Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Wasabi-Based Odor Alarm
What would be a good name for an odor alarm? Perhaps an ... odalarm. (re: Frank Herbert)

BigDog Robass More Coordinated Than I Am
I was startled to observe this level of progress in the creation of quadrupedal robots. (re: Anthony Boucher)

Wheat-Killing Fungus Destroys Entire Fields
This fungus that has destroyed entire wheat fields on two continents will hopefully not lead to the death of all grasses. (re: John Christopher)

SYMBRION - Symbiotic Evolutionary Robot Organisms
Interesting European project on the possibility that small, simple robots could evolve their own adaptive software strategies. Stanislaw Lem described this in detail fifty years ago. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

Modu Cell Phone Module Adds Connectivity To Everything
The remarkable Modu is a transformational cell phone concept; use it to add connectivity to practically anything - with the right sleeve. (re: Various)

RobuCAB Robotic Taxi
RobuCAB looks kind of cute, and it doesn't need space for a driver. What writer could think of a good personality for a robot cab driver? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Audeo Neckband Voiceless Phone Calls
The new neckband allows you to 'think' and speak. This will really mess up the 'Can you hear me now?' cell phone pitch; you'll just watch the guy sitting there. (re: David Brin)

'Tunnel Of Truth' Total Recall-Style
Interesting concept seems to reveal that the Transportation Security Laboratory Director is a sf movie fan. (re: Paul Verhoeven)

Chassis The Drink Dispensing Robot
Ah, a homebrew bartender capable of dispensing your favorite, uh, brew. (re: Mike Resnick)

Forget The Wookie - Two Robots Play Board Game
What's a robot to do when tired of hirsute aliens making threats while playing board games? (re: George Lucas)

Duroquinone Molecule Nano-Brain
Absurdly small computer can outperform the typical transistor. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Steampunk Crab Fort Art
Really terrific art concept for a Victorian nightmare. (re: Various)

New Porter Robot - Matsushita Mechanorg
Very nifty autoporter robot can find its way around in airports - and follows you where ever you go. (re: John Brunner)

Should Website Advertisers Know Your Name?
John Anderton! Your future ads are ready for you now, John Anderton. We do all this for you, John Anderton! (re: Steven Spielberg)

Break a Glass With Your Voice
If you want your own weirding module, you should start small - on a glass - before testing it out on Sardaukar. (re: Frank Herbert)

Sociable Garbabge Can Robot
This little trash can robot prototype may remind you of an upcoming Pixar film - or a Bruce Sterling novel from twenty years ago. (re: Bruce Sterling)

'Jules Verne' ATV Launch Video
Very nice work by the ESA on the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle - can you think of an earlier fictional reference to a vehicle capable of automated space docking? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

iRex Iliad E-Book Reader AND Writer
For an alternative to the Amazon Kindle, consider the iLiad device from iRex. No mere reader, it also lets you write all over your ebooks. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

e-Menu Interactive Restaurant Menu
This is a very nicely done implementation of a great idea - you'll think of this one the next time you're wondering 'where is my waiter?' (re: Edgar Rice Burroughs)

Iron Man Dreaming of Biological Fabrication of Circuits
I've always admired the diatoms - they are truly our friends. But now, they might even be able to help us make smaller circuits. (re: Unknown)

Solar Leaves - Electrochemical and Biological
There are TWO uses for artificial solar leaves - do you know what they are? Also, not all artificial solar leaves are electrochemical. (re: Thomas Easton)

Codename 'Reynard' - Hunt Terrorists In Virtual Worlds
Terrorists are expanding their efforts on the 'net; al Qaeda alone has at least 5,600 websites online. (re: John Brunner)

Microsoft Surface Sphere: Multi-Touch Crystal Ball
And who do we know who would possibly be interested in something as far-fetched as a spherical computer display? (re: Frank Baum)

Top Ten Star Trek Techs Made Real
The top ten science-fictional technologies from classic Star Trek? Sounds like something I might have done. (Actually, I did.) (re: Gene Roddenberry)

NASA's Chariot Is Not Your Father's Moon Rover
NASA has a prototype of their new moon rover; take a look at the video, and consider what Clarke and Heinlein described for lunar travel. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Smart Paint: Electronic Power System Surfaces
Ah, remember those days when the label on a plastic bottle or similar surface was static? Soon, companies will be able to change it even after you buy the product. (re: Steven Spielberg)

DARPA Vulture Five Year Flying Wing
DARPA sets yet another ambitious goal; I don't understand why nobody remembers the amazing prototype aircraft that reached 100,000 feet on solar power alone a few years ago. (re: E.E. 'Doc' Smith)

