Brandon Martinez

Undergraduate Computer Science Student at
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
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This website documents my summer research experience in the Parasol Labs at Texas A&M
Thanks to the CRA-W DREU program for making this internship possible


About Me

I was born and raised in the RGV (Rio Grande Valley) in Texas. I graduated from Thelma R. Salinas STEM Early College High School in 2016, while simultaneously receiving an Associates degree in Computer Science from South Texas College. I'm currently a senior at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

This is my third summer in Parasol Labs and I am excited to be back working with such a great group of people. Thanks to the CRA-W DREU program I will be conducting research here again. You can see the research I conducted in the summer of 2015 and 2016 on my CRA-W DREU 2016 website found here.

My LinkedIn Profile

My Skills












My Mentors


Nancy M.

Regent Professor,
Unocal Professor

Dr. Nancy M. Amato is Regents Professor and Unocal Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University where she co-directs the Parasol Lab. She is also Senior Director of Engineering Honors Programs in the College of Engineering, part of the CRA Board of Directors (2014-2017), and is c0-Chair of CRA-W (2014-2017). Amato received her undergraduate degrees in Mathematical Sciences and Economics from Stanford University, a M.S. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. Her main areas of research focus are motion planning and robotics, computational biology and geometry, and parallel and distributed computing.


Irving Solis

PhD Student

Irving has been a great mentor this summer. Irving often help us when we encounter a problem, as well as, help us think up new approaches to the problem at hand. Irving has taught me a lot about coding over this summer, he has the skill of making complicated task extremely easy.

Summer Project

Motion Planning is the problem of finding a valid path from a start to end configuration. As Motion Planning continues expanding into various fields, better methods of visualisation are needed for individuals with little to no experience in Motion Planning. This may sound facile than what it actually is. Motion Planning is a broad problem which requires research in order to properly implement multiple strategies with varying pros and cons. One major problem is that as a robot's degrees of freedom increase, the problem's complexity grows. Thus, the Parasol Motion Planning Library (PMPL) was developed.

Project Goals and Implications

The goal of this project is to develop a Test Suite designed to evaluate Motion Planning algorithms. By the end of the summer we want to provide a set of comprehensive problems that show the capabilities that PMPL has by running several scenarios in a simulator. Additionally, my team and I are also focusing on allowing different PMPL strategies to be used with different variables; gravity, friction, collision, etc, that could otherwise affect the planning process which Vizmo, the current GUI to view the final path after planning, would not take into consideration.
With the help of Irving and others in the lab, we strive to be able to perfect the simulators functionality and performance.


  • Learn the Parasol Lab's software tools for research including PMPL (for motion planning), VIZMO (for visualization), the simulator, and GForge (for group code collaboration).
  • Learn basics of motion planning, mesh files, and visualization.
  • Conduct testing and visual analysis of changes made.
  • Document improvements and optimizations.
  • Prepare and present a poster.
  • Personal Goals

    Through this project I strive to enhance my coding ability, improve my productivity and time managements skills, and produce an exceptional end product for Parasol Labs. Lastly, as past summers, I will focus on enhancing my research skills as I hope to one day conduct research of my own.

    Project Final Products

    Final Report
    Final Poster

    Weekly Journals

    • Week 1(May 30 - Jun 2)
    • This is my third summer at parasol labs and I am happy to be back working in the office with Dr. Nancy M. Amato and the graduate students. I am excited to be working on a project similar to the project I worked on my first summer here. I have gone through most of the crash course already and have been helping my fellow colleagues with their crash course. It was a good way to revisit the knowledge here at the lab. I cant wait to get started on my project this summer.

    • Monday
      -Departed to A&M form home.

    • Tuesday
      -Introduced to the grad students in the lab.
      -Created account for lab computers.
      -Received lab key.

    • Wednesday
      -Began crash course.
      -Began personal Website.
      -Read first two research papers.
      -Helped students with crash course questions.

