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The Andromeda Strain

The 1971 must see movie is faithful to the 1969 Michael Crichton best-seller, which established the techno-thriller genre, and holds up extremely well- both in terms of technology and the fast-paced plot. A team of scientists try to isolate an alien biological that may become an epidemic. They are brought to the Wildfire facility in Nevada, a stand in for the real Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, which is stocked with technology originally developed for handling nuclear materials during the Manhattan project: gloves boxes plus robot pick and place robots and force-reflecting remote manipulators (dubbed “waldos” by Robert Heinlein and now the common designation in the industry). The waldos were a human-robot interface hack with awful ergonomics and counter-intuitive control- and the Department of Energy still uses the them.

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