Smart Goggles Identify, Remember What You See
Interesting prototype system cuts across a variety of science-fictional ideas, among them, an AI that has people working for it - identifying common objects. (re: Amitav Ghosh)

Zimmer Frame-based Nursing Home Positioning System
Nifty invention provides navigational support for people with short term memory problems. (re: Various)

ReadyBot Robot Ready To Clean Your Kitchen
This little robot is made from common components to do a common job - clean up the kitchen. (re: Various)

Mars Phoenix Lander On Wide World Of Mars
This is an amazing use of resources - who knew we had so many resources on Mars? (re: George O. Smith)

WCCTV 3G Covert Backpack - A Surveillance Vest
This little item could be used for surveillance, yes, but also sousveillance. And it has a built-in panic button. (re: David Brin)

Rain-Making Bacteria May Affect Climate
If we knew more about how rain forms, we might be able to have some control over rainfall. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Hospital Bed Of The Future From The EU
Futuristic hospital beds are not yet being designed according to specs - specs provided by Heinlein, Pohl and Otomo. (re: Frederik Pohl)

iPhones For Freshmen At ACU
This video shows some near-future applications for iPhones that will be used by freshmen at ACU this fall. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Autonomous Robot Weapons For Terrorists?
This may sound a bit far-fetched, but insurgents have always been adaptive. (re: William Gibson)

Tactical Ground Reporting System - TIGR By The Tail
Charles Stross writes about this idea very convincingly, and with lots of good applications, in his most recent novel. (re: Charles Stross)

Nokia Morph Cell Phone Concept
The funny thing about this advanced concept is that parts of it are already available from other cell phone makers. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Ribbit Amphibian Cellphone Internet Mashup
Ribbit is an interesting cell phone start-up from those people in Silicon Valley. Why did it take so long for them to start a phone company? (re: Frederik Pohl)

LENA: Baby's Verbal LifeLog
Do we really want our children tagged, recorded and analyzed like dolphins and bears? Apparently, yes. (re: Various)

Transparent Mobile Search - Just Frame The Question
Fascinating interface design presents an interesting solution to the problem of stating (framing) your search query. (re: Charles Stross)

Adobe Light-Field Lens Video - Blade Runner Cluster
The Adobe superlens cluster seems pretty close to what Deckard used in Blade Runner to find amazing details in a photograph. (re: Ridley Scott)

Tattoo Display Fueled By Blood
Ever misplaced your cell phone, or forgotten to charge it? If this concept becomes reality, your problems are solved. (re: John Varley)

Honeywell Micro Air Vehicle Tested By Miami Police
Tested extensively in Iraq, the Honeywell MAV is on its way to your neighborhood as part of police surveillance. (re: Michael Crichton)

MIT Biorubber-Based Band-Aid Geckohesive
I was just joking around last week, but researchers are way ahead of the rest of us in their use of nanopatterning. (re: Various)

Momenta PC Lifelog For Most Exciting Moments
This interesting concept has a neat twist on the lifelog idea. (re: Charles Stross)

Electronic Taster Has A Nose For Coffee
There are more than 1,000 different volatile chemicals that create the taste and aroma of coffee. Can a machine equal human judgement? (re: Ray Bradbury)

Shuttle Atlantis Landing Video, As Per Heinlein
I know, this story has been covered all over, but did you know that Robert Heinlein was an early visionary on the idea of a space shuttle? (re: Robert Heinlein)

MoonLITE 'Mole' Penetrators For Lunar Exploration
Intriguing proposed mission between cooperating space agencies would deliver penetrating mole-like instrument packages into the lunar crust. (re: EC Tubb)

Sleep Waking Robot: Your Dreams Via Interpretive Dance
A person's sleep data are presented (or interpreted) by a robot. I was tempted to call it 'Humans Learn Nothing From Forbidden Planet.' (re: Various)

BIOTACT Whiskered Robot Rat
Nature may have figured out the best way of sensing the immediate environment in poorly-lit, cluttered places. (re: Ray Bradbury)

MDI OneCat AirCar Breezes Toward Consumers
The AirCar concept still seems to be sound; the Tatas don't put their money in products that don't work. (re: Various)

Self-Cleaning Wool And Silk Fabrics
Self-cleaning clothing would be great; it would be particularly good for clothes that ordinarily must be dry-cleaned, like wool and silk. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Radio Telescopes On Moon's Farside
This telescope array might be the best way to answer the really big questions about the origin of the universe. (re: Various)

Piezoelectric Zinc Oxide Nanowire Fashions For Spring
When I think of all the energy wasted in the sixties from corduroy pants alone, it makes me weep. (re: Frank Herbert)

BodyMod In Old School SF - Quant Suff!
Phantasmagoric body modification may be new in the meat space near you, but sf writers have been thinking about it for generations. (re: Samuel R. Delany)

