Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Dubai Ziggurat Carbon Neutral Pyramid Arcology
Incredible concept (now patented!) should convince you that science-fictional vast self-contained cities might actually be built. H.G. Wells thought so. (re: H.G. Wells)

'Virtual Space Station' NASA Software Psychologist
This software suite provides a therapist - or group therapy - on a DVD; perfect for long space voyages, which can be stressful. (re: James Blish)

ContactPoint Database To End Anonymity In UK?
This vast database has a checkered past before it is even implemented. (re: Buck Rogers)

Zephyr Solar Plane Sails For Days
This plane proves you can never be too thin or too ultralight; it may be a precursor to the Vulture program announced earlier in 2008. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Seek Map Wrist Navigation Concept
Interesting visual fiction (a concept design) has much earlier roots in sf. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

Intel Wireless Power Transmission
Wireless transmission of power inflamed the imaginations of early twentieth century sf writers; Intel appears to have improved the efficiency of a basic technique. (re: John W. Campbell)

Robot Aircraft To Ride Thermal Air Currents
New research will provide UAVs with a fuel-saving alternative that has helped flyers stay aloft for millions of years. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Shock Absorbers For Orion: NASA Turns To Verne
NASA scientists are worried about excessive vibration after the launch of the Orion replacement rocket; it's an old concern. (re: Jules Verne)

Emily Lifelike Animation Sets New Standard
This new technique presents a character that may have made its way successfully across the 'uncanny valley.' Are synthespians far behind? (re: William Gibson)

Solar Power Necktie (Clip-On Only)
Another great application for circuit/textile combinations. What's the earliest reference to the idea of combining textiles and wiring? (re: David H. Keller)

Crime Mapping Website - Your Own Batcomputer
Scotland Yard Google mashup brings us closer to the Batcomputer, and, I believe, certain Justice League of America technologies. (re: Various)

Tumbleweed Spy Robot Camera
This is a rough prototype device, but I like machines that are masters of more than one domain. (re: George Lucas)

reCAPTCHA Old Manuscripts Now!
Humans come to the rescue of the machines; this program takes a human priority (sensing human input) and adds value. (re: Harry Harrison)

Rat Brain Robot Uses Cultured Rat Neurons
Another successful implementation of Peter Watts' head cheese idea; amazingly, they have distinct personalities. With video. (re: Peter Watts)

Synthetic Telepathy For US Military Borg-Style
Yet another scheme for direct interpretation of thought - financed with a big grant from the US Army. (re: Pournelle & Niven)

Guardium UGV Like RoboCop's Enforcement Droid
This autonomous vehicular robot is the perfect complement for a certain robotic police officer. Or, it has enough time to evolve into one. (re: Various)

Memory-Erasing Chemical
Interesting advance may make an old PKD idea into a reality, coincidentally, to help people with drug-related problems. (re: Philip K. Dick)

E-Skin For Robots Stretches Like Yours
Modern science marches on, making robots nicer to the touch. (re: Various)

Robot Cops By 2084?
Not a very daring prediction, but at least they're thinking about it. (re: Isa)

Our Futuristic Data-Net Is In Trouble
Several articles have come out recently about how the U.S. is falling behind the most advanced nations in the area of Internet broadband. Our sf was more advanced, anyway. (re: Murray Leinster)

Telemedicine Platform For Consultation Works
Interesting study demonstrates that even simple two-way consultation with an appropriate telemedicine program works. With video. (re: E.M. Forster)

What Should A Hybrid Sound Like?
If a car could make any sound, what sound should it make? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Beijing Taxis Now Police State-Compatible
Be careful what you say at the Olympics, says US State Department. (re: Various)

Lookalike 'Wanted' Leaflet Features Harry Potter Actor
This is not a real compliment for actors; however, it's a technique that police hope will work. (re: William Gibson)

AlterEgo Facial Performance And Emotional AIs
This is just the thing to help computers present a more human face; look at the video, which inspires me to invent the term 'crowd computing.' (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Kill Switch For Pacemakers (And Countermeasures)
Think of the implications for the security of all implanted medical devices. (re: Various)

