Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

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)

Electro-Sensitive People And Lo Teks
Can Wi-Fi actually harm particular individuals? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Hacking The Mind Of The Soldier
A couple of interesting articles show the many concerns about providing mind- and mood-altering medications while in the field. (re: Joe Haldeman)

Human Universal Load Carrier Exoskeleton From Berkeley Bionics
Very nicely implemented exoskeleton device from the makers of the BLEEX is ready for you to place your orders now. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Cellphone Tracking Can Track Your Habits
Study shows how a pattern of our movements can be created; our habits make predicting our movements child's play. (re: Ray Bradbury)

Robofish Swim Autonomously And Communicate Wirelessly
Robotic fish are coming right along; now they can talk with each other. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Untethered Microrobots Dance, Form Self-Organized Structures
Now people'll be saying that the robots can outdo the angels, dancing on the head of a pin, an' all. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Electronic Voting Banned In Netherlands
Someday, Americans will figure out how to conduct uniformly democratic elections. (re: John Brunner)

ParanoidLinux Escaping From Doctorow Book 'Little Brother'
Interesting idea from Doctorow's novel may be seen in the wild sometime this year. (re: Cory Doctorow)

RepRap Machine Can (Almost) Duplicate Itself
RepRap is starting to get close; it can build almost all of its own parts. (re: Maurice A. Hugi)

BokitoViewers Prevent Direct Eye Contact
This handy conflict-resolution system would almost certainly be helpful in a variety of situations. (re: Various)

The Secret Lives Of Invisible Magnetic Fields
I really don't understand what is being presented, but you'll enjoy it. (re: Various)

Sci Fi Channel To Make Money Ender's Game-Style
'We may be young, but we're not powerless. We play by their rules long enough and it becomes our game.' (re: Orson Scott Card)

Lessons To Be Downloaded Into Brains Of Schoolchildren
Forward-thinking schoolmen get a jolt from the Matrix. (re: James Blish)

Billboard Camera Pictures You Watching
The best part is, the guy in the picture shows you where to spray-paint yourself some reasonable privacy. (re: Stephen Spielberg)

Owada's Freezing Method Vs. Carbonite
Flash frozen body parts may result from this method of freezing that seems to work with a variety of materials. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Inflatable Spherical Robots May Explore Mars
These robots bear an uncanny resemblance to the bouncing robotic guardians on the 1960's TV show The Prisoner. Hopefully, Martians haven't been watching the series. (re: Various)

Six-Legged Lumberjack Robotic Vehicle
Take a look at the video - this is one vehicle that can move easily through the woods. (re: George Lucas)

Fracture Putty For Compound Fractures - DARPA
Clifford Simak thought about this almost fifty years ago; it's about time DARPA tries to make it real. (re: Clifford Simak)

Wall-Climbing Robots Use Compliant Electroadhesion
These robots have a unique way of sticking to just about any surface. (re: Michael Crichton)

Ikea Stuff Packs For Sims 2 'Perky Pat' Layouts
You may not be able to afford the furniture, or an apartment with enough space to put it, but you can have your Ikea furniture in your Sims 2 'microworld.' (re: Philip K. Dick)

Fournier's 25 Mile Skydiving Hopes Dashed
After a long wait, and many years of effort, a disappointing result. (re: Various)

Useful Body Modifications - The Ruler Tattoo
Do you have a useful body modification? I could really have used a nice ruler tattoo when building decks over summer vacations. (re: Samuel R. Delany)

Seasteading Institute: Homestead The Seas
Interesting idea has some funding from wealthy folks in Silicon Valley and yet San Jose is being paved over as fast as they can do it. (re: Roger Zelazny)

DimP Video Player Controls By Touch
Very interesting way to gain direct control over your videos; skip the dull side controls and just manipulate the action directly. (re: Various)

Fortress World Barbarism Via Climate Change
Sudden changes in the desirability of land are never a good sign; how will we adapt? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Fluke Handheld Thermal Imager Predator-Style
Very nifty thermal imaging device you can point and shoot with. Unaccountably, a shoulder blaster is not offered in combination with this device. (re: )

LA Towers Dystopian Blade Runner Facade
Can't wait to live in the Los Angeles of 2019? This real estate developer wants to speed things up. (re: Ridley Scott)

Computer Built Into Desk Concept
This is a great design concept, especially since it seems to involve almost no actual Photoshopping; John Brunner did a better job with the concept forty years ago. (re: John Brunner)

NASA Biohazard Biosensor Nanotech-Based
This technology is really coming along; it's also another case in which some space technology came home to Earth. (re: Greg Bear)

Hopping Robot Sets Record
Hopping is a surprisingly good exploration strategy; biomimetic robots can take advantage of hopping. (re: Various)

Haptic Creature Communicates Tribble-Style
How best to explore the mysteries of haptics - touching behavior - using robotics. Because tribbles aren't real, of course. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Planilum Light-Emitting Material
Interesting invention is close to a material that is light-emitting in and of itself. (re: Richard Morgan)

