Hello, I'm David Tarnoff, founder of Intermation, and I'd like to welcome you to our web site. Intermation began as a result of some consulting work I did in 1997 for a talented group of scientists at Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

During the mid-1990s, this group made major advances in creating a virtual lab by combining remote control software with the control and image processing software for their transmission electron microscope. Any client with a high-speed Internet connection could send a specimen to ORNL that they wished to view on the microscope. With the help of an ORNL scientist sitting at the microscope's controls, the client could capture images and manipulate them from anywhere in the world.

Teleconferencing software was brought into the system so that experts from across the country could participate and discuss what they were seeing in real time. This resulted in enormous cost savings for the client. For the price of delivering the specimen to Tennessee, they saved on travel and lost personnel time. They also gained the invaluable benefit of having multiple experts participate in the analysis as it was happening.

Although the remote control software allowed the clients complete access to ORNL's computer, their hands were still tied literally when it came to turning knobs or pushing buttons that were physically connected to the microscope. If ORNL could link the microscope's physical controls to software objects on the computer, then the client could gain even more control of the session. This was where Intermation's consulting came in.

Through the use of interface hardware and custom driver software, we created functions that allowed the clients to "reach through the Internet" and turn knobs or push buttons. It is unlikely that the ORNL scientist seated at the microscope will ever be completely replaced. What has happened though, is that this greater flexibility has shifted the "over the shoulder" role away from the client to the ORNL scientist.

The benefits of this research extend far past this application. These collaboratories (a phrase commonly used by the ORNL staff) could allow students at any level of expertise access to prohibitively expensive equipment. This would give them the opportunity to learn on the real thing without requiring their institutions to make the investment. The electronic separation also protects the delicate instruments from incorrect or negligent usage. One ORNL scientist told a group of university students who were fearful of breaking the microscope, "We will give $50 to any student who can manage to break the microscope."

Intermation, Inc. was created as a source for automation and control solutions of this nature. The complexity of your application may be different, but concept remains the same: use a network to fully access a remote location. Once again, thank you for taking the time to visit our site. If you are interested in this work, feel free to contact Intermation using the form on the support page.