Nutty but NEAT

February 20, 1998

Computer rage and technofear may be trends of the 1990s, but researchers at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth are finding that their effects can still be outweighed by a more traditional complaint - fear of being thought a loony.

Under the admirably named NEAT programme, Aber students can now get instant advice on computer problems from an expert who can also, via a link, see their screen. The only hitch is that people using the service have to talk into a microphone, giving those around them the impression that they are holding an animated discussion with themselves. NEAT researchers, who point to the immense potential implications of the technique for distance learning, hope that once the scheme is extended to every terminal in the university, inhibitions will be overcome.

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