Author Archives: Reynaldo

The Virtual Sandbox By Reynaldo Cabral

During our childhoods there comes a time in our lives when we wish we could have the ability to enter video games. I went to a skateboard convention back when I was in high school, and there was a section that had a beta testing on the Oculus Rift. I was able to get the Oculus on and the Staff had put the headset on my ears. The vision was blurry so it threw me off from feeling the reality aspect, but the sound and movement sensor were executed properly. When the video started I was able to move my head around, to the point that when I had moved, the picture move with me without delays to throw me off of the sense of being in a virtual world. The sound of my surroundings in the Oculus made it so that I was able to hear the skateboards as if they were right under me and could hear the wind passing through me. I was also able to hear the voices of the other skaters in the video from where they we standing as if they were actually there. However, the blurry visual images threw me off from feeling the reality in the Oculus. Virtual reality can be the same as reality for the brain but it would all depend on how much we can trick the brains senses so it feels like it is reality. In this essay I explore the relationship between virtual reality and the brain, and I argue that the brain processes virtual reality like a dream.


Virtual reality is the ability to leave reality and enter a world simulation that is called a sandbox that our minds interpret as a dream. According to Ed Baig “Virtual reality can help overcome fears”(Baig par. 3). In this sense, with the sandbox, we are able to create a simulation of our biggest fear and overcome it. An example of this is when Ed Baig mentions, “my brain was tricked into believing I was suspended high above the ground”. Baig creates a world simulation of a wooden plank high up in the air and he was standing right on it. He was using this to help him with his phobia of heights. Paula, she does not like talking about her age, she is currently occupied as a Hairstylist, she has graduated from high school and had gone to college in the Dominican Republic and again in the United States, she is my mother. I asked her what does she think virtual reality is in her own words, after having to explain to her what it was and what it can do. She replies “Virtual reality will be another way for kids to leave the real world, and forget about their studies and continue to rot their brains on video games”. In my mother’s opinion she’s always hated games and believes they bad for the brain, but she had never bothered to do research on it. Virtual reality needs to use the brain’s sense against itself to trick the brain to think what it sees is real. These main senses that tricks the brain are eyesight, tracking, and sound.


To begin, one of the senses needed to trick the brain is the eyesight. Showing a person an image and telling him or her it is real and making it so the brain can take the information of what the eyes see to believe it. The content must be in a 3d visual aspect and in a high quality, as I mentioned in the beginning when I tried the Oculus from the skating convention the 3d aspect was there but the image was really blurry making it hard to trick my brain into thinking it’s the real world. Throughout the experience I was trying to get my vision to focus on the image, but it was impossible to get it to focus because the lenses from the Oculus were to close for the eyes to get a focus on the image. The advantage of being able to trick the brain on what it sees would be able to make it believe that’s it’s in an actual place either high up in the air for people with fear of heights or in front of an audience for people with speech phobia, to be able to overcome their fears. The disadvantage of tricking the brain from what it sees will be the ability to tell the difference from reality and virtual reality.


Furthermore, the tracking movement sensors of the Oculus is a necessary part on the changes of what we see in our field of vision. In the convention when I tried on the Oculus, it did not track my eye movement making it a steady picture of what’s in front of me, no matter where I looked in the video it stayed the same. The tracking of my head movement was executed perfectly. There were not any delays when I was moving around. I decided to remake the experience I had with the Oculus by buying Google Cardboard, it is a cheaper version of the Oculus but with this version I am able to use a phone with an app. When I tested it, I notice that it used the sensors of my phone to track the movement of my head and it was spot on. I let my little sister try on the Google Cardboard so she could get a sense of what virtual reality is, her name is Arlyn, she is 15 year old, and a high school student. I asked her what did it feel to use the Google Cardboard and experiencing virtual reality for the first time, she says “It gets me nauseous when I turn my head, my brain feels my movement and it sees the other, it’s hard to focus on the image in front of me I end up seeing double.” She also told me that when she moved her head it seems that the virtual reality was moving faster than what she was trying to. The brain tried to make sense of her movement while it was feeling one thing and seeing the other making it overload. Tadhg Kelly tells us, “If you turn your head and look over there, you’ll notice a slight discrepancy, and your brain will feel it”(Kelly qtd in Manjoo par. 10). What he says is just the same as what my sister felt when she was feeling one thing and seeing the other on the Google Cardboard. On the Oculus I tested at the convention I notice that there wasn’t any peripheral vision, it was dark on the sides and all you could see was the front as if I was looking through binoculars. The advantage of being able to trick the brain with movement tracking is that it make the person wearing the Oculus feel more into the virtuality and believing it’s real. The disadvantages of this would be if not performed correctly it can make the brain feel nauseous and out of place.


