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

"There's a tendency to think that maybe if we can just throw enough hardware at the AI problem, then evolution can take care of the rest. Certainly that's how God went about making us."
- Rudy Rucker

Window-Willie  
  A robot that cleaned windows by electrostatic repulsion of dust and grime.  

Yes, I invented Hired Girl and all her kinfolk-Window Willie and the rest-even though you won't find my name on them. While I was in the service I had thought hard about what one engineer can do. Go to work for Standard, or du Pont, or General Motors? Thirty years later they give you a testimonial dinner and a pension. You haven't missed any meals, you've had a lot of rides in company airplanes. But you are never your own boss. The other big market for engineers is civil service-good starting pay, good pensions, no worries, thirty days annual leave, liberal benefits. But I had just had a long government vacation and wanted to be my own boss...

I got to thinking about dirty windows and that ring around the bathtub that is so hard to scrub, as you have to bend double to get at it. It turned Out that an electrostatic device could make dirt go spung! off any polished silica surface, window glass, bathtubs, toilet bowls-anything of that sort. That was Window Willie and it's a wonder that somebody hadn't thought of him sooner. I held him back until I had him down to a price that people could not refuse. Do you know what window washing used to cost by the hour?

Technovelgy from The Door Into Summer, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1956
Additional resources -

Here's a passive implementation of this idea - take a look at this Science Fiction in the News story - Pilkington Activ Glass - The Invisible Squeegee Of Window-Willie.

Compare to the window-cleaner robots from Rendezvous With Rama (1972) by Arthur C. Clarke.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Door Into Summer
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Door Into Summer
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Window-Willie-related news articles:
  - Pilkington Activ Glass - The Invisible Squeegee Of Window-Willie
  - SkyBot High-Rise Window Cleaning Robot
  - Winboni Window-Washing Robot
  - PIRO Window Washing Robot
  - Skyline Robotics Instantiates Heinlein's 'Window Willie' Skyscraper Robot

Articles related to Lifestyle
Amazon Blimp Parent Drone Concept
Tortoise Mobile Smart Stores
Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton

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

Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'

Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'

Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'

Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'

'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'

NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?

Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'

Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'

Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'

Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'

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.