PanasonicToughbooks.net recognizes the Beachwalk Project's efforts to keep regional watersheds clean and raise awareness of this vital natural resource. The Beachwalk Project is a three-year, clean-water awareness project focused on empowering children and youth to advocate for the protection of their regional watersheds.
To help the Beachwalk Project team tackle such a large endeavor, Panasonic has donated two Toughbook 19 laptops. These mobile computers provide the project with built-in, wireless technology that can withstand the challenging environments in which the Beachwalk Project team works.
Pushing through surf every morning is hard on the kayaks, as well as all the equipment loaded in them. The team's presentations, journal entries, blog and web updates are all done remotely, which exposes electronic equipment to the extremes of heat, direct sunlight, sand and moisture and requires a dependable wireless solution.
In the Beachwalk Project, broken paddles can be replaced. Broken laptops cannot.
Years in the planning, this project is being accomplished by an experienced team that travels, by foot and kayak, hundreds of miles along the major coastlines of the United States, as well as other countries. Paddling on the ocean among sharks, dolphins and whales, the team works with other conservation organizations to raise awareness and unite coastal communities under the common goal of preserving natural resources.
In addition to the physical challenge, the Beachwalk Project team generates daily website updates and provides community- and youth-based slideshow and movie presentations at schools, nature centers and aquariums along the trek.
Panasonic Computer Solutions Company is a proud sponsor of The Everest Peace Project, which organizes international, multi-cultural climbs for peace. The project draws people from different faiths and cultures who learn to work together in order to survive and conquer the world's most formidable peaks.
After three and a half years of planning, 10 international climbers, representing seven countries and five faiths, scaled Mount Everest from April through June 2006, to promote a global community of peace, teamwork and cultural understanding.
During the expedition, the team used the Toughbook 29 notebook and the Toughbook P1 rugged PDA to receive weather updates and other critical information via satellite. They also communicated wirelessly with friends and family by posting and broadcasting daily dispatches, photos and even video from the Mount Everest expedition.
In the course of the climb, the team faced hurricane-force winds, extreme cold, ice, snow, sleet and freezing rain. Despite the grueling conditions and punishing altitudes, the Toughbook equipment stood the test - ultimately returning with the expedition from the slopes of the world's highest mountain, unscathed.
Panasonic Computer Solutions Company donated several Toughbook convertible tablet PCs for use in the field by scientists working for the Wildlife Trust, the premier international organization that's striving to understand the links between ecosystems, wildlife and human health.
Wildlife Trust is a pioneer in the field of conservation medicine, an emerging, interdisciplinary field that studies the relationship between human and animal health and environmental conditions. It is currently studying the location where the SARS virus first appeared - demonstrating a connection between bats and the pathogen that will allow the prediction of future outbreaks.
"We've learned in the field that not every computer is up to the task of mobility. We've seen hardware failures, poor screen readability and insufficient battery life," says Dr. Mary C. Pearl, president of Wildlife Trust. "Our scientists need to focus on conducting research - not managing technology. The Toughbook notebooks are the perfect fit for us."
Dr. Luis F. Aguirre, with the Centro de Biodiversidad y Genetica in Bolivia, uses his Toughbook notebook to analyze recordings of bats. Working deep within dark, humid caves, Dr. Aguirre appreciates the fact that the notebook is waterproof and allows him to work up to four hours without leaving the caves.
"It's just a great machine. We can plug in to bat detectors (ANABAT system) and work for several hours. and we can carry it to several places, without having to be too careful. Its size helps a lot - easy to put in a backpack. The touchscreen is also very helpful and saves a lot of time."
Banding wild birds and recording the data in the field can be a dirty, chaotic environment for a notebook says Dr. Susan Elbin, director of the New York Bioscape Initiative. "I band the birds and often use Excel to record my findings. I love the Toughbook notebook's portability and durability - I just wipe it off when it gets dirty."
When it comes to fieldwork, Dr. Elbin says no other notebook stands up to the Toughbook. "I would never attempt to take a regular laptop in the field to collect data. There is no comparison."
The notebook's wireless capabilities are another important feature for Dr. Elbin. "It's especially helpful in downloading software. Also, while traveling, it's easy to connect in an airport, as I am carrying the computer anyway. I use Google Earth and other mapping programs on the laptop."
Dr. Damayanti Buchori, with the PEKA Center for Conservation & Insect Studies in Indonesia, uses the Toughbook notebook extensively for her work. "We always use the Toughbook for our fieldwork. One way we use it is conducting land-use mapping with the community in the area of Cipeutuey Village, West Java, Indonesia."
The notebook's touchscreen is a particular favorite of Dr. Buchori's. "The touchscreen has become our favorite feature because, in some way, it serves as a small whiteboard where we can draw sketches for everyone to see."
Even with extensive use in wet, humid environments, Dr. Buchori has encountered no problems with her Toughbook notebook. "So far, we have not experienced any difficulty using the Toughbook. It 's been easy to carry, solid, strong and waterproof."
As a winner of the 2005 Whitley Award - often referred to as the "Green Oscar" - Nicole Auil has gained international recognition for her work to conserve Belize's threatened manatees. Now Ms. Auil has a Toughbook notebook to help her look after these large aquatic mammals.
The notebook comes in extremely handy in the hot, tropical coastal waters and rivers of Belize that the manatees inhabit. Ms. Auil often uses her notebook aboard marine vessels. So far, there have been no problems - even when ocean sprays have landed on it.
We commend the Wildlife Trust and all the scientists for their great work. And we are happy they can use their Toughbook notebooks to perform research that will help gain more recognition and grants to fund the trust's important mission.
Panasonic was more than willing to equip Neville and Catherine Hockley with two Panasonic Toughbook laptop computers for their trip around the world on their 41-foot cutter-rig sloop, Dream Time. Neville's design company in New York City, i&D Media Group, doesn't miss him-he keeps a virtual office using satellite communications and the Toughbook-30 and the Toughbook Y5. "We're lucky to have clients with an adventurous spirit that believe that as long as you can do the job, it doesn't matter where you are."
When the idea to sail around the world arrived, Neville decided to keep his full-time position with his company. With today's satellite technology, navigated by Panasonic's laptops, Neville cites that his office commute has never been shorter (his "office" is about four feet from the bed) and that the view from the office has improved significantly. Panasonic was proud to sponsor Neville and Catherine with the computers that connect them, in so many ways, to the lives they never had to "leave behind."
"Sailing around the world is challenging enough, you must have the right gear to survive the conditions - the constant motion of the boat, the damp, humid air, storms, breaking seas - the environment can be unforgiving and relentless," writes Neville. "If there's a weakness in your equipment, mother nature will exploit it. It's reassuring knowing our Panasonic Toughbook computers have been designed, engineered and tested to survive these extreme conditions."