    • Thursday
      -Met with Irving.
      -Checked out PMPL.
      -Continued working on crash course.
      -Finished discussion questions #1.

    • Friday
      -Read Papers for discussion #2.
      -Updated Personal website.
      -Finished discussion questions #2.
      -Met with Irving, Andrew, and Diane to review discussion questions.

    • Week 2(Jun 5 - Jun 9)
    • This week my team and I worked on creating an environment that would showcase the capabilities of a robot with Volumetric Rotational constraints. This meaning that the robot would be able to move freely through the environment, thorough all its degrees of freedom. We also met on Wednesday with our mentors and Dr. Amato to discuss the progress of our crash course and our assigned projects. This week was very productive and plan on continuing to work harder through the summer.
    • Monday
      -Continued working on crash course.
      -Met with Irving to talk about environment and object files.
      -Worked on getting familiar with object creation.

    • Tuesday
      -Finished Crash Course.
      -Mentors met with Dr. Amato and established project groups.
      -Began working with project group.
      -Dominated the world at Risk.

    • Wednesday
      -Met with Dr. Amato and Parasol team.
      -Learned the name of everyone, "The Name Game."
      -Had pizza courtesy of Dr. Amato.
      -Continued working with project team.
      -Watched Finals Game 3.

    • Thursday
      -Began creating the 3D testing Environment.
      -Ran through code to get familiarized with new checked out phone.

    • Friday
      -Finished environment.
      -Met with Irving to talk about the environment.
      -Implemented improvements discussed with Irving in the environment.
      -Worked on personal website.
      -Began set up for Finals Game 4.

    • Week 3(Jun 12 - Jun 16)
    • This week was very productive. Me and my team were able to get the 3D environment checked in tested with multiple strategies and also finish a 2D environment. Towards the end of the week we worked on getting the kuka robot to work in a 3D environment. We hope to finish that next week towards the begging of the week to be able to continue working on other tasks that will follow the kuka robot environment.

    • Monday
      -Simulated within 3D environment several different strategies.
      -Consulted Irving on this week's tasks and goals.
      -Began working on 2D environment.

    • Tuesday
      -Helped Mukalika and Diane with displays and computers.
      -Used Vizmo to determine roadmaps and paths given my planners.
      -Continued to run different strategies within the simulator.
      -Attended the CRA-W virtual town hall meeting hosted by Dr. Amato.

    • Wednesday
      -We completed "2-0" which is a translational 2D goal.
      -Started personal website aside from parasol theme and template.

    • Thursday
      -We attended the weekly meeting with Dr. Amato.
      -Mukalika presented her summer project.
      -Went to talk about paper, "Multi-Hyper Threating."

    • Friday
      -Coded with Irving for about half the day after lunch.
      -Calculated the degrees of freedom required for the kuka robot.

    • Week 4(Jun 19 - Jun 23)
    • This week my team and I worked on running several simulation on each strategy we were offered on our XML file. We began to understand how different strategies worked a lot better thanks to seeing how the robot reacted to different constraints and different values given. Afterwards, we also made progress with our kuka robot since we are now able to use it correctly in our vizmo environments. This allowed us to be able to work on new environments that focused on different parts of the kuka robot, its manipulator arm and its base. We hope to have a final product by next week mid week, and be able to continue working on out summer project.
    • Monday
      -Continued working with Iriving on kuka robot.
      -Set up to run different simulations the following day.

    • Tuesday
      -Ran multiple tests on 2D and 3D environments with varying strategies.
      -Documented and stored results.
      -Had lunch with team and Irving.

    • Wednesday
      -Completed tests and documentation.
      -Met with Irving about kuka robot.
      -Began working on kuka robot environment.
      -Attended Weekly Parasol Meeting where Shawna and Tim showcased.

    • Thursday
      -Finished environment that focused on kuka robot base and transitioning.
      -Began working on environment that that focused on the kuka robots manipulator arm.

    • Friday
      -Finished environment that focused on manipulator arm of the kuka robot.
      -Worked on personal Website.
      -Went to lunch with Diane and Mukulika.
      -Ran some tests with new environments to check validity.

