I spent yesterday at the UMD Techfest (see the UMD Home Page News piece here
). It was a great time, and thanks to all the students, faculty and staff that stopped by to "drive" the SEM remotely. The absolute best part of my job is watching peoples reaction when they first see a familar object magnified and see features they had no idea even existed. I'd say about 50 people took the opportunity to remotely use the SEM to image a variety of samples, bugs, paper, hair, a penny. Everyday stuff, that when observed at high magnification has features that are unbelievably small. It was a great opportunity to show how this piece of high-tech scientific equipment is being used for teaching and research at UMD.
I use the Real VNC Server and Viewer programs for remote operation of the SEM. They are a remote desktop interface, but aren't the Windows Remote Desktop included with WindowsXP. Both programs are available as free downloads from realvnc.com. Install the server program on the computer you want to operate remotely, install the viewer program on the remote computer, establish a connection to the server program using the IP address of the computer to be operated remotely and bang, you're off and running. The PCSEM program works great with enough bandwidth (another reason for Google Fiber to come to the Twin Ports!).
The ability to remotely operate the SEM opens the door for anyone in the region to be able to user or at least observe a session from a classroom or office anywhere in the world.