Foundation by Isaac Asimov:
Science Fiction Inventions, Technology and Ideas

Space opera at its finest, from a man who really knew how to put a story together. Fast-paced story with interesting characters; it's a different sort of story if you've only read Gibson and Sterling. You need to know what psychohistory is, so start reading. (Also, take a look at the inventive ideas from Asimov's second and third books in the trilogy - Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation.) Select an invention:

Agricultural World
Planet set aside for the production of food for another world.

Air Speedster
Highly maneuverable air vehicle for hunting.

Anti-Spying Device
Foolproof means of defending against spy beams.

Calculator Pad - grandfather of the pocket calculator
Used to make psychohistoric calculations

Directional Ticket - the ticket guides you
A ticket that also has the property of glowing while you are going toward what you bought.

Force-Field Penknife - origin of the Lightsaber?
A pocket-sized knife, the blade of which is a force-field.

Gravitic Repulsion Elevator - going up
The elevator was of the new sort that ran by gravitic repulsion.

Jump Through Hyperspace - is travel through hyperspace possible?
Device that makes faster-than-light travel possible.

Nuclear Shears
Device uses nuclear power to accomplish basic shop tasks.

Personal Capsule - for your eyes only
An impenetrable device containing information for your eyes only.

Personal Force-Shield - earliest mention?
A portable force-shield small enough to be carried by a single man.

Plasto-Textile
A fabric that cannot be stained.

Pocket Nucleo-Bulb - better than those LED flashlights
A nuclear-powered pocket-sized flashlight.

Psychohistory
Branch of mathematics describes the behavior of human beings en masses.

Single Vehicle Tunnel
A small diameter tunnel that accepts a single vehicle to a single destination.

Spy Beam
A surveillance device that projects energy into a room, revealing conversation taking place.

Static Field
A defense against a spy beam.

Sun-Room
On a planet-wide city, the only way to get some sun without going to the roof.

Trantor - planet city
A city that covers the entire surface of the planet.

Ultrawave Relay or Hyperwave Relay - first use of FTL communication
Instantaneous, faster-than-light communication system.

 

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