Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Zhu Bot Zhejiang Scrap Metal Transformer Sculptures
Transformers are near and dear to the hearts of scrap metal enthusiasts in China. As you can see. (re: Various)

FLARE Creates 'Skin' For Buildings
Interesting idea for a flexible, interactive membrane that would allow a building to let air and light in, and let freedom of expression out. (re: James Boswell)

'Hug And Kiss' Baby Ankle Monitor
This handy pair of devices keep mothers and children together in crowded hospitals. (re: Philip K. Dick)

DARPA Gandalf Project And Philip K. Dick
The ability to target a single individual is one of Philip K. Dick's personal nightmares; he had a very special understanding of the military mind. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Beautification Engine Digital Facial
This goes way beyond photoshopping away a few wrinkles; and yet, sf authors have led the way on this idea. (re: Bruce Sterling)

Repliee R-1 Robot Child In Time For Halloween
It's hard for robots to cross the uncanny valley; take a look at a video of Repliee R-1 and a presentation on the uncanny valley idea. (re: Various)

NeuroSky MindSet Brainwave-Controlled Game Demoed
My son can't wait for the MindSet version of the The Force Unleashed game. Don't think it will happen? I find your lack of faith disturbing... (re: Various)

Fungus Accelerates Spores At 180K g (Video)
Fascinating video shows how tiny living creatures can fire objects at incredible accelerations. (re: Gary Shockley)

Blogging Houseplant Midori-San
Maybe you don't listen to your plants, but you can read what this one has to say. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Holographic 3D Television - And No Glasses
A nice step forward has been taken in creating true 3D holographic displays without funny-looking glasses. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Submersible Aircraft - DARPA's Flying Sub?
I really think that everyone who watched TV in the Sixties knows what they want; and what have those DARPA guys left out of their spec? (re: Irwin Allen)

Solar Camel-Back Clinic From Mpala Project
Remarkable development to help bring perishable medicines to people in the most remote and inaccessible parts of the world. (re: )

Liquid Camera Lens Controlled By Sound
Using a liquid as a lens? I read about it forty years ago. (re: Frank Herbert)

Shape-Shifting Bomber In Need Of Plowsharing
Unfortunate budget cuts for DARPA may signal an opportunity for the rest of us to think of peacetime uses for cool military stuff. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Photovoltaic Paint On Steel Sheets By The Corus Group
Fascinating new technology comes only about a decade after Larry Niven wrote about it. (re: Larry Niven)

Anna Konda Robot Spraying Water Video
Neat video of the Anna Konda firefighting snake robot spraying water; could be effective in mine fires or other closed quarters. (re: Emmett McDowell)

CkBot Modular Robot Self-Assembles, Picks Gait
CkBot can self-assemble and adopt its gait to the task at hand; it's pretty good at putting itself back together. (re: James Schmitz)

ELISHA Handheld Personal Biosensors
Okay, Trek fans, you've been waiting for this one since 1967. Dr. McCoy, your scanner is almost ready. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

DoCoMo Cellphone Projector
This looks like a pretty cool way to see movies in your cubicle, or make a slide presentation without a lot of extra gear. (re: Jack Vance)

'Thinking Cap' Now With TMS Coil
Sydney researchers try using transcranial magnetic stimulation to improve ordinary people, with anecdotal results. SF writers love this idea. (re: James Blish)

ExoFly Flapping Planetary Survey Aerobot
Visionary use of the tiny DelFly micro camera plane in planetary exploration and survey is planned. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Murata Unicycle-Riding Robot
Cute video of a very balanced bot. (re: George Lucas)

Fictional Foodstuffs: The Snacks Of Science Fiction
Does food play an important role in science fiction books and movies? I've got my list. (re: Various)

Emdrive Electromagnetic Drive For Chinese Space Ships?
Is this technology a physical impossibility? The Chinese space program is determined to find out. (re: James Blish)

Element Four Watermill Needs No Droid
These devices keep adding features. Soon, you'll be saying 'What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.' (re: George Lucas)

