Rich Media Plug-in(s) for the MindXpres Presentation Tool

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

With more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations that are created every single day, we are all familiar with modern presentation tools such as Microsoft's PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote. However, it is not difficult to see that most of these tools are based on the same essential ideas and thus share similar flaws and limitations. Our new MindXpres presentation tool takes a radically new approach to create, share and deliver presentations. By stepping away from current presentation standards and by designing our presentation tool to address the unfulfilled needs of the people involved with the presentations, we plan to make every single step in the process more enjoyable for both the presenter and the audience.

MindXpres separates content and visualisation, by providing a LaTeX-like language for the easy creation of content. This content is then automatically visualised by an HTML5 visualisation layer, which makes use of user-definable templates to provide a competitive aesthetic quality. MindXpres differentiates itself from existing slideware by providing some innovative features such as the plug-in architecture, extreme portability, support for multimodal input, semantic linking and navigation of information, non-linear traversal, a zoomable user interface, transclusion, interactivity, innovative ways of visualising specific types of information and much more.

The plug-in architecture of MindXpres relates to the fact that every visualisation component (e.g. text, image, video, bulletlist, or source code) is defined as an individual component or plug-in. This means that it is very easy to add new components and since the visualisation layer is entirely based on HTML5 and the possibilities are only limited to our imagination. We have all modern web technologies at our disposal including, for example, Flash, Audio, Video, JavaScript, HTML5 Canvas or WebGL.

 

plugin1plugin2plugin3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this thesis, the student will start by making a literature study on presentations and data visualisation, in order to suggest and implement a number of new plug-ins (visualisation components) for MindXpres. You could for example focus on needs that current tools cannot fulfil and conduct a small survey among teachers to help identifying new problems and requirements, which may finally lead to ideas for new plug-ins. The following list includes some examples of new plug-ins, but you are free to get creative and suggest your own ideas for plug-ins.

  • A component for visualising live data (e.g. from sensors or from the stock market).
  • 3D visualisations using WebGL
  • A 3D CSS image gallery like Appleā€™s Cover Flow
  • Interactive physics tools (e.g. for use in physics classes)

Contact: Reinout Roels (rroels@vub.ac.be)

Background Knowledge: 
  • HTML5 and its related technologies (JavaScript, XML, CSS, ...)
Technical challenges: 
  • Literature study on existing tools and visualisations. You could potentially complement this with a survey of frequent PowerPoint or Keynote users. The goal of this step is to identify some problems with existing or lacking visualisations that you can potentially improve.
  • Design and implementation of some of your ideas as plug-ins for our MindXpres presentation tool. The number of components that will be implemented depends on their complexity and your progress. 
Academic Year: 
2016-2017