Beijing Opening Ceremonies 3D Display Like X-Men
I loved the 3D 'digital' display; human-powered and low resolution, but still amazing. (re: Various)

Pressure-Sensing Contact Lenses Monitor Glaucoma
This is a great development that will aid glaucoma research, and possibly help individuals monitor their own pressure if necessary. (re: Niven/Barnes)

OrbSwarm Autonomous Spherical Robotics
Spherical robots roam free in this autonomous robotic free-for-all. (re: Various)

3D Cellphone From Seiko Epson
Display technology brings unprecedented resolution to cellphone displays, as well as more D's. (re: George Lucas)

Curved Electronic Eye Camera Like Retina
Great development for Six Million Dollar Man fans; this is starting to look like bionic eyes might really work. (re: Martin Caidin)

I-9/11 Event Would Bring iPatriot Act
Interesting argument by Lessig regarding the free Internet that we all use, and how easily our freedom might be lost. (re: John Brunner)

Neowater - Like Intracellular Water
Unique process creates a specially structured water that is very similar to intracellular water; this should have both medical and industry applications. (re: Kurt Vonnegut)

Venture Capitalists Fight Over Water
If the investments of this legendary Texas oilman are any example, there is reason for concern here. (re: Various)

Grow Customized Skin
This new technique holds great promise for burn patients. (re: Frank Herbert)

US Army To Be 30 Percent Droid By 2020?
Actually, thirty percent may be too much, if they're no smarter than battle droids. (re: George Lucas)

Solar-Hydrogen House Is Energy Independent
This story about America's first solar-hydrogen residence is still good; the owner is energy-independent in a way that most of us can only envy. (re: Clifford Simak)

Hexapod Emotional Spider Robot Sees Your Face
Crawly, but not creepy - that's Hexapod the emotionally expressive robot spider. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Heart Robot Wants To Feel Your Love
I'm not sure whether or not this robot crosses the uncanny valley, but I think it's part way through creepy valley. Also, Spielberg should get a cut of any royalties. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Tesla Coil Used As Guitar Amp
Many uses have been proposed for the Tesla coil; this one seems very fitting for guitar enthusiasts. (re: Various)

Solar-Powered Fuel Cells Easy As Photosynthesis
Impressive discovery by MIT scientists may unlock the potential of fuel cells for homeowners. Prof. Nocera explains how it works in a video interview. (re: Various)

NASA iShoe Insole Could Prevent Falls On Earth
Interesting advance is a NASA spinoff; this researcher realized that the device might be able to help his grandmother - or yours. (re: Frank Herbert)

Respirocytes: Medical Science Fiction
Will assimilation into a medical insurance collective be a requirement if you receive respirocytes? Let's hope not. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

RoboStool Homotropic Furniture
Great idea from Norris Labs; I think Philip K. Dick might have recognized it - I especially like the newspaper angle in the video. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Bent Pikachu Hellraiser Borg
This isn't what you'd call a prediction; it's more of a ghastly mashup. (re: Various)

AICAR Exercise In A Pill
Researchers test out yet another drug that benefits mice; when do I get my exercise in a pill? Found a usable sf reference for this one, thanks to a reader. (re: Philip Frances Nowlan)

Titan's Liquid Lakes, Beaches Proven
Exciting photos prove that Titan really does have liquid lakes and pristine beaches. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Volcanoes To Be Harnessed For Power
Now that oil-fired power is getting more expensive, it's time to put our boots and spurs on, and tame a real power source - volcanoes! (re: Carl Binder)

RC Car Dust Mop Crash Bandicoot Mashup (Proposed)
I'm looking for game designers who could make this work. (re: Orson Scott Card)

MMOG For Military Training
This idea has a lot of implications for how US troops (and security people) might be trained in the future. Do you have a better sf reference than I do? I hope so. (re: Various)

Palette Super Model Robot
This robot mannequin can react to the people watching and can be programmed with movements taken from human models. (re: Friz Leiber)

