Johnson will be virtually transported to a Columbus operating room, where he will commune in real time with the lead surgeon through a pioneering research and education computer network to be launched today. Its creators hope the new network, called the Abilene Project, will give rise to the successor to today’s Internet, an ultra-high-speed system with vastly superior video and audio capabilities.

Abilene initially will connect 37 U.S. universities and allow researchers and scientists seamless access to one another’s wisdom through a network built almost entirely with equipment donated by private companies.

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