Meet Milo: The Intern Taking Qi’s First Big Step into VR

 

 

After much success of merging computer graphics and software with microscopy, it’s not surprising to find Qi’s next step into the future of cancer research…Virtual Reality (VR) (duh!)

Naturally, our first act toward this high level and carefully planned enterprise would be the sole responsibility of Qi’s very first intern. 

Meet Milo Szecket!

Qi’s VR Experience internship was created to provide a more immersive experience in analyzing tissue. We believe biologists can see more within a VR system than just looking at one screen. Milo was the perfect candidate that fit the youth, talent, and intelligence we were looking for to start this project. 

Although originally from California, he would spend most of his childhood living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the rest of his high school education currently at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Maryland, as a senior.

…So, Milo, what’s your story?

Well, I’ve always been interested in my dad’s work as a computer graphics designer and when an opportunity arose for me to participate in it while still sort of “doing my own thing,” I took it.

 

Tell us about yourself and why the interest in VR? 

The obvious answer is because VR is COOL! But more than that, I haven’t seen many tools being created in VR, except specific-to-VR stuff like vector field makers. 

The closest to a full program meant to actually do something in VR I have found is Kanova, a sculpting program that Foundry (a leading developer of software for media entertainment and digital design) is testing that looks really great. I think VR has a lot more applications to explore, and Qi’s VR Experience of interacting with the cells inside cancer tissue is certainly an interesting one that I’m excited to be a part of.

What’s the last thing you really geeked out about?

To be honest, it would have to be either this or the my robotics team. We are FRC Team 686, if you’re interested. I do data collection and analysis during competitions. 

What motivated you to choose QiTissue as your first VR experience?

It’s really the only chance I’ve had to work with VR, plus, come on. Photoshop for curing cancer? How cool is that?!

What would you like to accomplish on this project?

Ideally (and obviously) I want to end up with a usable VR interface for all aspects of QiTissue, even the 2D ones. More realistically, I’ll be learning Unity VR development for a while before we get to that.

What are your wins so far?

Well, I got Unity installed and running on the Vive, which was more of a feat than I’d like to admit. At this point, the furthest I’ve gotten is being able to pick up a specimen and turn it around and look at it. Currently, it’s still mostly setup, but I’ll be doing more very soon.

What are the challenges so far?

The first thing I wanted to accomplish is grabbing the specimen with both hands and resizing it. This has proven to be a bit of a pain, and by a bit of a pain, I mean no one that I can find has done it with the newest VR plugins for Unity. That will be the main challenge, I think. Unbelievable the lack of documentation for such a new technology.

Milo’s goals for Qi’s VR Experience will be to create a novel experience so people will like it and a new interactive and natural way to navigate a 3D landscape as opposed to a mouse, trackpad, or joystick.

Milo’s work will be the benchmark for our future endeavors to perfect this project. Look for more posts about his progress on Qi social media!

Qi Showcases a ‘Holy Trinity’to End Cancer & Diversity in Tech at KDAB 20th Anniversary Meeting

Fun in Firenze! Snapshots of KDAB’s 20th Anniversary Meeting


Elephants, Shrimp, and Programmers: OH MY! Qi Proves How This Unusual ‘Holy’ Trinity Will End Cancer

Michel Nederlof explains how apoptosis uses a programming process of cell death to fight cancer.

Did you know that elephants cannot get cancer? AND, the mantis shrimp has a unique vision system that can detect cancer! AND, programmers can wield code to ‘seek and debug’ and eventually destroy the “data” that cause the disease! Qi President & CEO Michel Nederlof presented these facts and Qi’s mission to resolve cancer at the 20th Anniversary Meeting of KDAB company, a world leader in software development, this January in Florence, Italy. 

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This ‘holy trinity’ of the elephant, mantis Shrimp and software programmers proved to be a fascinating topic to over 90 KDAB programmers who often wondered “What is this biotech stuff I keep hearing about?” and other news about the KDAB and Qi partnership. While cancer seems to be the elephant in the room for most casual conversation, Nederlof explained to the crowd of coders how the tusked giant’s multiple ‘TP53’ genes has special powers to fix cellular defects that can lead to cancer.

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Another species who unexpectedly and more recently joined the war on cancer is the mantis shrimp whose compound eyes and sensitivity to polarized light has helped researchers build cameras to find cancer cells.

“By combining programming, computer vision and 3D graphics, we can create a research application using code and machine learning to speed up the current process of finding how cells work and fight the disease. We can find a lot of inspiration from nature all around us if we look deeper. For example the elephant’s cancer fighting ability by having multiple copies of the TP53-gene, and inspiration from the amazing vision system of the mantis shrimp” said Nederlof.

(Check out ‘True Facts About The Mantis Shrimp and laugh until you see double or maybe triple.)