Readius Polymer Vison E-Ink Video
This video lets you see the future in the palm of someone else's hand. (re: William Gibson)

Motorized Web Will Keep Hearts Beating
This fabric will be an artificial myocardium that wraps around the heart, squeezing it on the beat. (re: Various)

Eon Neurostimulation Lasts 10 Years
Alfie Bester wrote about a cool power pack that could supercharge human performance. This isn't quite it, but we're getting there. (re: Alfred Bester)

Kiyomuri Samurai Robot Now With Improved Gait Stabilization
Kiyomuri may not have much in the way of sword-wielding skills, but he's got the walk down pat. (re: Various)

Robotic Flying Saucer Drones
This company also has big plans for this little unmanned aerial vehicle. (re: Michael Crichton)

Nanofibers In Unlimited Lengths Now Available
I don't need fibers that are actually unlimited; nanotubes that were long enough to reach the ISS are probably long enough... (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Mosquito Device - Project X For Kids?
Is the Mosquito device a harmless way to disperse crowds of unruly teens, or is it the indiscriminate use of a sonic weapon on children? (re: Ayn Rand)

RoboPorter Carries Your Baggage, Guides You
Use this handy robot to carry your bags - and it can even guide you to your destination. (re: John Brunner)

Antarctic ENDURANCE Robot Helps NASA Explore Europa
Get closer to Jupiter's moon Europa at the University of Wisconsin campus this week. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Talking Lights Help Patients Navigate
This is a unique system to help people find their way around in one of the most confusing environments in the world - hospitals. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Nautilus Home Theater Causing Nemo-Envy
One can almost imagine Prof. Arronnax, Conseil and Ned Land, smoking cigars made from nicotine-rich seaweed, enjoying the latest moving pictures. (re: Jules Verne)

Smart Pal Robot Hangs Up Clothes
Now, that's a service robot. And, it even looks like something out of Disney's version of 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' (think broom with arms). (re: Philip K. Dick)

Sensium Wireless Monitoring Band-Aid
These 'digital plasters' take band-aids into the 21st century; if you're clever, you could even make them stickier. (re: Various)

Garbage-Eating Factories Now, Voracious Cities Later
Isn't it odd how sometimes machines shrink down, and others grow to giant size? (re: Philip Reeve)

Biomechanical Energy Harvester Is The Bee's Knees
Waste not the body's moisture - or its many free ergs of power. (re: Frank Herbert)

Wiihab - Just What Rehab Doctor Ordered
It turns out that the Wii is its own cure; physical therapists like the Wii for lots of reasons. (re: Various)

Military To Create Human, Social And Cultural Simulations
The military is showing a greater interest in the value of simulation technology to prepare personnel for insurgencies. (re: Frank Herbert)

Robot Chef Makes Octopus Balls
It's time to take those robots off the assembly line, and put them to work making dinner! (re: Anthony Boucher)

Three Genetic Parents? How About Seven?
Fortunately, science fiction writers have been thinking ahead on the idea that a single child might have three or more genetic parents. (re: William Tenn)

Robotic Observatory Opens On Antarctic Plateau
This observatory is almost more remote than Hubble - and built with similarly automated equipment. (re: Harry Harrison)

Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall Gives CNN Magic
I'd like to see multiple CNN news personalities using this device at the same time - fighting over screen real estate. (re: Steven Spielberg)

The Bestial Future Of Bionic Legs
This dark vision of robotic satyr legs attached to world-class athletes might actually happen. (re: Various)

3D DNA-Directed Nanoassembly
First instance of three-dimensional self-directed nanoassembly; building materials from the bottom up. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Holland Now Built To Float
Holland has dealt with flooding for centuries; now they are working with it in a new way. (re: John Shirley)

Blue Collar Bot Pumps Gas Update
Remember those friendly gas station attendants of yesteryear? They're back and... they're robots. Updated with a new sf ref and video. (re: Harry Harrison)

AquaScript Information Waterfall Display
Do you sometimes feel drenched in an endless rain of information? Well, now you really can - text and graphics both. (re: Various)

Bone Transplant Grown In Patient's Abdomen From Stem Cells
This is a remarkable result; let's hope that stem cell research is allowed to proceed in this country as well. (re: Various)

Navy EMRG Hypervelocity Projectiles
This weapon can even strike targets on the other side of mountains. (re: Various)

Luke Arm Robotic Prosthesis
This is a different type of device; one of the design requirements was that it had no invasive controls. Just strap it on and go. (re: Martin Caidin)

MacBook Air: What Vision Is This?
Oh, yes, you can buy your own MacBook Air and take it home. But why are you going to? (re: Various)

