlation between effective studying and room environment. I had a nomad and a filter placed in my dorm room for the duration of one and a half quarter, and I did a weekly analysis of the status of the dorm using the server. On top of that, I used a program called fuzz measure, that swiped the room’s ability of sound decay as it releases a high to low decibel sound. At the end of the sound-analysis period, I re-measured the filter that had been placed in my room. The filter started out to be off-white, although by the last day it appeared to be more charcoaled colored. As the filter was placed beside my open window, it shows how much vog, dust, and other particles enter and leave the dorm rooms every day. In Japan, there is a problem with the high amount of PM 2.5 that is present in the atmosphere. It causes great trouble with people’s lungs and heart conditions. As we discussed about it in AP Environmental Science, in Hawaii PM 2.5 does not exist at a high frequency. However in locations such as central Asia, it is a very concerning problem. It turns out that the particles existing all over the room caused a decrease in the quality of the sound as well. It turns out that comparing the initial and the final weight of the filter, there was a 0.12g difference, presenting the accumulation of particles in the room. (This is unhealthy)

Blinking Test – Conscious vs Unconscious

I was also given the opportunity to get in contact with a HI-SEAS member, in order to get a better insight into professional cognitive research. According to them, they are using a cognition application from Joggle Research in which as 8/10 research that are publicly available through the Application. The purpose of the test is to see if one is still sharp and on top of his/her game before going out and doing critical activities such as EVAs (Extravehicular Activity). Before going out on an EVA, they run through the cognition tests to ensure their judgment is not slowed or impaired in any way (i.e. Lack of sleep, illness, etc..). This information inspired me to continue my cognitive research using the NeuroSky headset, as I am familiar with the program the most. The test consisted of looking into how being conscious of your actions may make a difference in the behaviors. Starting out simple, I started with a blinking test. First, I measured the amount of time the subject blinked over a time frame of 2 minutes, without any information given to them. Then, I asked them whether they thought their act of blinking was too fast or too slow. Once they were conscious of their blinking, they will attempt their blinking to be either faster or slower than it is. In order to make sure of the effect of consciousness, I replicated the experiment multiple times. Over the course of a couple weeks of study, generally the subjects were seen to blink more in the given time frame when conscious of their action.

Goals, and what I would like to leave behind:

Within the short two years that I had at the energy lab, I was given countless opportunities and inspirations given to me by students and teachers around me. What I would like to do , is to have a similar effect on other students younger than me. Although in the EEG group there is only one rising senior, it would be great if she could use similar techniques that Alina, Caylin and myself had taught ourself over these two years. I would like to teach other students the method in which I converted the values found from the Neurosky headset to make the visually representative graphs. In college, as I am majoring in neuroscience, I would love to be able to conduct more studies, connecting our behaviour with outside factors.


Week 31 Summary

This week, I decided to continue the test on how being conscious of your actions may make a difference in the actions that people do. I started out simply with a blinking test, using the neurosky headset. I first recorded their normal blinking over a time frame of 2 minutes. Then, I asked them if they think their blinking is either too fast or too slow. Once they were conscious of their blinking, they started to either speed up or slow down their blinking. Just to make my phrasing of the words not affect the outcome too much, I tried the test multiple times with varying phrases to see which is the best. Other than the data, I focused on constructing a great visual aid, testing with various presentation methods. This way, I will be able to determine which presentation methods would be suitable in various situations.



Today, in class I continued experimenting with presentation skills, and I especially looked at the bar graphs. This one is slightly harder to see the value at each time interval since the bar at each time slightly overlaps with the bar at near times. Therefore, I found this presentation method to be slightly inconvenient when projecting an accurate set of data. However, as a whole, if one is looking at the overall data it is easy to see when the person blinked the most, and the interval in which blinking was not so frequent. Perhaps in such situations as powerpoint presentations where the overall view is important, this presentation method could be useful.



Since there are not that much time left until graduation, I decided that during the class period I would explore various methods of presentation, in order to have the most accurate presentation of the data that I collected. Here, I chose the bar graphs with the area presented in the background. It shows how as the time increases, the frequency of blinking increases. However, the pressure in which the eye lids create while blinking becomes less. As one becomes more conscious about blinking, instead of having strong blinks at little frequencies, one begins to have softer blinks at greater frequencies. Instead of focusing on each blink, they become conscious of how many times they blink in a certain period. It is interesting to see that this data accurately portrays the data that I was attempting to show. I have never used this type of presentation, although it seems to be a pretty interesting one.



I had my AP Psychology test this day, so I could not come to class!


Week 30 Summary

This week, I began testing how being conscious of your actions may make a difference in the actions that people do. I am going to start out simply with a blinking test, using the neurosky headset. I first recorded their normal blinking over a time frame of 2 minutes. Then, I asked them if they think their blinking is either too fast or too slow. Once they are conscious of their blinking, they will start to either speed up or slow down their blinking. Just to make my phrasing of the words not affect the outcome too much, I tried the test multiple times with varying phrases to see which is the best. Once I got a certain phrase down, I used this very phrase with all of my subjects. I only got to go through a small population of subjects, although next week I would love to get through more. I would like to try a new behaviour other than blinking, such as sitting down, standing up, etc... I would also like to see how easily behaviour can be influenced, by behaviours by people in the surroundings.



Today, I tried a new way of presenting the information. I did a test on a subject, the first one without letting her know what the test is going to be about. Therefore, the first graph represents a time-lapsed graph of unconscious behaviour. In the second trial, I slightly mentioned the idea of blinking, without actually explaining that the test was going to measure the amount of blinking. i talked about how dry eyes can often lead to a greater frequency of blinking. This way, the subject will think more about blinking unconsciously, and possibly actually blink more in the test. The second graph presents that the subject blinked a lot more, as opposed to when the subject had not been conscious of the behaviour of blinking. Again, this presents the importance and significance of the idea of being conscious of your behaviour, and how this can affect it.



