by / March 31, 1998
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Overloaded with Information
Massive collections of data can overload a computer system or hide important information from decision makers. To help the situation, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a three-dimensional visualization application to help users examine large collections of data, reveal elusive relationships among data and discover critical details.

The software has two functional components: an information preprocessing and modeling system, which characterizes information content and modeling associations among input data elements and stores the modeled information for later retrieval and analysis; and a visualization system/user interface, which is used during the exploratory analysis of the information model.

The system operates on Windows NT and requires a high resolution graphics card and monitor.

The software is already in use by the U.S. intelligence community and is well-suited for other applications, such as medical data analysis, environmental security and current event monitoring.

For further information, contact Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Communications, P.O. Box 999, Richland, WA 99352. Call Greg Koller at 509/372-4864.

Voice Activated Technology for Surgery Rooms
Voice-activated robots with great precision are finding their way into
operating rooms.
The Automated Endoscopic System for Optical Positioning (AESOP) 3000 with voice control is a surgeon-controlled robotic arm capable of maneuvering and positioning an endoscope -- a specially designed optical tube inserted into the body and connected to a video monitor -- in minimally invasive heart surgery procedures.

AESOP gives direct control of the laparoscope to the surgeon and provides stable and precise positioning for optimal visualization.

The robot features speech-recognition technology, allowing surgeons to have direct control over the robotic arm with simple voice commands.

The robot provides precise, predictable scope movements and a steady operative field. The system also provides an operative field of view magnified up to 15 times, and provides a superior level of control and stability over the operative field.

According to the company, the technology reduces pain and trauma experienced by the patients and results in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times than comparable open-heart procedures.

Dr. Randal K. Wolf, a leading cardiothoratic surgeon at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, said, "AESOP effectively provides the surgeon with a third arm, returning direct control of the optical field to the surgeon and providing a motionless image from which to operate. Voice control goes the next step, making the use of the robot seamless and perfectly natural."

More than 30,000 procedures have been successfully assisted by AESOP in over 300 hospitals around the world.

For additional information, contact Computer Motion, 130-B Cremona Drive, Goleta, CA 93117. Call 805/968-9600.

Infrared Mouse
The AirData Mouse not only provides all the functions of a computer mouse, but it also makes any Windows 95 desktop or laptop capable of wireless data file transfer.

The mouse is equipped with a infrared data transceiver that allows users transfer data -- between desktops, laptops, printers, and other computer peripherals -- at high speed up to 115.2 kbps.

It retails for $59.95.

For additional information, contact Selectech Ltd., 185 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT 05495. Call Lisa Herder 802/878-9600.

Microsoft Windows 98
Windows 95 has established itself as a solid desktop operating system, but Windows 98 represents the next major release and provides an easier and more Internet-enabled environment. It allows users to browse through their hard disk the same way they do over the Internet.

Government Technology tested the third beta release of Windows 98. The program features:

* Outlook Express -- a full-featured e-mail and news-reading client

* Microsoft NetMeeting -- a complete Internet conferencing solution that provides standard-based audio, data and video conferencing functionality

* Personal Web Server (and the Web Publishing Wizard) -- an easy way to publish Web pages on intranets or the Internet

* Microsoft FrontPad -- a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) HTML editor based on the editing tools of Microsoft's FrontPage 97

* Microsoft NetShow server -- a platform for streaming multimedia over networks that range from low-bandwidth dial-up Internet connections to high-bandwidth switched LANs. Companies use NetShow for training, corporate communications, entertainment and advertising to users all over the world.

Windows 98 will also come with Tune Up Wizard -- a program that repairs problems on a hard drive, deletes unnecessary files and runs a file defragmentation program that speeds up disk access.

Virtual Private Networking -- a new feature that allows remote users to access their corporate networks via a secure connection -- uses Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). Support for this service is built into the operating system.

Universal Serial BUS (USB), IEEE 1394 and DVD peripheral technologies are also supported in the beta version. With a TV tuner board installed, Windows 98 allows a PC to receive and display television and other data distributed by the television networks.

FAT32 is an improved version of the File Allocation Table (FAT) file system, which keeps track of where data is stored. It allows disks with more than 2GB of storage to be formatted as a single drive. FAT32 also uses smaller clusters than FAT drives, resulting in more efficient use of space on large disk.

Windows 98 requires either a PC running Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or a freshly formatted hard disk. A 486 or higher processor with a math coprocessor and 12MB to 16MB of RAM is also required.

Microsoft plans to ship Windows 98 late in the second quarter of 1998, and it is expected that the monopoly issue will re-emerge when Windows 98 is released, since Internet Explorer and Windows 98 are less distinct.

For additional information, contact Microsoft.

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