Lights, Cameras, Helicopters, Pith Helmets, and Stuffed Animals

By Tom Caldecott 

One of the celebrities available for photo opportunities at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld is not human. Known as Mort, it’s a camera unit (or Dropcam) that recently returned from the Mariana Trench where James Cameron used it to film at 33,000 feet underwater.


And Mort is not alone at the National Geographic booth in the Moscone West Exhibition Hall. The booth is filled with technological wonders to view and ooh and ah at. There are sun spheres, which are the brightest self-contained underwater lights in existence. “They’re so bright, we have them working at only 1 percent,” said Mary Ford, manager of Ocean Education at National Geographic. Apparently, full capacity would blind booth visitors.

And there’s a crittercam that is placed on animals to record their point of view. Plus, visitors can watch helicopter cams, mini helicopters with cameras, and a balloon camera for recording from the sky.

This is the second year National Geographic has exhibited at Oracle OpenWorld. “We’re here to celebrate Oracle’s support of our ocean education program and our work to help conserve the ocean through research, exploration, and education,” said Ford. “Our program allows us to take material from exploration and make it available for classroom use. Everything we create in the way of educational materials we put online for free.”

In addition to exhibiting technology, National Geographic has returned to Oracle OpenWorld with another crowd pleaser. “This year, we brought back our photo booth,” said Ford.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, visitors were lining up to have their photo taken, wearing a choice of hats—straw, pith, and more—and posing with a variety of stuffed animals such as a monkey, shark, and boa. And all the photos were being framed in the National Geographic yellow border. 



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