Movie stars covet Academy Awards(reg), but few can claim one. Tom Williams has two on his shelf, one for "Scientific and Engineering," and another for "Technical Achievement." And if this fails to impress you, he also has more than 20 film credits, including: Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, The Mask, Forrest Gump, Jumanji, and Twister. Williams spent seven years at Industrial Light & Magic as a computer graphics supervisor, director of research and development, and executive in charge of digital effects. In this capacity, he supervised the development of breakthrough technology that resulted in the film effects that not only won him the Academy Awards, but would have been impossible to create using more traditional special effects. Just think about those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Engineers who have viewed any of the above movies can appreciate this engineering feet. Williams now heads long-range product development and research at Silicon Graphics' Alias/Wavefront subsidiary.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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