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Affiliation: 
Sky WindPower Corporation
Title: 
President
Expertise: 
High altitude wind power

Biography

Sky WindPower Corporation is in business to bring to market the technology which Roberts has pioneered. It is headquartered in California, although Professor Roberts normally resides in Australia. David Hammond Shepard, a University of Michigan graduate, was its founding president and obtained 28 US patents. He started his career as a successful cryptanalyst working on Japanese codes. After the war he built an optical scanner (reading machine) in his attic with the help of his friend, Harvey Cook, and then formed Intelligent Machines Research Corporation(IMR), which delivered the world's first dozen commercial Optical Character Recognition(OCR) systems. In this connection, Shepard designed the Farrington B numeric font used today on almost all credit cards. Although the IMR recognition process did not require special fonts, recognition was more reliable if a font as simple and open as possible was used to avoid the effects of smearing at gasoline station pump islands. Reading of these imprints was the world's first major industry use of OCR, although today the information is captured magnetically from the back of the cards, and today OCR is a fundamental computer tool for reading all kinds of text and numbers whether printed by machine or hand. In 1962 Shepard founded Cognitronics Corporation. His patented "Conversation Machine", which operated on line, unattended in 1964 in New York City for a year, was the first to provide telephone caller interactive voice response(IVR) access to computer stored data using speech recognition. (His apologies for the times you are forced to converse with a machine instead of a human being.) Mr. Shepard was a Charter Member of the TAWPI Hall of Fame, a Life Senior Member of the IEEE, an ACM member present at its founding at Aberdeen in 1947, and a member of the AIAA and AGU. Starting in 1980, convinced that the world needed a new energy source, and that high altitude wind energy had the potential of being that source, Mr. Shepard began researching potential methods of capturing this energy as well as conducting wind tunnel and open air tests on various approaches, including a test of a rising and descending kite in a Nevada desert location. In the end he considered Professor Roberts' approach to have the best potential of meeting the world's most important energy and global warming problems.