The goal of this research project is to initialize the creation a graphical user interface (GUI) for the MARVIN II rover that will be accessible over the Internet. This interface will resemble a simulation of the rover in the format of similar to such video games as Test Drive 2 for the Sega Genesis and F-Zero GP Legend for the Gameboy Advance. The purpose of this graphical user interface is to provide anyone with a view of what the machine is doing at the time and to output various data that is available. Such data that is being outputted but not limited to: pitch, yaw, roll, speed and the GPS position. This project requires more than just learning a programming language in order to accomplish.
      Before programming, a conceptual diagram has to be created. In order to accomplish this, the main source for the inspiration for the project had to be used. The initial source and inspiration for this was video games. To get an idea of which interface would best be suited for this, other simulation and racing-type video games had to be reviewed. After many deliberations, two games stood out from the rest in their designs. The first choice to use as a template model for the third-person view was the F-Zero series because all of the necessary information was available and the view of the car machine itself was not obstructed in any way. The other choice was Daytona Racing because it had the optimal view from the dashboard of a car. To create a customized conceptual design of the virtual dashboard for the rover, Microsoft Paint was used in order to develop the desired end product would appear in a third-person view and a first-person view. To implement this, a programming language that can run on any machine through the Internet had to be used.
The only programming language suitable for this task is java. This language was created in the year 1994 and is currently incorporated into almost every web browser, making it the ideal language for web-based programs. The virtual dashboard will load in from the website in the form of an applet, which is a pop-up resulting from the code. The Java platform runs as a virtual machine, making it able to run on any machine. This language is capable of running on computers, telephones and other everyday electrical devices. Two specific applications that aided in the creation of this program were Textpad and Jbuilder.
      The goal of the project is to start the creation a virtual dashboard for the rover so the user can see where it goes and collect data without actually being in the rover. The initial creation of this prototype will be a good start for someone else who is seeking to continue this work. There are some features on the conceptual layout that have not yet been applied to the rover itself, but possibly may be included in the future. As the capabilities of the rover improve, the abilities of the virtual dashboard should improve as well.