    • Week 5(Jun 26 - Jun 30)
    • This week felt a lot more fast paces. We were able to work out several bugs in our environment and get satisfying results from our kuka robot. This week I also worked on putting together a report of planner and simulator performance for Iriving where I specified different strategy behaviors and bugs seen in the simulator. Doing this report helped me get a lot more familiar with the different strategies in the Parasol library, their pros and cons, and how they all can be applied to a variety of environments. I also got a refresher on LaTeX and how it worked and compiled since it is what I used to put together my report. Attached is a copy of my first draft for my report.
    • Monday
      -Worked on Kuka robot environment.
      -Helped Leo and Marcos troubleshoot their broken kuka robot arm.

    • Tuesday
      -Continued working on kuka environments.
      -Found out why kuka robot was breaking, (happened if obstacles were too close to kuka robot manipulator arm).
      -Made a new environment as a result and tested the motion planning strategies on it.

    • Wednesday
      -Helped Leo and Marcos design their environment since a bug was seen when saving environment files directly on vizmo, (any changes made to the environment file in vizmo would save the orientation and angles of obstacles differently).
      -Personal websites were checked at weekly meeting.

    • Thursday
      -Received report assignment.
      -Began testing freebody environments.

    • Friday
      -Ran simulations and noted stat files.
      -Finished report.
      -Worked on our weekly report and Personal Website.

    • Week 6(Jul 3 - Jul 7)
    • This week felt like it flew by but nonetheless a good amount of progress was made on the project. A lot of work was done to my website over the week, as well as, the summer project with Iriving. We continued making improvements to the kuka robot environment to try to showcase the capability of each strategy and have some solid animations from the simulator. Since different strategies work better for different types of environments we are still working on trying to showcase that through the simulator.

    • Monday
      -Worked on updating website.
      -Met with Irving for possible improvements for kuka robot.
      -Worked on DREU Report.

    • Tuesday
      -Went to fireworks show.
      -Had cook out with the squad.

    • Wednesday
      -Attended weekly meeting where Sascha presented about disassembly.
      -Got advice for Personal Website from Dr. Amato.
      -Worked on advice given for personal website.
      -Continued working on Kuka robot environment.

    • Thursday
      -Kept updating on personal website.
      -Finished the kuka environment and showed Irving the progress.
      -Finished updating personal Website.

    • Friday
      -Ran simulations on Environment. -Went over simulations to make improvements to the environment.
      -Discussed next step for project with Irving.
      -Prepared to begin report for kuka robot environment.

    • Week 7(Jul 10 - Jul 14)
    • This week my team and I began working together on a poster to present our summer work. We have a very early first draft and were a bit unsure on what to include so we are awaiting feedback from our mentor before we continue working on it. We also began working on a report for various environments which is due on Monday. I am close to finishing I just need to add some pictures of the paths as well as the path lengths and it will be ready by Monday. Overall we had a productive week.
    • Monday
      -Attended Weekly Meeting.
      -Tested simulator with car like robot.
      -Update website.

    • Tuesday
      -Updated XML for car like robot.
      -Continued working on tests with car like robot.
      -Worked on issues with xml file with Tim, Read, and Irving.

    • Wednesday
      -Scaled Robot for environment.
      -Made a less complex environment for early testing.
      -Added extra actuators to robot for different speeds.
      -Triangle robot was created for environment.
      -Began running tests with new robot and actuators.

    • Thursday
      -Ran simulations for car like robot.
      -Gathered stats for various simulations.
      -Received assignment for reports Due Monday.

    • Friday
      -Began running simulations for nine different strategies.
      -Added code to get path length from simulations.
      -Andrew gave us a script to run tests faster.
      -Went to Carney's with some mentors and friends.