Lastly sound, next to our eyesight, plays a major part in tricking the brain. Our brains use the ears to listen to the sound of our surrounding to check what’s around us and to hear where might something or someone be, to tell if they’re in front of us or behind us. The Oculus I tried on did not have their own headset built into it but they put some on me. The sound was as if I was actually there. I could, in a sense hear where everything was at. For instance, when, the skaters started moving I could hear the skateboard under me rolling on the floor and also hear the other skateboards from the other skaters. I could also hear the leading skater voice sound more distance than the once that were more closer to me. The sound helped into tricking my brain that I was actually there. The advantage of the sound is that the Oculus can fake the surrounding sound making it feel that’s in the actual place and not just a desolate room. The disadvantage would be that the sound could be out of sync and throwing the person out of balance from what he sees and what he is hearing.


Using our senses, visual, movement tracking, and hearing, we are able to throw the brain into a sandbox. The brain interprets the sandbox as a dream, while inside you are able to do whatever you want, being able to create and imagine anything as if it was a dream. There have been other virtual reality technologies, like VFX1 VR, Jason W Ellis tells us that, “technological artifact from the heady days of the 1990s and the beginning of widespread adoption of the Internet”(Ellis par 1). The VFX1 were released a generation too early and it seems that the project got picked up by Oculus VR, LLC in 2011 it wasn’t released publicly until 2014. In the time gap between VFX1 and the Oculus, technology has advanced tremendously to its best abilities and it has implemented tools that now a day is considered an essential for our daily life. In the future virtual reality will end up as a daily need, armies might use it to train soldier, chef will use it to practice cooking, and so forth. The way we might end up thinking will change, most will take it for granted and others will use it to make meet people and make friends. Technology will grow and get better in time but to let it consume, and control our minds is up to us.



IMG_20151216_080439 IMG_20151216_080518 IMG_20151216_080533




Work Cited


Baig, Ed., and TODAY USA. n.d. “Virtual reality can help overcome fears, prejudice.” USA Today, n.d. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed December 10, 2015).


Cabral, Arlyn. Personal Interview. 09 of December 2015.


Dr. Jason W. Ellis. “2 Days Left on VFX1 Headgear Virtual Reality System eBay Auction”. Dynamic Subspace. August 3,2009. Web. 13 of December 2015.


Manjoo, Farhad. “If You Like Immersion, You’ll Love This Reality”. Section B. LexisNexis Academy. New York. The New York Times. April 3, 2014. Web. 11 of December 2015.


Tolentino, Paula. Personal Interview. 11 of December 2015

Computer Engineering By: Reynaldo Cabral

Reynaldo Cabral

Professor Ellis

English 1101



Computer Engineering

My name is Reynaldo Cabral, I am a student at The New York City College of technology, CUNY (City Tech), and I am a computer hobbies. Inspired by my interests, I am pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering. My degree is offered in conjunction with the Electrical Engineering department at City College’s Grove school of Engineering. I plan to transfer City College and switch my major, because City Tech does not have the program that is going to drive me to my success. Once I graduate I plan to obtain an internship at Microsoft as a Computer Engineer, which will give me a strong foundation on which to build my career. The reasons I am going for this degree are; when I was really young I was able to see the inside of a desktop, I love using computers and disassembling them that I am interested in working on them, this major pays a good amount of money that is necessary for our daily life. In this essay I will elaborate how this major became an interest to me and when did it start, I will also explain what happened when I was young and was able to see the inside of a desktop, and why the money that I will gain from this is my biggest concern.


Computer Engineering is about designing hardware, programming software, and assembling computer parts. Also it includes math and electrical engineering (City College 148). In the College Catalog, it says that I can gain a position on programing computers, computer assembling and computer maintenance. From the Catalog I learned that a lot of companies are offering jobs like Apple, NYPD, MTA, NYC Transit, and a lot more (City Tech 213). I was surprised to learn that NYPD offered a job for this major, and also that Computer engineers also work with programming. I thought that programing was only part of Software Engineering. City Tech Cuny College is the college I am in right now. In it I am going for the major Computer Engineering Technology, but I want to change to Computer Engineering in which I know they sound the same but they are not. I have done my research and I found out that Computer Engineering Technology only teaches a drop from the well of Computer Engineering. Also a Computer engineer technologist worker works under a worker that has a bachelor’s degree on Computer Engineering. I want to be above and be something greater and not under someone else and be less than them.


