Flowcharting, developed mainly by computer programmers, has become a favorite tool of companies striving to comply with ISO's management standards for quality and the environment. Makers of flowcharting software have redesigned their products to create documents that would appeal to ISO 9000, QS 9000, or ISO 14000 auditors. SPSS Inc. (Chicago), for example, has come out with version 4.0 of allCLEAR. This flowcharting software is loaded with task-specific items for ISO standards, as well as new shapes, structures, and templates. Improved outlining in the new allCLEAR instantaneously creates charts as you type lines of text. The outlining window now features a tree-like structure enabling the user to expand and collapse levels to either hide or reveal details. Users can now attach data, notes, and even launchable URL addresses to flowchart shapes to convey more information on any step. And they can import files from other popular flowcharting programs, such as Visio Corp.'s Visio, Corel Corp.'s CorelFlow, and Micrografx's ABC Flowcharter. Another flowcharting program, Axion Corp.'s 4TQFlow+, automatically generates process documentation in word processors.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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