Odor 'Map' May Lead To Digitized Smells
Will the mystery of scent be revealed? The smell of victory is in the air. (re: Aldous Huxley)

Microsoft Surface Sphere w/Send To Dark Side Gesture
Can you guess what the 'send to the dark side' gesture does? What movie do you think of when it comes to spherical information displays? Let me know. (re: L. Frank Baum)

Cuil Search Engine Optimization (Cuil Tuil No Juil)
Cuil shows a different first page of results than Google, but different isn't necessarily better. You'll need to read the first sentence to understand the title. (re: Various)

Designer Bulletproof Fashion
Finally, a solution to that pesky assassination problem that you aren't ashamed to be seen in. (re: Frank Herbert)

Jetpack From New Zealand Takes Off
Pretty nifty DIY jetpack from New Zealander Glenn Martin; includes better video than that provided by the New York Times. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Moon Base Two Inflatable Lunar Habitat
Very nice drawings of an inflatable lunar base concept; but I think that Clarke's verbal description fifty years ago is better. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Actroid DER2 Gets TV Commercial Gig Video
Another job lost to robots: this is really bad news for American actors who like to scam extra dough by appearing in Japanese commercials that will never be seen in the US. (re: Fritz Leiber)

LiftMagic Shows Enhanced You Logan's Run-Style
This website lets you see a whole new you with selected facial cosmetic surgery touch-ups before you spend a nickel. (re: Various)

Tai-robot-kun Robot Sea Bream
This robot fish looks almost good enough to eat; if it swims autonomously by, however, it's just doing its job. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Cityware - Open Source Urban Surveillance With Bluetooth
File this under interesting technology that is widely available and I'd never heard of; this project sits right on the line between modern urban planning and setting up a police state. (re: Various)

DelFly Micro Smallest Camera Plane
Look out - this tiny MAV ornithopter can be steered remotely using the video feed from its tiny camera. (re: Raymond Z. Gallune)

Neural Implant Technology Needs To Improve
At present, there is no way to permanently implant an electrode or other metallic object deep into the brain without scarring and loss of function. (re: Larry Niven)

Skypark Robotic Parking Garage: The Future Of Enormous Machines
We're all fascinated by the successful miniaturization of devices; is there room in our future for really enormous machines? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Review And Video
I wrote an article on this unique restaurant several years ago, but I recently ran across more information. (re: Jack Vance)

Cloud City On Venus?
Interesting ideas from Geoffrey Landis, scientist and sf writer. (re: Geoffrey Landis)

E-Ink Cover For Esquire Magazine
This September, you should see the first example of e-ink paper on the cover of a magazine. Not the last, I'm sure. (re: Philip K. Dick)

ReWalk Exoskeleton Video
Interesting video shows off the capabilities of this medical exoskeleton; increased mobility is the goal. (re: Fritz Lieber)

'Pitvertising' Armpit Ad Dispay
A really bad idea from the folks in advertising. (re: Various)

Robot Fashion Models
Finally, fashion models can be as thin as they need to be; if aluminum is used, they can be lighter, too. (re: Fritz Leiber)

Wikipedia Encyclopedia And Dick's Book Of The Kalends
This book is exceptional not just because of the number of articles or its concept. Phip K. Dick fans might find the general idea familiar. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Robot Seeks Illegal Aliens In Britain
It's kind of a stretch, but this did remind me of something from Blade Runner. (re: Ridley Scott)

Graphene Is Also Super Strong
One of the most remarkable materials ever discovered, graphene continues to amaze. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Wasp Knife Kills With Cold
This weapon was developed to kill animals quickly when threatened in the wild; now, it has found its way into Britain. (re: Various)

Invasion By Technologically Advanced Civilization Reported
A tragic story going on far from your local megaplex. (re: Various)

Space Agriculture For Long-Term Space Exploration
Canadian researchers seek to find another great achievement like the Canadarm by providing sustenance to astronauts on long trips. (re: Gregory Benford)

gCubik 3D Handheld Display
Display prototype aims towards three-dimensional images without special glasses, in a hand-held form factor. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Rapamycin Can Repair Specific Learning Deficits
Interesting results may bode well for specific patients, as well as suggesting that mental retardation may be, in some cases, reversible. (re: Daniel Keyes)

