Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"...in fifty years, do you believe that people will be recognizably human?"
- Greg Bear

Golden Shuttles (Mechanical Mice)  
  Very small robots with an appetite for watch parts.  

In this excellent short story, Dan Burman is a famed inventor; however, he had actually invented only one machine - a psychophone that allows him to visit a kind of future. He brings back the blueprints for an unusual invention, one whose function is not immediately obvious.

Once constructed, one of the machine's first actions is to use hidden mechanical arms to reach out and steal a fine clock and a pocket watch. Over time, the Robot Mother steals dozens of watches from local jewelry stores. The thefts are accomplished by tiny robots no larger than mice.

... there came a very tiny, very subtle and extremely high-pitched whine. Something small, metallic, glittering had shot through one of the rat holes, fled across the floor toward the churning monstrosity. A trapdoor opened and swallowed it with such swiftness that it had disappeared before I realized what I'd seen. The thing had been a cylindrical, polished object resembling the shuttle of a sewing machine, but about four times the size. And it had been dragging something also small and metallic.

Technovelgy from The Mechanical Mice, by Maurice G. Hugi.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1941
Additional resources -

The shuttle of a sewing machine is the special part that makes chain stitches possible; old-fashioned ones were roughly bullet-shaped, about one-half inch in diameter and an inch and a half long.

The tiny robots stole watch parts for its controller, the Robot Mother. These tiny gears and screws provided the Robot Mother with the materials with which to create more golden shuttles, as well as other tiny bots.

The author provides the following additional details about these tiny robotic wonders:

... the nose cap of the [golden shuttle] had opened fanwise, like an iris diaphragm, and a pair of jointed metal arms were folded inside, hugging a medium-sized diamond.

Be sure to take a look at the entry for Robot Mother, a very early reference to a self-reproducing robot that precedes scientific papers on the subject by at least seven years. You might also be interested in some of the children (and grandchildren) of this idea: Ray Bradbury's robot mice from The Martian Chronicles (1950) and dustmice, tiny robot detectives from Greg Bear's Queen of Angels (1990).

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mechanical Mice
  More Ideas and Technology by Maurice G. Hugi
  Tech news articles related to The Mechanical Mice
  Tech news articles related to works by Maurice G. Hugi

Golden Shuttles (Mechanical Mice)-related news articles:
  - Eco-Be! Mini Robot From Citizen
  - Micro-Mouse Robots With Grippers Tournament
  - XT-1 Micro Mouse With Blazing Speed
  - EggTorte Mini Micromouse
  - MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
  - Robot Builds Robots From Voxel Subunits

Articles related to Robotics
AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
TeslaBot Uber Driver (2024) And The Automatic Motorist (1911)
DiffuseBot Uses Generative AI To Invent New Soft Robots
Ballie Your AI Robot Companion From Samsung

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.