Robert Heinlein:
Science Fiction Technology and Ideas
Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907; he died in 1988. He entered the Naval Academy in 1925 and was commissioned in 1929; his career as a naval officer was cut short by ill health. He studied engineering and mathematics at UCLA.

Heinlein also wrote as Anson MacDonald and Lyle Monroe. He wrote his first short story (Lifeline) in 1939. He wrote many well-known novels (see below). He received the Nebula Grand Master award in 1975.

Invention/Technology Source Work (Publication Date)

Adam Selene
A computer generates a human avatar for itself.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)

Air Blast - the first air dryer
An air dryer for personal use.

Coventry (1940)

Alterable License Number
A device which permits a driver to alter the license plate without leaving the vehicle.

Methuselah's Children (1941)

Alternate Computer Personality
A computer system that can take on complete, alternate personalities.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)

Artificial Gravity-Assisted Childbirth
Using an artificial gravity field to assist (and accelerate) the process of childbirth.

Time Enough For Love (1973)

Astrogation (to Astrogate) - steer to the stars
To navigate in space.

Methuselah's Children (1941)

Atmospheric Braking
Using a planet's atmosphere to gradually decelerate a spacecraft.

Space Cadet (1948)

Audio Relay - personal RFID transceiver
A communication device implanted behind the ear; also used as an alarm for wake-up calls.

The Puppet Masters (1951)

Autocab
An fully automated taxi cab.

Between Planets (1951)

Auto-Clerk
An automated accounting system.

Beyond This Horizon (1942)

Automated Hotel Reservation
A hotel that did not use clerks; a self-service hotel.

Methuselah's Children (1941)

Automated Travel Bureau
A computer program that allows individuals to book their travel arrangements themselves, with a credit card.

Friday (1982)

Automatic Light Switch
A device that senses if an illuminated room is empty, and turns off the light.

The Man Who Sold The Moon (1950)

Ballistic Calculator - trajectories between planets
An on-board computer for a spaceship to calculate its course and perform other related tasks.

Misfit (1939)

Barrier (Force Field) - force field fence
Force-field fence.

Coventry (1940)

Bats' Cave
A natural cavern used by moon colonists for air storage - and entertainment.

The Menace From Earth (1957)

Beanstalk
Clever name for the space elevator.

Friday (1982)

Bounce Tube - pneumatic tube system for people
A people-sized pneumatic tube system used for short, quick trips in the vertical dimension.

Double Star (1956)

Broomstick Speedster
A two-seater craft capable of spaceflight; it used radiant power to achieve orbit.

Waldo (1942)

Camden Speedster - compare this to an SUV
A super sports utility vehicle (SUV); it drives on the highway, the water and jumps into the air for short periods.

Methuselah's Children (1941)

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