Paul Otlet On The Internet (A Century Early)
Fascinating video describes how Otlet's work in the 1930's describes the functionality of the Internet. (re: Murray Leinster)

Yotify Scouts Work The Web For You
Nifty application site offers 'google alerts on steroids' which sf fans will certainly recognize from some of their favorite novels. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Webkare - Virtual Boyfriends
Are men or women more likely to become interested in a virtual friend/lover? Japanese schoolgirls are voting with their fingers on this one. (re: William Gibson)

NASA Moon Base Nuclear Reactor
It's an old idea, but it still offers a practical alternative to getting power during those long lunar nights. (re: Various)

LHC 'Malfunction' No Accident?
Interesting alternate explanation for the problems that have temporarily halted the onward march of particle physics. (re: John Cramer)

Future Attribute Screening Technologies Precrime Detector
You'd better be thinking nice thoughts the next time you go anywhere that DHS has a portable precrime detector handy - the FAST M2. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Separate Parasites From Hosts - With Light
Clever technique leads to better research samples in studies of parasitic organisms. (re: Robert J. Sawyer)

4Moms Stroller: Death Cab For Cutie?
I'm thinking that I must have something in my database under the category of collapsible vehicle, but anyway. (re: Various)

SentiSight Object Recognition For Robot Overlords
Until they can easily acquire the ability to recognize objects, robots will be no threat to us. (re: Various)

Brando Spy Glassses Have Camera, Player Built-in
Possibly first occurrence of a pair of glasses with both camera and player built into the frames. (re: David Brin)

Minority Report Iris Scanners Ordered By US Army
Mr. Anderton! A new future awaits you, thanks to the new iris scanning technology that will let the military take your iris scan anytime, without your knowledge. (re: Steven Spielberg)

Super-Resolution Vision System Super Sniper Scope
DARPA goes sfnal in creating a sniper scope that can see through the fog of war. (re: Various)

Satellites To Limit Your Driving Speed
This will make you long for the days when Big Brother contented Himself with merely watching you. (re: Nat Schachner)

Performance Improving Self Contained Exoskeleton for Swimming (PISCES)
The military hopes to open up the underwater realm with mechanical super frogmen; fans of Brin's 'Sundiver' may find this familiar. (re: David Brin)

'Spit Parties:' Social Networking Gattaca-Style
If you've ever felt like you need to party with the 'right people' there's no time like the present to apply scientific rigor to this social process. (re: Various)

Pribot Robotic Prius Tours 'Frisco
New entry in self-driving sweepstakes comes not from a huge team but from one very determined engineer; you may recall his self-driving motorcycle from four years ago. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Erotic Sensation Self-Stimulation Via Brain Implants
Interesting story surfaces about this topic; Larry Niven and Michael Crichton have covered at least some of this ground decades ago. (re: Larry Niven)

Tributes.com Digital Obituary News
Want to live forever on the web? This site intends to bring obituary notices to the web, with the potential to offer multi-media tributes to comfort the bereaved. (re: Various)

Evolved Earthworms To Clean Up Toxic Metals
Hardy super worms may provide a way to clean up contaminated soil. (re: Larry Niven)

Atheon Temple To Science Open For Worship Soon
Interesting art project that presents a scientific alternative to worship; fans of Neal Stephenson will hear echoes of his new book 'Anathem.' (re: Various)

Indian Court Says Brain Scan Proves Murder
Using a test called Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature, an Indian court convicts a woman based on her brain contents. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Mars Lander Spots Robby Driving In Distance
I think that these pictures beamed back from Mars last week bear closer examination. (re: Various)

Plastic Logic Reader 8.5x11 E-Book
Very hopeful story for those of us who are looking forward to a nice piece of e-paper to work with. (re: Various)

'Water Bears' Survive Unprotected In Space
These tiny animals are a marvel, able to survive the pitiless rigors of open space. (re: Various)

Gene Therapy Could Restore Hearing To The Deaf
Milestone in gene therapy demonstrates the possibility of curing the deaf. (re: Various)

Self-Propelled Underwater Fish Cages
Prototype testing by an MIT researcher is making me think of vast underwater fish farms under remote control. (re: Various)