Flesh-Eating Robot Research Languishing
Where are the robots able to consume flesh for fuel? (re: Various)

B21 Kitchen Robot Shares Cooking Tips With Other Bots
Fascinating new robot can communicate what it learns to other robots; I'm not sure if they should be talking, but it's incredibly efficient. (re: Anthony Boucher)

Hexbug Robot Crab
This little crab would good scuttling around on your desk; its sensors help it avoid the edge. (re: William Gibson's)

Care-O-Bot Robot Does Chores One-Handed
This robot has only one arm, but it's a pretty good one, according to the specs. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Microwave Drill Heats And Pokes
Interesting development is a new twist on a basic requirement; drilling holes through different kinds of materials. (re: Frank Herbert)

DIY Snake Arm Robot Prototype
Neat little snake arm robot prototype done by a student; what have you been doing for your robotics projects? (re: H.G. Wells)

Tmsuk Telepresence Shopper Cell Phone-Controlled
Interesting robot is controlled by the user with a cell phone; go shopping by remote control. Now, that's a cool cell phone app. (re: Niven/Pournelle)

Who First Thought About Solar Powered Cars?
The earliest reference I can think of is from 1940. But there are some cool hybrids with solar panels that will be available soon. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Do People Prefer Humanoid Robots?
Interesting study use MRI data to see if human beings are much more likely to enjoy their interaction with humanoid robots. (re: Anthony Boucher)

SmartPal V Robot Picks Up, Vacuums Rec Room
SmartPal V gets better; this robot is shaping up into a great general purpose robot. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Skyhook Jess Heavy Lifter Like Pournelle's Skyhook
Interesting aircraft combines elements of a blimp and a helicopter for transporting heavy equipment and materials where there are no roads. Pournelle fans are already familiar with the idea and the name. (re: Jerry Pournelle)

Stelarc Walking Head Robot Scarier Than Necessary
This is a pretty cool robot, but I can't imagine choosing to use this over something friendlier; unless, of course, you were going to go whole hog and really creep them out. (re: Various)

Klimatec AirWater Machine Good News For Moisture Farmers
This device lets you get fresh water anywhere; at last, an office water cooler that never needs restocking. (re: George Lucas)

ST-2 Shooting Simulator Like Simak's Virtual Rifle Range
Clifford Simak had a pretty good vision of this forty years ago; see the ST-2 video and check it against Simak's ideas. (re: Clifford Simak)

Polaris Poker AI Defeats Humans, Rakes In $195K
Interesting shift in strategy brings victory to Polaris, the winner in the Man-Machine Poker Competition held in Las Vegas this weekend. (re: James Blish)

'Life Support' Using The Whole Animal
Interesting design concept brings out the idea of using animals to help human beings with their medical problems in a very visual way. (re: Various)

Sensor Vest For Computer Games?
Prototype uses sensors woven into the fabric to sense stress and muscle excitation levels. (re: Various)

Tongue Controller Uses Tongue Magnets
New controller shows a response time of less than a second and one hundred percent accuracy; that's information transfer of about 150 bits per second. (re: Alfred Bester)

Genes Responsible For Brain Growth Identified
Interesting research identifies the genetic basis for brain growth and development. (re: Aldous Huxley)

MEDUSA Controls Crowds By Talking Inside Their Heads
Device uses microwave audio effect in a manner similar to that proposed by the Overlords from Clarke's Childhood's End. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Mr. Asahi NOT World's First Robot Bartender
Mr. Asahi may not be first, but he's a pretty slick bartender; see the Mr. Asahi video for a view of the future of your bar or pub. (re: Alfred Bester)

Lilypad City Floating Island Concept
Great-looking concept design by a Belgian architect shows sustainable living in giant floating ocean cities. (re: Larry Niven)

