Distance-learning facility dedicated


Video equipment donated by long-time lecturer and MIT alumnus Robert H. Rines that transforms Edgerton Hall into a state-of-the-art facility for remote education was dedicated last week.

Mr. Rines (SB '42, physics) made a sizable contribution to purchase the advanced technology equipment for the 300-seat lecture hall. Three remote control cameras concealed in the rear wall face the rostrum, and another behind the projection screen at the front of the room focuses on the audience. The sensitive cameras provide excellent picture quality without requiring additional TV lighting.

In addition, equipment to operate the cameras, preview pictures and make broadcast-quality videotape has been installed. Seven "shotgun" microphones built into the ceiling can pick up questions from the audience.

A lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) since 1962, Mr. Rines teaches the popular Inventions and Patents elective. Mr. Rines, a graduate of Georgetown University Law School, is a partner in the Boston law firm Rines and Rines, and he founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, NH, which specializes in the relationship among science, technology and the
law.

About 130 friends, family and colleagues of Mr. Rines attended the dedication at Edgerton Hall last Wednesday (March 12), among them Professor Paul L. Penfield, head of EECS; Professor Richard C. Larson, director of the Center for Advanced Educational Services; and Professor Paul E. Gray, chairman of the Corporation.

Professor Gray read a proclamation that saluted Mr. Rines's accomplishments, which include more than 60 patents for inventions such as high-definition radar used in the Gulf War and sonic systems that helped locate the Bismarck and the Titanic. He also cited Mr. Rines for co-founding the Academy for Applied Science, which fosters interest in science and technology among young people and sponsors scientific projects like the Loch Ness expeditions.

Referring to his MIT teaching career, Professor Gray told Mr. Rines, "You have enabled generations of MIT students to understand and appreciate the inventive process, and in doing so, have inspired many to try their hands at both invention and company formation."

Beyond that, Professor Gray said, "You have been instrumental in converting Edgerton Hall into one of the most technologically advanced facilities of its kind, invaluable not only for its on-site instruction but also for creative interactions between MIT-based groups and their counterparts thousands of miles away."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 19, 1997.


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