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 amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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