Evening Lectures - Pensacola

Shirley Pomponi & Bill Clancey

THE TALK: Telepresence and Robotics: New Paradigms for Exploration of Inner and Outer Space

October 29, 2015


Earth’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and constitute more than 95% of its biosphere. The ocean provides more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe, is a major driver of weather and climate, and is the source of food, energy, and cancer-fighting chemicals. Yet more than 95% of the world’s oceans remain unexplored. Ocean exploration and undersea research are changing, with an emphasis on more autonomous sampling and data collection and fewer opportunities for field-based experiences. Telepresence and robotics are currently complementing “manned” ocean exploration, but innovations in undersea technology will be required to increase the pace, scope, and efficiency of ocean exploration and to transform the way we explore. Space exploration provides helpful lessons, such as designing rovers and visualization tools to promote collaboration in a distributed, multidisciplinary science team.


Dr. Shirley Pomponi is Research Professor and Executive Director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, in Fort Pierce, Florida, Professor of Marine Biotechnology in the Bioprocess Engineering Group at Wageningen University, Netherlands, and Adjunct Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami. Her research focuses on marine biotechnology, in general, and sponge systematics, cell and molecular biology, in particular. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is co-inventor on several patents. She represents FAU on and actively participates in the National and Southern Associations of Marine Laboratories and the Florida Institute of Oceanography. She recently co-chaired a National Academy of Sciences study, requested by the National Science Foundation: “Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences”.

Dr. William J. Clancey, a senior research scientist at IHMC, is a computer scientist whose research relates cognitive and social science in the study of work practices and the design of agent systems. He received a PhD in Computer Science at Stanford University and Mathematical Sciences BA at Rice University. He has developed artificial intelligence applications for medicine, education, robotics, and spaceflight systems. At the Institute for Research on Learning (1987-1997) he co-developed ethnographic methods for studying and modeling work systems. On an IPA assignment at NASA Ames Research Center (1998-2013) as Chief Scientist of Human-Centered Computing in the Intelligent Systems Division he participated in seventeen field science expeditions, including Mars mission simulations during five field seasons on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic and as “commander” of the Mars Society’s Desert Research Station in Utah.  He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Association for Advancement of AI, and the American College of Medical Informatics. His seven books include Working on Mars: Voyages of scientific discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers (recipient of AIAA 2014 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award). He has presented invited lectures in over 20 countries.

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Dr. Roger Orth with Gastroenterology Associates