'Brain Breathalyzer' For Astronauts
Tiny brain scanner uses special technology to sense despondency, depression and mental fatigue in astronauts. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Citysense Nightlife Indicator
Interesting cellphone app will let you find out where the wild things are - the places where the most people are congregating in a city. (re: Larry Niven)

Background Draw-a-Secret (BDAS) Makes Graphical Passwords
Interesting security technique that takes advantage of the greater ease with which we all recall pictures, as opposed to the kind of alphanumeric strings IT techs want us to use for passwords. (re: William Gibson)

Human-Pig Hybrids Approved In UK
The correspondence between this research and Reynold's book is a bit ominous; even the timing is right. I'm sure the proper safeguards will be taken. (re: Alastair Reynolds)

SnoMote Like Imperial Probe Droid
This clever little autonomous robot can explore the Antarctic ice while looking exactly like something on your ten year-old's Christmas list. (re: George Lucas)

Nanopaper - Paper Tough As Steel
This material sounds like it has a lot of potential; light as paper, with the tensile strength of steel. (re: Jules Verne)

Shadow Caddy Robot Is Golfer's Dream Bot
Very simple design and execution makes this a highly usable bot; see the video, and compare it to four other much more complicated ideas for carrying bags around. (re: John Brunner)

Sqish Alt Sat Dish Vanishes With Sqishoflage
Interesting camouflaged satellite dish is not a dish - it's a Sqish. (re: Various)

Acoustic Time Reversal Underwater Broadband
New technology advances the science of transmitting data underwater; will this lead to free WiFi in Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? (re: Rockne S. O'Bannon)

Artificial Neural Network Predicts Death Row Executions
Slightly disturbing article about how computers can predict who will actually be executed on death row better than human observers. (re: Harry Harrison)

NanoSail-D Solar Wind-Rider
Sailing between the planets with noting but light pressure is a long-held sf dream; NASA engineers take a good shot at it this summer. (re: Jules Verne)

Breast Motion Power Harvesting iPod-Charging Bra
Interesting engineering challenge with several possible solutions; women may one day charge their iPods with their bras. (re: Frank Herbert)

Avatars United: Facebook For Avatars
New website promises to bring the avatars together from across all virtual worlds; read the exclusive Technovelgy interview. Sorry, no real people allowed. (re: Various)

Two Page E-Book Makes Readers Flip
This is an idea that has been tried before; take a look at the video and then see what Toshiba developed four years ago. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Robot Snakes In Pipes Matrix Sentinel-Style
Scandinavian research to send robotic cleaners slithering through the pipes. (re: Various)

Your Face Is The TV Remote Control
Interesting project shows how your 'face' can be an 'interface' for controlling machines. (re: Various)

Massive Balls In Fact And Fiction
For some reason, enormous (and, often, spinning) spheres form a kind of focal point for science fiction movies. I don't know why that is. (re: Various)

Anti-Paparazzi Sunglasses DIY Counter Surveillance
Nifty how-to video shows how to frustrate those cameras that are constantly trying to get a picture of your face. (re: Various)

Designer-Babies Perfected With Three Parents
This could help couples who are concerned that their children will have inevitable genetic diseases. (re: Various)

Teen Hacker Raises Grades Wargames-Style
This teen faces 38 years in prison for changing his grades. (re: John Badham)

Live Luggage Ready To Roll
Nowadays, the airlines will probably charge extra for luggage that can move itself. (re: John Brunner)

ReadyBot Robot Picks Up Like Heinlein 'Hired Girl'
This robot has a key ability that I noted was lacking in commercial vacuuming robots. (re: Robert Heinlein)

The Trons Robot Band
Any thoughts on what kind of music would be best for a robotic band? (re: Various)

Space Sportilization Earth-Based Sports In Space
Interesting effort to involve kids in doing fitness exercises on Earth while predicting what would happen if you tried it in free fall. It also has a name more dorky than 'technovelgy.' (re: Various)

AMP Robot Chases You With Tunes
Being chased by robots through your house is not always a positive experience, but AMP will banish those nightmares in which you are pursued by bots. (re: Various)