    • Week 8(Jul 17 - Jul 21)
    • This week was very interesting and productive with our summer project. We had our first meeting where we got feedback on our poster and my team and I are currently working on making the suggested changes. We also finally calibrated the robot to mirror what happens in the simulator much more closely than before. After working closely with Irving to calibrate the robot, we made some videos to share the progress we have made.

    • Monday
      -Worked on personal website.
      -Attended weekly meeting.
      -Received feedback on poster.
      -Began running simulations to calibrate robot.

    • Tuesday
      -Made a scaled environment for the simulator of the 407 office to run simulations.
      -Began running simulations to calibrate robot with the new environment.

    • Wednesday
      -Continued calibrating the robot.
      -Worked on poster with my team and mentor.

    • Thursday
      -Continued running simulations and calibrating the robot.
      -Made a more complex query for robot.
      -Began filming robot videos.

    • Friday
      -Finished filming simple query and complex query videos.
      -Edited videos to show side by side comparison.
      -Worked on poster with team.

    • Week 9(Jul 24 - Jul 28)
    • This week has been very busy, as we are approaching our final week here at Parasol we are working towards finishing our poster for the symposium next week. This week we focused on getting our poster and report as close to being done as possible. Additionally, I attended a talk by Wookho Son on virtual reality in the workplace, which I really enjoyed. We are hoping to have our poster printed by Wednesday so we can have enough time to practice for our presentations on Friday.
    • Monday
      -Updated personal website.
      -Worked on group poster.
      -Worked on Final Report for project.

    • Tuesday
      -Continued working on poster.
      -Continued working on Final Report.
      -Retook pictures for group poster to better represent various examples.

    • Wednesday
      -Reviewed posters at weekly parasol meeting.
      -Made note of suggestions for poster.
      -Made appropriate changes to poster and emailed updated version to mentors.

    • Thursday
      -Began running tests for poster and report.
      -Continued working on Final Report.
      -Added statistics to poster.

    • Friday
      -Received feedback on poster and made changes.
      -Attended the talk by Wookho Son about Virtual Reality.
      -Showed Wookho Son our work in Parasol Labs.

    • Week 10(Jul 31 - Aug 4)
    • As the summer comes to an end, during our final week we have been practicing our presentation for Friday while adding the final touches to our Final Report and our Poster as well. This summer has been a memorable one, just like the last two summers, thanks to everyone I was able to collaborate with in Parasol Labs.

    • Monday
      -Reviewed Posters with Parasol in weekly group meeting.
      -Began working on suggestions given at meeting for Poster.
      -Got Poster checked by Dr. Amato with changes made from meeting.

    • Tuesday
      -Continued working on Poster.
      -Got poster checked with Dr. Amato.
      -Worked on suggestions given by Dr. Amato.
      -Worked on Final Report.

    • Wednesday
      -Worked on Report with Irving.
      -Continued working on Poster with team.

    • Thursday
      -Added final touches to Poster and Report.
      -Got Poster and Report approved.
      -Got Poster Printed and ready for symposium.

    • Friday
      -Attended Poster Symposium.
      -Departed from Texas A&M to return home.

    My Photos

    Use arrows at the top corners of pictures to navigate through gallery.
    Scroll lower for picture captions.

    Working On Crash Course
    Grand Opening Of Ye Star Chinese Buffet
    Grand Opening Of Ye Star Chinese Buffet
    Working On Robot Modeling
    Weekly Parasol Meeting
    Making Pancakes For NBA Finals
    Food From Peruvian Food Truck
    Hanging Out At The Pool
    Playing Risk
    Wendy's Stop During Fishing Trip
    Fishing Trip
    Sunset While Fishing
    Playing Air Hockey At Cici's Pizza
    Claw Machine At Cici's Pizza
    Cici's Pizza Arcade
    Taking A Break In The Office
    Enjoying Some Bahama Buck's
    Cooking Burgers For Movie Night
    Panda Express with Parasol Labs
    At Carney's with Parasol Labs
    Running Tests on Physical Robots
    Poster Symposium

    Contact Me

    Texas, US

    Email: bmartinez1100@gmail.com

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