How does cluster genealogy work?

Family Tree Magazine has a good article on how cluster genealogy works.  Genealogists sometimes resort to researching persons in a cluster.  A cluster, in simple terms, might be thought of as a group of persons who might have joined a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ social media group had they had the opportunity to do so.  For example, a person’s cluster might include workmates, classmates, business partners, friends, family, distant relatives, neighbors, and other persons.  See the link to understand why a genealogist might research a cluster.


Future Video Game data? – Three Dimensional Surface Model of Human Kidney

My game “Microsurgeon” (1982 Imagic) for Mattel Intellivision was based on the idea that future surgeons would be able to operate on a patient using a remote controlled microdevice inserted into the patient’s body.  The graphics were simple by today’s standards, but the game stood out at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, 1983.  Now there are researchers building a 3D surface model of the human kidney using FREE data from the Visible Human Project.  That’s very cool!  A complete and perhaps inexpensive 3D virtual human body for surgery simulation is probably next.  How long will it be before someone makes a “Microsurgeon”-like game with a complete 3D human body for gameplay?



A thought about telepresence robots

Telepresence robots are part of this century’s wave of the next big think in technology.  Some businesses and individuals are very excited by the possibility to consult with distant offices without having to endure travel times and costs.

Personally, I really like the idea of telepresence robots.  But I’m not sure that the current crop of devices are very useful.  If you can’t open doors, traverse stairs (or at least operate an elevator), shake hands, hug, touch, or in some cases leave the building and walk across or down the street to another local corporate office, the concept seems to lose its luster.

Also, I did some checking with telepresence robot manufacturers, and they don’t seem very prepared for remote operation in foreign countries.  If the robot should break down, you will be responsible for packaging up the device and shipping it to the manufacturer, or else you need to have your own maintenance people.  I haven’t checked, but I also wonder how difficult it is to get these things through customs, and what are the delays in remote operation from say the U.S. to India?  What kind of insurance policy do you need for telepresence robots, both in insuring the device and in protecting the people who interact with it?

Seems to me that eventually these things will be figured out.  How long will it be before we see rent-by-the-hour telepresence robots moving about town and through offices like some kind of Zipcar?


Could some medical jobs be outsourced to computers next?

The Scientist reports on Health Booth 2020, a SMART card operated ATM-style kiosk that could eventually automatically take a blood sample and provide a diagnosis (and maybe even medication).

Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?  In my short story, “Remotedoc“, I wrote about the possibility of a future where doctors might operate remotely with surgical robots.  In the Aliens prequel, Prometheus, an automated surgical robot is depicted.

Could we see 1980 again for video games?

On Gamasutra (The Art & Business of Making Games), Benjamin Quintero blogs about the possibility of another crash in the video games market.  As a classic video game designer and developer (1970’s-1990’s), I remember well the early’s 80’s.  A few years of enormous growth in sales, and then the big crash.

If this is occurring again, or might in the near future, I feel for the game industry people who will suffer in the short term.  In the long term, I hope that it will mean we can expect a new period of creativity in game design and an even greater variety of great games in the future.