Spotlight: Why is Programming So Male Dominated?  Qi & KDAB Prompt Discussion About Diversity in Tech

Colleen Coll and KDAB Team engaged at special session during 4-day conference.

Women were the pioneers in software programming over 70 years ago. Today only 1 in 4 computing jobs are held by a woman.*

So what happened?

Qi’s Brand Manager, Colleen Coll, chaired this discussion during a special session in Florence, Italy at KDAB‘s (world leaders in software development) 20th Anniversary Meeting in January to discuss women and minorities in tech and solutions for diversity in the workforce.

When asked by KDAB President & CEO Mathias Kalle Dalheimer to present the topic, Coll was initially torn. With a background in marketing, she has only a few years in the tech field, zero experience in human resources, and just recently completed a course in learning to code. “Kalle thought it would be important to include my own experience and I know just from past conversations with colleagues, it is a subject that you cannot go into lightly without confrontation of biases, particularly within a white-male dominated community.” 

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Colleen Coll coloring image on KDAB/Qi’s nanoQuill Wall exhibit at Qt World Summit 2018 in Berlin.

With the help of colleague and Diversity & Inclusion consultant, Tara Hastings, Coll found sources from various publications and studies, including The Atlantic Monthly, Project Include, Elephant In the Valley, and Cultural Intelligence, to prep for the presentation.

The session was a win for both Qi and KDAB, engaging a large group programmers and administrative and executive staff — both men and women representing the Americas, Europe, and Asia. “The key takeaway from this experience was becoming aware of the unconscious biases we ALL have combined with open discussion from all who participated,” said Coll. “The session lasted 20 minutes longer than scheduled. To me, this proves that KDAB’s unique culture and open environment is a benchmark of how tech companies should be proactive in creating a diverse workforce.” And, because their is more and more evidence that prove that diverse representation achieves greater profits (McKinsey & Company) “…KDAB is set to be the game changer.”

(Check out The Atlantic Monthly’s video “How Did Tech Become So Male Dominated?”)

Cellulacrum Comes to Life in Bologna

Vernissage! The grand opening of Cellulacrum! L’arte imita la scienza in Bologna with Cellulacrum: Sacred Inner Landscapes exhibit and special presentation by Italian artist Elena Uliana, Qi’s Michel Nederlof and journalist Nicoletta Gandolfi.

This special 3-week exhibit brought hundreds of art lovers to view and awe the works of Uliana and Nederlof: Art imitating science.

This marriage of art and science materialized via a chance encounter in Berlin. Nederlof and Uliana met near a river bank where they discussed common aspects of their work: he goes deep into human tissues annotating cells with fluorescences while she goes deep into the human soul “surpassing those doors which separate the surface world.”

The Cellulacrum project displays images of human cells and tissues magnified under the microscope which show that there is a real world beyond the surface. “They want to communicate that there are real ‘landscapes’ of the soul, the inner landscapes of the exhibition’s title, similar in complexity to the environment that surrounds us, but very difficult to penetrate. To go beyond the surface, also suggested by the physicality of human cells reproduced on the canvas, it is enough to learn to listen, to want to know oneself better,” said Uliana.

Uliana and Nederlof are currently seeking opportunities to bring Cellulacrum to the U.S. and other countries.

Software Can Cure Cancer: Qi Presents QiTissue as Exclusive Biotech Keynote at Qt World Summit 2017

Qi President and CTO Michel Nederlof addressed over 1,000 software developers and experts as the exclusive keynote speaker in biotech at the 14th annual Qt World Summit 2017 hosted by the Qt Company and sponsored by Qi partner KDAB on October 10 -12.

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Nederlof and KDAB team Mike Krus and James Turner demo QiTissue 3D renderings at KDAB booth.

The summit was a gathering of business leaders, software developers, project managers and other influential members of the Qt global community to discuss latest trends, market opportunities, technological advancements and customer stories in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) industry.

Among a wide variety of compelling topics, including augmented reality (AR) in autonomous vehicles and innovation in the gaming industry, Nederlof presented Qi’s unique QiTissue software and discussed how it can analyze and visualize large 3D images with hundreds of color channels that allow digital image analysis of tissue architecture – a tool that can unravel the mystery of solving cancer.

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Summit attendees at Keynote address.

“We have spent a decade sequencing the human genome, what some may call a blueprint of life. But, as magnificent as it is to know all our genes, it is really just the beginning,” Nederlof explains.  “We still need a map to figure how all the parts are connected, how they communicate and what goes wrong in

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Qt interview outtakes. That’s a wrap!

disease.”

Qi was also showcased at KDAB exhibit booth displaying a 3D rendering of cancer cell images developed by KDAB. Qt’s booth featured a short video promoting Qi’s partnership and projects with Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine cancer research lab and more visuals of QiTissue’s fluorescent cell imaging. Qt ended the keynote with a special behind the scenes interview with Nederlof discussing Qi’s and Qt’s partnership and projects.