GINGER Moon Radar Benefits Miners On Earth
Very neat technology transfer from ESA's space program helps keep Canadian miners safer by detecting hidden cracks in the roofs of mines. (re: Larry Niven)

ID-U Biometrics Eye Tracking Signature
Interesting new method of secure identification gathers a unique response to stimulus each time; old data cannot be copied and presented to the system. (re: Various)

Never-Stop Rail Transit System Proposed
Take a look at this approach to a well-known problem; sf writers have their own ideas. (re: Robert Heinlein)

'Skin-Tenna' Signal Broadcast By Largest Human Organ
Interesting concept uses a 'creeping wave effect' to broadcast signals sideways along the surface of your skin. (re: Various)

E.M.A. Robot Eternal Maiden Actualization Video
This curvaceous fembot goes on sale soon; take a look at the video. (re: Fritz Leiber)

Is He Legend?
Just imagine that you are a scientist, and somebody takes the basic elements of your research and turns it into a grisly horrific movie in which humanity is destroyed. (re: Richard Matheson)

Robot Teddy Bear Chats With Drunk Drivers
If you think that getting into an argument with your car over drinking and driving is a bit surreal, you're right. But, bear knows best. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Paralyzed Walk In Second Life
Thanks to neurological research combined with computer-based virtual reality systems, the wheelchair-bound may walk again. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Foldit - Design Proteins With Online Game
Amazing game lets online gamers participate in evolution; can you design a better protein? With video. (re: Various)

Chembot Squishy SquishBot Robots Desired By DARPA
DARPA is on the look out for a new kind of soft meso-scale robot that can sneak under doors like an octopus. (re: Rudy Rucker)

Fuel Powered Muscles For Robots
Will it be possible to have a human-sized robot that can perform the same work as a person on battery power alone? (re: Martin Caidin)

Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'
Interesting combination of insulators produces a conductor. (re: Frank Herbert)

Let's Hear It For The Vague Blur!
Would you feel better if you were a mere blur to the security forces that monitor our nation's security cameras? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Gina Cloth-Covered Car From BMW
Watch the video to see how much this prototype car acts like a mammal with skin; I think we need to talk about exactly what sfnal properties the skin should have. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Flexible Rigid Biopolymer Inspired By Sea Cucumbers
Researchers look to the humble sea cucumber for help in finding new materials for implantable electrodes. (re: William Gibson)

Acoustic Cloak Research Turns Practical
Creating sonically invisible pillars in concert halls would probably confuse the dickens out of bats, but music lovers would like it. (re: Various)

Superconducting Electric Motor Car
Now that gas costs $4 per gallon in the States, superconductivity in a car seems like a good idea. (re: Various)

Mumbling Robots Preferred By Humans
What should a robot do when it can't come up with an answer right away for impatient humans? (re: Various)

Hexapod Robot CNC Router
I'd never look at a six-legged robot and think to myself 'This thing would make a great CNC router.' But Matt Denton did, and you'll be glad he did. (re: Jack Vance)

Sealed Goldfish Chain Would Disturb Titan Colonists
This unique novelty item from China has a terrible secret. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Electrolocation Robotic Hand Has PreTouch
It's amazing how ignoring the human paradigm for vision-based control can succeed - this is how sharks would make robotic hands. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Tactile 'Display' For Fingertips
Can your fingers 'see' at a distance? This flexible display could make tele-feeling transfer systems possible. (re: Various)

Bacteria Eats Plastic; What Could Go Wrong?
Clever teen has a great idea - maybe somewhere in nature, the plastic bag problem has already been solved. (re: Michael Crichton)

Robot Nanny Makes Poor Role Model For Children
PaPeRo, iRobi, Jupiter, Qrio - are these excessively cute robots the roboticists answer to Mary Poppins? Or a danger? You be the judge. (re: David H. Keller)

AutoFish Sorter Now, People Sorter Later
Nevermind why you need to be able to sort people at an incredibly high rate of speed; here's a start on it. (re: John Varley)

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