Fourth Planet's People
This is an Archival Site from 1996
Yes, there is life on Fourth Planet. Here are some brief profiles of our Founders. The founding team for Fourth Planet has worked together as a highly integrated team for over five years. The core team has a very broad technical and management background, and is recognized as a world leader in virtual environment applications and remote field robotics.
Butler Hine, President and CEO of Fourth Planet.
Prior to founding Fourth Planet, Butler Hine was the director of the Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center. The Laboratory is currently recognized as a pioneer in the use of interactive 3D graphics for remotely operating complex mechanisms. Under Dr. Hine's management, the Laboratory performed a series of high profile field missions around the World, and won several national and international awards.
Michael Wagner was the Air Force Phillips Laboratory representative at NASA Ames, where he led a NASA team to develop the New Millennium next-generation autonomous spacecraft software architecture. Previously, he was the Executive Officer for Air Force Ballistic Missile Defense Programs, where he managed daily operations for a directorate of over 400 civilian and military personnel.
Laurent Piguet was the project lead for the Ranger Telerobotic flight experiment project, which represents the first operational use of fully immersive virtual reality to control a spacecraft. Prior to joining NASA, Laurent worked for Logitech in Switzerland and the U.S. He is also a founding member of ProSwiss, an international business organization in the Bay Area.
Philip Hontalas has been a key developer of state of the art visualization software at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Ames Research Center. In additiion, he has extensive experience in private industry as Vice President in charge of software development for Discovery Multi-Processor systems, a high-end distributed computer manufacturer.
Terry Fong was project manager and software lead for the Dante II Operator Interface Project, software manager and lead for the Antarctic TROV mission, and project leader for the NASA Ames Mobile Exploration Landrover.
Erik Nygren was the chief architect of the core technology for the Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory and a member of the technical team for the Antarctic Telepresence Remotely Operated Vehicle (TROV) project.