Thermal-Imaging Cameras Help Protect Endangered Rhinos in Africa

IEEE Member Eric Becker develops poacher-detection systems for the World Wildlife Fund

4 min read
Photo: FLIR Systems
Photo: FLIR Systems

THE INSTITUTEThe illegal poaching of black rhinoceroses in Africa, like the one above, has helped to decimate their population, from about 65,000 in the 1970s to just 5,400 today. Black rhinos are one of the world’s most endangered species, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The animals are being killed for their horns, which can fetch thousands of U.S. dollars per kilogram on the black market.

The African Wildlife Foundation estimates that the global wildlife poaching trade generates up to $23 billion annually in illicit revenue.

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How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented

Three decades of UI research came together in the mice, windows, and icons used today

18 min read
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Stylized drawing of a desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, on the screen are windows, Icons, and menus
Getty Images/IEEE Spectrum
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Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.

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