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VDSF Experience (and beyond!)

Published 01 March 2020 at Yours, Kewbish. 1257 words. Subscribe via RSS.

Introduction

After a good few days of questioning my sanity, I finally attended the Vancouver District Science Fair.

There, I presented my Audio Visual Random Number Generation project - more about that later.

Vancouver District Science Fair Taken from VDSF blog

Project

A full writeup can be found here.

My AVRNG innovates off past video TRNGS, incorporating an additional audio entropy layer. Using security video footage, I’ve created a true random number generator to generate encryption keys cheaply and easily. Repurposing scene detection technology, I detect movement / unique scenes in the video, and split the visuals apart from the sound files. The separate data streams are passed through a hash function, specifically the Skein function. The resulting ‘signatures’ are intertwined together, along with the least-significant-bits (or nanoseconds) of the computer clock at runtime. Due to inherent entropy in the camera, microphone, and clock sensors, the resulting algorithm is a True Random Number Generator.

By reusing what many individuals, families, and businesses already have, more people can benefit from an additional layer of data security.

In the future, I’m looking into creating a one-click interface for companies to constantly pipe video from security footage into the AVRNG using Webhooks, and continuously generate cryptographically secure keys for use in encryption of data.

Preparation

I’d been working since October 2019 on the AVRNG (there was a minor GCI break and because I had so much time, the project was pretty well prepared.

I’ll admit, the entire week leading up to science fair was an experience, to say the least. We’d gone up to Whistler for the days before, so I’d warrant that I wasn’t the only Transitionite speedrunning their backboard at 1000 the day of.

My public speaking skills have never been the best, but I guess talking about something you’re passionate about does help. I wrote a quick set of cue cards, but I didn’t end up having to reference them often, surprisingly.

A couple tips:

Design

I don’t like my header. I’m going to start off with that, because I had an existential crisis about the contrast between the dark blue and the cutout letters. (I don’t have photos but you can imagine it- it’s bad-)

Otherwise, my Canva skills came in handy, and if I do say so myself, it was a rather aesthetic display. In the future, I’m going to add some randomness symbols, perhaps a dice or other graphics. Compared to other boards, mine was rather bland and text-heavy, and I think that design is something I can definitely improve on. (Besides, another excuse to use Canva and flex my attempts at graphic design)

Disregarding the physical design, the experiment / innovation’s design is crucial as well. From what I’ve read, the scientific logic behind the project doesn’t matter as much in lower grades, but as a Senior, the scientific method does play a part. This is something I’ve got to work on in the future: creating a layman’s lab report to condense and present. Personally, I don’t think I did a good enough job addressing possible questions and confusing points during my oral presentation, though they were covered in the backboard.

Judging

Each display is judged by four judges, and in my case, they came in two groups of two.

I’m not going to expand on this a lot (imbadatsocialskillsandyallcantconvincemeotherwise) but the first set wasn’t very good - I was missing a couple speaking points that I addressed in questions later. The second set went a lot better (I innovated on my speech haha), and was an opportunity for me to quickly revise and adapt my speech. With more preparation (I didn’t speedrun my speech in 10 minutes alright), I think I’d have presented more effectively, but I’ll see when I get my feedback slips from the judges. Maybe I did alright. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Activities

With a couple other Transitionites, I headed to the Gamifying Global Warming workshop, where we explored the concept of gamifying and how we could apply this to global warming. My fellow Transitionites and I came up with an app revolving around the idea of taking shorter showers to reduce water consumption. (The app was called lim 5.3 + x as x->0+, if anyone’s wondering) The main idea was that the app would run in the background, detecting water noises and starting timers as it went. If a shower / toilet flush / dishes situation took longer than whatever goal was currently set (up to 5.3 min, hence the name), we’d guilt the user with sad statistics to the tune of ‘You used enough water to feed X families for Y weeks in Z country’. As well, we toyed with the idea of statistic graphs a la FitBit’s activity trackers. We came up with tonnes of ridiculous ideas, and it was a pretty e🅱️ic workshop.

Walking around to see what others had created was interesting to see - some teams had actual proper games / ideas - whereas we just made a time bomb. Gaming has always been a passion of mine, so learning about techniques for good gamification experiences was intriguing.

Awards Ceremony

this entire section is a flex and there’s nothing you can do about it

After our activities, we headed down to the awards ceremony. They announced student choice and handed out Rubik’s Cubes, holding an impromptu competition to solve the terrible cubes in the meantime while they compiled scores.

Transition did amazing, with lots of projects going through to the GVRSF, and I’m excited to say I’m one of them. (Somehow, even the students that spedran their backboard in the hallway 5 minutes before the fair got into GVRSF. We live in a society.) For the next bit, I’ll be working on improving my project, and all the associated cool things - time for more abstract writing!

Thank you VDSF and Langara for hosting the event - and thanks for the pin and cube (of which I will never use and instead hoard somewhere in my cabinets)

VDSF was an amazing experience, and I’m nervous but thrilled for the GVRSF (which will be at UBC - home territory). I look forward to seeing all the projects, and congrats to everyone who participated!
(Also what the heck, VDSF, where’s the Kahoot I was promised on the schedule? Years of Reach training, wasted!)

Currently

I’ve been neglecting Opus for a while to work on the AVRNG, but I’m going to begin working on it seriously after GVRSF (and perhaps in between now and then). I’ve decided to stick with Kivy, but that now entails learning the Kivy language and how the framework works. Can’t wait to get some time to fully devote to the project, but I guess we’re back to the science fair grind for now. Besides, the additional reflection time will allow me to do some more research on methods and app design principles, as well as look into other features and designs I’d like to implement.

Cite me

MLA: Ma, Emilie. "VDSF Experience (and beyond!)." Yours, Kewbish. n.p., 01 Mar. 2020. Web.

APA: Ma, E. (2020, March 01). VDSF Experience (and beyond!) [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://kewbi.sh/blog/posts/200301/

UBC citation style.

- Yours, Kewbish


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