Couple going to Mars?

I have written several stories about trips to Mars, including my award nominated “A Comic on Phobos”.  One big reason I’ve written about Mars, is because I would enjoy visiting the planet if it were reasonably safe and relatively easy to do so.  That probably won’t happen in my lifetime.

When I recently read about an opportunity for a couple to take a round-trip to Mars, I was intrigued until I came to the part about how they will only come within a 100 miles of the planet.  I have to ask, why would I want to spend 1.5 years, go all the way to Mars, and then only get to see what I can already see from a satellite photo?

 

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?

microsurgeon

 

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?

 

Author, Game Designer, Programmer, Tutor, Genealogist