IBM and NASA scientists are collaborating on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) expeditions. NASA is developing "MERBoards" to allow mission scientists and engineers to display, capture, annotate, and share information through large interactive displays. The software that facilitates this collaboration operates on a large stand-alone plasma display with a resistive touch screen. The "board" includes a PC with a web browser and custom workspace application for data and file sharing. "It's like having a very large PDA and having instant access to the content you value most," says Daniel M. Russell, the senior manager of the User Sciences and Experience Research group at IBM's Almaden Research Center. IBM's MERBoards will provide the capability to view data, share it on multiple displays in different locations, sketch and make annotations, and distribute that data. The boards supports the team's work-practice of developing scientific hypotheses and related rover activity. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab manages the Mars Exploration Rover mission. For more information, go to www.ibm.com.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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