When I lived in Dominican Republic around the age of 4 or 5 I had the splendid idea of putting gum in the optical dive believing it would create a CD out of the gum and have a bubble gum game inside. My dad had to open the desktop and remove the optical drive to put in a new one. I was able to see the parts of the computer and since back then there was not a thing called Gaming Computers like we have now a day. I remember that it did not have a video card, the motherboard had it built-in, and I also remember the RAMs inserted into the motherboard slots, the fans and the CPU. Seeing all these parts was like seeing paradise. Since then I wanted to build my own. From back then I remember seeing my dad build his own computer as well in which encouraged me to build one of my own. While I was growing up I have been doing research on which career will lead me to getting closer with computers and being able to construct my own. 13 to 14 years have passed since that day and I am 18 years old now and I have finally built my computer, I made it mostly for gaming. This was one of my goals and completing it has been a dream come true. I cannot even describe the joy that I felt building the desktop, connecting it piece by piece knowing that if I connected something wrong the computer would shock the motherboard and rendering it useless. Knowing this risk made it more challenging and more rewarding after it was done, I felt like I won the marathon, or that I scored a goal and won the world cup for soccer, it was the greatest feeling of my life. It also felt like I was filling in the empty hole in my heart. Now I must move on to my second goal that is to build a fully functional robot with an self learning A.I. installed in it, teach it to help humanity, and to finish what I started.


I was always told that if I go for a major that earns me a large amount of money, however if I am not committed to the work needed for this major, I will be miserable for the rest of my life. There is also another saying that is being said a lot now a days, is if I go for the major I enjoy doing I will never find a job offering for my major. I believe that it is a lie. I have met plenty of people that got a job for what they studied hard for. This is why I am going for Computer Engineering because it intrigues me. I find it joyful when I am taking devices apart or building one. I know that I will find a job for this major as soon as I finish getting the degree. Engineering is the future; we are designing its outcome. Engineers create to help people live more comfortably with their environment. I believe computer engineering is going to be at the top. Even now that we are starting to digitalized everything and placing them on the internet for easy access, Later on in the future there might not be any need in manual labor which isn’t always a good thing. I want to be the one that designs a device that lets the brain into a virtual world nothing like the Oculus. I want to create something that links the brain with a game, enter it, move around just by thinking of moving, and no physical body movement needed. Computers are really helpful. They help us keep our work place neat by storing our most important files in it with security to keep it safe. It also entertains us with video games, streaming movies, etc. Computers are a wonderful Creation and I want to be a part of its progress. I want to make it go faster, further, and make it stay strong so it can advance so it ends up creating the future its self.


Computer Engineering pays $100,920 per year and $48.52 per hour (OOH). Even though it is a lot of money I am not perusing this major because of it. Money is necessary for my living needs like water, food, and shelter. My mother was always telling me to go for the career that pays the most, that what we would love to work for does not pay enough to live of anymore. She tried to convince me to become a lawyer but it kept losing my interest because every time I asked permission to use the computer she would scold me telling me I had to start reading if I wanted to become a lawyer. Later on I notice that being a lawyer pay more than being a computer engineer. I have no interest in being a lawyer even if their pay is higher it does not matter to me because I want to go for the career that make me wake up with a smile and exited to go to work every morning. I am planning on applying for the major companies like Microsoft, Sony, Apple, etc. Some may say that this plan of mine is childish but I do not listen to what they are saying because if all they are trying to do is bring my goals, dreams, plans down they are not worth my time. Going for this major opens a lot of opportunities to the big companies so why would I lose my chance when it is right in front of me, I wont mind going for Google either, they have an awesome HQ and it seems fun to be there. As long as I am doing the thing I love I will enjoy life to its fullest as if it is my last day on earth.

In all this is why I picked to become an Engineer or rather how it chose me. I believe that in the moment I decided to put gum in the computer to where I was able to see something fascinating when it was opened. The possibilities that my dad being called to work that day where very high and then he would have fixed it another day without me there to see. I would not have seen what would inspire me to be something great later on in life or to help me choose what defines me. Me 4 or 5 years olds not knowing that later on in life I would be living in the United State going to college for the thing that defines who I am and what I’m going to become later on.

This is the pc, 2 pictures are from when i was building it and the other 3 are from today

1444965019329 1444965019896 IMG_20151108_215552 IMG_20151108_215820 IMG_20151108_215953





Work Cited

New York City College of Technology College catalog 2015-2016 (City Tech) New York: New York City                    Technology, 2015.PDF


Grove City College Bulletin 2015-2016 College Catalog (City College) New York: City College of New                      York, 2015.PDF


Department of labor. Burial of labor statistics “Computer Hardware Engineering”. Occupational                    Outlook Handbook. (OOH) Washington: Burial of labor statistics, 8 Jan 2014. Web . 2                        November 2015.

