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"Does it open a new horizon for my thinking? Does it lead me to think new kinds of thoughts, that I would not otherwise perhaps have thought at all? These qualities are what [make] science fiction ...unique."
- Frederik Pohl

Automatic Refueling Screen  
  Repels objects that are too big, and gathers small ones for fuel.  

"It has every feature of a stock car, with just one or two more."

"Such as -"

"...An automatic fueling screen - repels large bodies, sweeps in small ones for transmutation into air, food, fuel."

Technovelgy from Biddiver, by Theodore Sturgeon.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

See also the sweep field from Methuselah's Children (1941) by Robert Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Biddiver
  More Ideas and Technology by Theodore Sturgeon
  Tech news articles related to Biddiver
  Tech news articles related to works by Theodore Sturgeon

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