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

Black Bag  
  A medical kit from the future.  

His eyes rested on a little black bag in the center of the room, and he forgot about the kid. “I could have sworn,” said Dr. Full, “I hocked that two years ago!” He hitched over and reached the bag, and then realized it was some stranger’s kit, arriving here he did not know how. He tentatively touched the lock and it snapped open and lay flat, rows and rows of instruments and medications tucked into loops in its four walls. It seemed vastly larger open than closed. He didn’t see how it could possibly fold up into that compact size again, but decided it was some stunt of the instrument makers...


('The Little Black Bag' by CM Kornbluth)

He put down the little black bag and forgetfully fumbled for his key, then remembered and touched the lock. It flew open, and he selected a bandage shears, with a blunt wafer for the lower jaw. He fitted the lower jaw under the bandage, trying not to hurt the kid by its pressure on the infection, and began to cut. It was amazing how easily and swiftly the shining shears snipped through the crusty rag around the wound. He hardly seemed to be driving the shears with fingers at all. It almost seemed as though the shears were driving his fingers instead as they scissored a clean, light line through the bandage.

Certainly have forged ahead since my time, he thought — sharper than a microtome knife. He replaced the shears in their loop on the extraordinarily big board that the little black bag turned into when it unfolded...

Technovelgy from The Little Black Bag, by C.M. Kornbluth.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1950
Additional resources -

Medical advances were (will be?) made over the next five centuries:

He snapped the bag open again on his kitchen table, and pored through the medication tubes. “Anything to sock the autonomic nervous system good and hard,” he mumbled. The tubes were numbered, and there was a plastic card which seemed to list them. The left margin of the card was, a run-down of the sytsems— vascular, muscular, nervous. He followed the last entry across to the right. There were columns for “stimulant,” “depressant,” and so on. Under “nervous system” and “depressant” he found the number 17, and shakily located the little glass tube which bore it. It was full of pretty blue pills and he took one.

It was like being struck by a thunderbolt.

Dr. Full had so long lacked any sense of well-being except the brief glow of alcohol that he had forgotten its very nature. Fie was panic stricken for a long moment at the sensation that spread through him slowly, finally tingling in his fingertips. Fie straightened up, his pains gone and his leg tremor stilled.

Compare to the instrument case from Time Pawn (1954) (which Philip K. Dick later expanded into the novel Dr. Futurity [1960]):

Loris signalled and an armed guard quickly entered the room. He laid something carefully down on the luxurious carpet and moved back a pace.

[Dr.] Parsons recognized the object instantly. His gray-metal instrument case.

“We examined them,” Loris said, “but their functions are beyond us. We have no comprehension of medical work. We can’t grasp the basic principles! With the time dredge we’ve brought back endless spools of information, but we can’t do anything with them. Our orientation — lack of tradition, our whole training makes it impossible to apply the knowledge.”


('Dr. Futurity' by Philip K. Dick)

Compare also to the surgical homeostatic unit from Now Wait For Last Year (1966) by Philip K. Dick.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Little Black Bag
  More Ideas and Technology by C.M. Kornbluth
  Tech news articles related to The Little Black Bag
  Tech news articles related to works by C.M. Kornbluth

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