Today, I ordered a kit called 23andMe, in which analzes DNA samples, in order for us to learn more and explore our DNA. The technicians use the Illumina HumanOmniExpress-24 format chip that consists of a fully custom panel of probes for detecting genetic variations. This allows us to maximise the number of ancestry features as well. In my Ap Biology class, we did some studies of genetics and as we did the PCR lab, I figured out that my phenotype was a + / +, which is very common in asian people. It is interesting to see the results for me, as I am a mixture of two varying races, and it is interesting to see the world map of my ancestors. This kit finds out what percent of my DNA comes from populations around the world, ranging from East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and even more. My plan is to send out my DNA as soon as I receive the kit, so I can describe on this weblog the amazing results I found out.



I had a doctor's appointment, so I was not at class this day.


Week 29 Summary

This week, I worked on the brain component of the sound study. I only got to look at the results of myself, however this week I would like to see if the results I saw were also consistent in other people as well. I am thinking of first testing the people in my independent period, although if I begin to see interesting results I would like to branch out and test the people in my dorm. I am also thinking about testing out possible confounding variables, just to make sure my tests are mostly valid. Converting the data into charts are very time consuming, although it seems to be a lot better to compare the results with charts as opposed to numbers. I am excited to post more charts next week, and try out some various methods.



Today, I spent the whole independent science class converting my data into visual charts. This way, the data will be able to compare easily.



Today, I tried out various ways in which I could represent my data. In my last graph, I looked into representing the attention level using the "attention" values fluctuating up and down over time. The spikes were used to determine the blinking times in the duration of the study. The brainwave set records such values as alpha, beta, blinking, attention, meditation, etc... I believe that it would be interesting if I can see the correlation between attention and meditation. I am still coming up with the study that may possibly show the correlation values, although at this point I think placing the subject in a calm room ( not too many objects placed) with either classical or slow jazz playing doing the blinking attention test I did last class, and comparing it with the results of my data in a regular room would be interesting to see.



Today, in independent science class, I began my testing. So the first chart represented shows the elapsed time view of the attention values. The spikes show the blinking, and the overall view of my friend's consciousness. The second char represents my friend's attention without any words being said. As I have slyly reminded her about her blinking, she became more conscious of her actions and her attention level rose. This is interesting, to see that the brainwave headset recorded just as I had hypothesized. For the next few classes, I will try to do it on more students to test out the validity.
With Attention
Without Attention


Week 28 Summary

I have decided to begin a test next week, on how being conscious of your actions may make a difference in the actions that people do. I am going to start out simply with a blinking test, using the neurosky headset. I will first record their normal blinking over a time frame of 2 minutes. Then, I will ask them if they think their blinking is either too fast or too slow. Once they are conscious of their blinking, they will start to either speed up or slow down their blinking. Just to make my phrasing of the words not affect the outcome too much, I will try the test multiple times with varying phrases to see which is the best. Once I get a certain phrase down, I will use this very phrase with all of my subjects. Starting small with my classmates, I would like to test out my friends at the dorm.



In today's independent science research, I began thinking about a new project. For the longest time, I have been wondering about the association between blinking and other behaviours. When I was in elementary, I realized some people blinked more than others. Of course it had to do with the dryness of the eyes, but what if there were associations with concentration, meditation, etc..? Can it change the amount of times you blink? Personally, when I am more conscious about blinking, I feel as I blink a lot more. Being conscious of my behaviour seems to always change the way I think or act. This week, I was doing a research paper for ap psychology on mental disorders and elderly suicides. The outcome of the experiment had been that many of the elderly who had been conscious of their state of mind and had attempted to reach out for help had successfully prevented themselves from committing suicide. However, the ones who either did not want to admit or did not accept the fact that they had anxiety disorders, etc.. were the ones that ended up to end their lives. This made me realize the importance of awareness in the behaviour, and how this portrays the way they act.



In today's class, I looked more into the Joggle research that the HI-SEAS crew has been using in order to In short, Joggle Research extends its legacy of producing high precision cognitive tests for high profile academic research such as the recent Mars 500 space flight simulation mission and tests performed by astronauts on the International Space Station. These applications have been used by top 25 research universities in the United States, several branches of the United States military, Fortune 500 companies and several agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation including aviation and trucking. The Joggle platform is currently being used to design cognitive tests for future space flight studies.
Some features that the Joggle Research contains, are software designed to get high precision, cognitive tasks designed for a range of individual performance abilities, secure facilitation, automatic data upload, and most importantly easy management of studies, staff and subject and result data. -> This may in some methods be better than the neurosky headset.



I had to attend an appointment, therefore I was not at class!


Week 27 Summary

I got an email back from the HI-SEAS members. According to them, the program they are using to assess their cognition is an App from Joggle Research. They said I should be able to find it in the App store somewhere. 8 of the 10 tests that they do are also publicly available through the App, so you should just be able to get it and try it out. The purpose of the tests is to see if you’re sharp and on top of your game before going out and doing critical things like EVAs (from what I understand). I think the idea is that before you go out on an EVA, you run through the Cognition tests to ensure your judgement is not slow or impaired in any way (i.e. from lack of sleep, or illness, or some other reason). With us here at HI-SEAS, the application is a bit different. By having us do the Cognition tests once every two weeks, they can get an idea of whether our mental processes get sharper or duller over 8 months in isolation.
Being at LA right now, I am simply excited to talk to other neuroscience majors, and see if they are using any application or softwares for their independent projects. For projects to work on in the last few weeks of school, I would love to find some inspiration.