We All See The Future Like Dick's 'Prethink'
Mind-blowing idea about human cognition makes Philip K. Dick's prethink more thinkable. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Training Robots To Recognize You Is A Bad Idea
Should robots be trained to recognize individual human beings? I'm not so sure - but Active Appearance Modeling is making great strides at CMU. (re: Various)

Humans! Tutor Computers And Robots In Your Spare Time
Harry Harrison first described this in 1956; I notice that in the real future, no one is getting paid for it. (re: Harry Harrison)

UK Plans Massive Phone, E-Mail Database
It's so tedious to pick and choose when surveilling citizens; why not just keep track of everything? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Extinct Tasmanian Tiger DNA Recovered
DNA from an extinct species has been successfully recovered, granting some hope that one day it may be possible to recover extinct animal species. (re: Michael Crichton)

Self-Repairing Aircraft Mimic Borg Cubes
It may be possible for aircraft to repair structural damage in flight - kind of like a Borg cube, but with no offers to assimilate passengers. Yet. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

NeuroArm Robotic Surgeon 'Hands'
I think Raymond Z. Gallun called this one in 1939; think 'caliper slowness, minuteness and precision.' (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Do Aliens Have Souls?
The Vatican's chief astronomer thinks that the existence of aliens would not contradict Catholic belief. But what about their souls? (re: James Blish)

Mediseus Surgical Drilling Simuator Remote Haptic Tutor
This device not only uses force-feedback techniques, it's also usable as a remote device; students and teachers can be on different continents. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Toriton Plus Like Cylon Datastream
Humans seem to be catching up with Cylon tech; at least this music controller seems to have more going on than simply the production of music. (re: Various)

Giant Space Vegetables Now On Earth!
The seeds for this monster harvest spent time - maybe too much time - in low Earth orbit. (re: Gregory Benford)

Robot Directs Detroit Symphony Orchestra Video
Nice video of humble ASIMO leading the DSO; will robots be telling you what to do in the future? (re: Various)

LawnBott Robotic Lawn Mower Bows To Cell Phones
The WWII generation dreamed of these; now we have them; this device also chats it up with your phone. (re: Clifford Simak)

Shinoda Plasma Video Wallpaper
Nice prototype presages small-scale production of even larger version this fall. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Solar-Powered Bra
This versatile item of apparel also comes with two reusable drink containers. (re: Schachner & Zagat)

Rotating House Lets You Pick Your View
Interesting full-size rotating house is a bit of a shock to the locals; Frank Herbert had a more elegant concept, though. (re: Frank Herbert)

So You Want To Be A Mentat
What does it take to develop yourself into a Mentat, the human computers from Frank Herbert's Dune? (re: Frank Herbert)

First Space Lawyer (2008 and 1941)
Michael Dodge may be the first real American space lawyer, but he still has to take a backseat to Kerry Dale, sky-lawyer. (re: Nat Schachner)

Pinta The Robot Sailboat
This robotic sailboat reminds me of another kind of automated vehicle, sailing even further. (re: Larry Niven)

Robot Surgeon - Autonomous Tabletop Robotic Surgery At Duke
Remarkable precision from this autonomous robot; it can perform needle biopsies and other procedures without human guidance. (re: Larry Niven)

Pilot View FPV 2400 Sees Out Model Plane Window
This is a pretty cool idea; for those who don't have the time or the money to get a pilot's license and plane, here's a way to get up in the air more cheaply. (re: Various)

Robots May Get Compound Insect Eye Vison
Interesting biomimetic research from the Naval Warfare Center, done in collaboration with the common housefly, Musca domestica. (re: Various)

CAMRAS Recycles Every Breath You Take
NASA continues developing new space technology for use in the upcoming Orion crew capsule, the Altair lunar lander and lunar rovers. (re: George O. Smith)

E-paper You Can Write On From Seiko Epson E Ink
Collaboration produces a very nifty e-paper display that you can write notes on if you wish. (re: Isaac Asimov)

XNAV Steer Your Way By X-Ray Pulsar
A couple of papers suggest that XNAV might provide us with solar system-wide 'GPS' - good thing sf writers were already thinking about space beacons. (re: George O. Smith)

Zingo Local Anesthesia Like Star Trek Hypospray
Although Star Trek is not the origin of the hypospray idea, take a look at this new applicator. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

SEMAINE Project For Sensitive Artificial Listener (SAL) Robots
It looks like these real-life computer scientists are trying to follow in the footsteps of the fictional Dr. Chandra - they're trying to create SAL 9000. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Rag Tag Space Fleets Line Up With Magnetism
How can those space fleets stay in formation without constant use of reaction mass? In space, CGI graphics can't make up for reaction mass. (re: Various)

Pixie Dust Magical Pinkie Regeneration
Amazing story, if true. Even more amazing, if it can work on larger and more complex structures in the body. (re: Various)

'McSleepy' Automated Anesthesia Machine
This device seems to provide anesthesia quality that is as good or better than an ordinary human anesthesiologist. (re: Various)

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