Moral Performance Enhancement
Is it possible for a person to behave better through the use of pharmaceuticals? (re: Various)

The Evolution Of Spore
Fascinating computer game has many roots in both science and fiction. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

E-Ink Cover World's First
Very impressive first effort; Esquire leads the way in bringing this futuristic technology right to your local news stand. (re: Greg Bear)

Book-Scanning ScanRobot Neater Than Navicloud Custom Debinder
Nicely implemented book-scanning robot tastefully leaves books intact after yanking their text into the digital age. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Dog Wan Robot Available For Lease
Here's a cute little robotic dog ready to lease in Japan; it can even carry a small bag for you. (re: John Brunner)

Gangs Take PINs From Card Readers
Organized gangs are defrauding entire villages in Britain; common theft aided by sophisticated technology. (re: John Cameron)

The Fremen Urinal Frank Herbert Never Imagined
These devices could save countless gallons of water, which helps even on water-rich planets. (re: Frank Herbert)

This Alien Earth
Where do you think the most alien environment on Earth can be found? (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

La Princesse Mechanical Spider
Giant steampunk mechanical spider Liverpool rampage! That was my alternate title. (re: Various)

Robotic Busboy Like R2D2
Intel-sponsored research catches up to what we all saw in Star Wars a quarter-century ago. (re: George Lucas)

Google Navy: Water-Based Data Centers
Avast, there: Google has filed a patent application for a sea-going Internet of sustainable data havens. (re: Bruce Sterling)

Spy Satellite Gait Analysis ID's You
Amazing technical development may make routine identification possible from orbit. (re: Various)

Blood From Stem Cells: Tru Blood For Real?
Researchers come up with a way to create blood in quantity from stem cells, just when television vampires will really need it. (re: Charlain Harris)

Genealogy DNA Databases Trek-Style
Perhaps one day there will be some sort of computer printout of ancestors and descendants; in the meantime, DNA testing gets better. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Lower Limit Of Quantum Communication Speed
Interesting work determines a lower limit for the impossible communication that Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance.' (re: E.E. 'Doc' Smith)

Personal Wind Turbines And Rooftop Windmills
Interesting strategy for a personal supply of renewable energy has been around for about a century. (re: John Jacob Astor)

Lunar Contour Crafting - 'Print' A Moonbase
With increased funding, a futuristic idea has gotten a necessary shot in the arm. (re: Various)

LifeBed System Like Star Trek Sick Bay
Now, EU nations can move into a Trekkie future. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Microgrippers Grab, Cut Tissue Internally
Interesting new microsurgical technique is uncomfortably similar to a Neal Stephenson device. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Double-Taker (Snout) Offers Trans-Species Eye Contact
Interesting interactive project combines trans-species eye contact with autonomous surveillance. (re: Various)

Toshiba LED Pico Projector
Forty years ago, this was a science-fictional item. (re: Jack Vance)

Robot Helicopters Learn By Watching Experts
Artificial intelligence brings Skynet just that much closer; (re: Various)

Digital Daewoo Folding Screen DID-FS
I think Vernor Vinge might have seen this coming; it's a fascinating combination of old and new. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Space Marines Idea Takes Off
Interesting idea slowly moves into a real organization; and who first thought of space marines? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Deep Sea Mining Tube Worms
I think Larry Niven nailed this one forty years ago; the idea of a mining worm is even older. (re: Larry Niven)

Draganflyer X6 Helicopter Has HD Camera
Now, that's some stylish surveillance gear; the included video should push all your buttons. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Medical Exoskeleton Helps Paralyzed Man To Walk
Nice story about a man who is able to walk again, and the sfnal precursors that put this idea into the minds of roboticists. (re: Fritz Leiber)

MS InPrivate Browsing May Cut Off Google's Air Supply
The endless struggle between Google and Microsoft goes on; this little-known feature could have big effects. (re: Various)

What Apple Could Learn From SF: iPhone As Mediator
There is a lesson for Steve Jobs and Apple regarding iPhone success; science fiction fans already know it. (re: Frederik Pohl)

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)

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