Time is a book – By Reynaldo Cabral

My name is Reynaldo Cabral, I am eighteen years old, I moved to the United States of America when I was seven years old, and now I am going to college. The major I am studying for is Computer Engineering. What I am going to talk about is time. It has always been an interest of mine. I am always thinking about it. My head is always in the future. Just being able to see an event and having the ability to change it or just look up to it. We all think about time and the ability to change it, but most just say “yea that would be cool” and that is the end of it, but not me. In my thoughts I remind my self of my past and the experiences I have gained from it, and look up to the future to set my destination. Thinking about my past and my future, imagining it and losing my head in the clouds because of it made me the person who I am today. I am a person that looks up to the future and prepares for it. I am also a person that looks back to the past as something that forged me for what the future has in stored for me. A person that looks at the present and gets through the obstacles that faces me. A person that may not be able to fix my past, but still makes a better future for himself and anyone around him. This is what thinking about my past and future has made me today.


My past may be full of mistakes, Embarrassing moments, regretful choices, and unforgettable moments, but it is what made me. No matter how bad my past was I would not change it. In my past, I have been homeless, seen my father hit my mother, got bullied in school, and got into many fights at school. The events that happened in my past shaped me to be a better person. Seeing my father hit my mother when I was in middle school taught me to respect women, I saw the reaction of my mother and how she felt, needles to say she threw the house phone at him and kicked him out the house, after words I saw how sad she was and crying, I felt bad and cried with her, this taught me that women should be treated with respect because no women should cry or feel sad because of what the man she picked to be with did to her. Being homeless was not the best experience in my life but I learned to cherish things, I found life to not be that easy, while I was homeless I lived in a shelter, in the shelter we didn’t have much to eat and we didn’t have anything to entertain ourselves with in the weekends, I was still going to school while this happened, I was in the 8th grade, and most of the food I ate was there, but those tough time and running out of food in the shelter taught me that life is not easy but anyone can make it better. Getting bullied in school taught me how to be strong, I got bullied in school twice in my life, once when I was in primary school in Dominican Republic For having long hair and when I moved to the United States of America for not knowing English. This taught me to be strong, not to judge other people. Looking back at my past I ensure that the decisions I make now prevent it from repeating. These experience has given me knowledge to advise or help a friend who needs the guidance or is felling down, I may not be able to ensure a great guide but being able to just point to the right path that might help get them back in track and feel better. With these events from my past I learned to be a better person.


In my past there was not only bad times but also times that inspired me to pursue a Carrera for Computer Engineering. In my past, before I moved to the United States of America, I was about five years old when it happened, I got gum stuck in the disc drive of my home computer because I figured the gum would take shape of a CD in the drive and create a bubble gum game. When my dad opened up the desktop case to remove the CD Drive that had gum I stuck there, I was able to see the inside of a computer for the first time; I was amazed by all of the different parts of a computer. Ever since that day, I loved taking apart anything I could find and trying to figure out how it worked. My mom would have to hide the screwdrivers from me because I wanted to take things apart. Even though I loved to take things apart I could never be able to put them back together with is one of the reason she hid the tools away from me. Ever since that day I loved computers and the parts inside. I always wanted to make my own computer get all hands on and feel an accomplished when I completed it. I think it is cool the way every piece can not work with out the other, for me it representing the human body in someway, even though we have endless storage in our brain and the computer has a limited amount. This has motivated me to be a Computer Engineer when I grow up and end up being the best next thing like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.


The future is now where I focus my gaze. The future can have many outcomes. The future is not a set destination unless you make it one, and it is not a set goal until you make it one. The decisions we make create our path that leads to one of the many outcomes and possibilities that can take place. With these things in mind I lay out the possibilities and choose which once could lead to the best outcome. I always make sure to keep a positive mind of what could happen. I took the computer engineering as my major because I want to use my vision of the future to create electrical devices or computers that can help humanity advance even further than what we have so far. As we all know the future does not always goes as planned but I exploit my surroundings and see if I could shape it to be as I want or at least close to it. The future as we know is always passing by as the present. Once the future starts to pass by as the present it comes with obstacles we have to overcome and make it the way we planned it to be. The future can be any given distance, it all depends what we are preparing for.


I look into the future for answers and I look into the past to help me make decisions. While the past shapes me, the present challenges me. Looking to the future inspires me to design the next best thing in this century. It may not be now but it could be tomorrow. What we do in the present is our cause, and it effects what we will become in our future. Our failure, bad times, our good times, and our experiences are fragments of a bigger picture and they are what made you today and for the future.