Rush Japan Mixes Tourism, Treasure And Nintendo DS
Don't throw away that DS - you'll need it to find the treasure. (re: Various)

Voxonic Software Lets You Sing, Speak In Any Language
This software-based translation method can take a sample of your voice, and then translate you into any of almost 1,500 different languages. (re: Hugo Gernsback)

Claytronics: Robot Swarm-Based 3D Shape-Shifting Objects
This is pretty much a blue-sky project, but I did like the video; any help remembering the sf reference would be appreciated. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Mercury 'Spider' Has Fans Seeing Babylon 5 Shadow Ships
The mysterious spider feature on Mercury - there's nothing like it elsewhere in the solar system. (re: Various)

Robotic Exoskeleton For Construction Workers
Exoskeletons for soldiers are cool, but I'll never use one. An exoskeleton that could help me drywall my garage - now you're talking. (re: Various)

Will Scientists Learn How To Fine-Tune Autism?
Far out speculation on the possibility of ways to get more focused for tests, then defocus in time for the weekend. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Scientists Add New Letters To DNA's 'Alphabet'
Astonishing and troubling development has scientists rewriting genetic code - with new letters. (re: Chris Carter)

Japanese Water Horse Goes Back To The Future
Very striking video of the 3D advertisement created in Japan for the premiere of the film The Water Horse; the idea for 3D ad effects premiered in what movie? (re: Steven Spielberg)

Ginormous Mech Animals Only Way To Travel
You may not make it all the way to the planet of the Overlords, but you can seriously ride on these animals. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

HI-MEMS: Control Circuits Embedded In Pupal Stage Successfully
Researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic control structures in the early stages of metamorphosis, ensuring a viable controllable insect. (re: Thomas A. Easton)

HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem
Those DARPA scientists had the help of a futuristic blueprint provided by sf writer Thomas Easton. (re: Thomas A. Easton)

Cyberattack Blacked Out Cities, CIA Admits
This is apparently the first time that the government has confirmed that cyberattacks have caused a power outage. (re: Various)

Bluetooth-Enabled Robot Legs Talk To Each Other
These legs are not yet bionic, but they do help a double-amputee vet by talking with each other - using the same technology you use with you cell phone. (re: Martin Caidin)

Robovie Crowd-Monitoring Robot
This robot has a good sense of who is lost and who is just standing around. It uses a remarkable array of sensors to accomplish this task. (re: Various)

SpaceShipTwo Spaceliners From Virgin Galactic
Remarkable aeronautical designs from Virgin Galactic take you to the very edge of space. (re: Various)

'Electronic Mufti' May Issue Machine Fatwas
A machine intelligence - an artificial intelligence apparatus - could look through thousands of examples to guide individuals. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Rapid Watch Robot Submarine Armada To Protect Gulf Stream
These 'gliders' need to come to the surface now and then; maybe we could put narwhal-like horns on them and defend the homeland. (re: Various)

Zombie Rat Heart Muscle Powers Robot
Taken from a neonatal rat's heart, these muscles can power a tiny little robot on a Fantastic Voyage. (re: Various)

PowerBot Robot Nurse From Saskatoon
It's a small start, but when they're working on robotic nurses in Saskatoon, you're going to need to get serious about robots. (re: David H. Keller)

Carbon Nanotube Blackness Blacker Than Black
Absorbs 99.9 percent of incident light, and good enough for Zaphod Beeblebrox - maybe. (re: E.E. 'Doc Smith)

Readius Cell Phone 5-Inch Fold Out Display
This Philips product will actually be available this year (re: William Gibson)

Circuit Smart Contact Lens, Presaged By Niven, Barnes and Vinge
Vernor Vinge called this one in his 2001 novella 'Fast Times at Fairmont High.' Larry Niven and Steven Barnes didn't do too badly, either. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Morgellons Disease Has Science-Fictional Effects
Morgellons syndrome is an almost sfnal disease process - if it really exists. (re: Greg Bear)

Japan To Reboot Space Program With Paper Airplanes
Who would want to drop a paper airplane out of the ISS? Japanese researchers, that's who. Includes a complimentary 'make your own origami Space Shuttle' video. (re: Various)

Russian Military Robot Repurposed As Nanny Bot
I'm pretty sure I've seen this story in anime form before. (re: Katsuhiro Otomo)

FBI Demands SkyNet, Uh, Server in the Sky
Not content with National ID cards, the FBI wants to make sure that it has biometric data for the rest of the world as well. (re: George Orwell)

DIY Gibson Video Column Convenience Store Video
I've always liked William Gibson's idea of having a device that lets you see other convenience stores around the world whenever you walk into a Lucky Dragon store. (re: William Gibson)

Microchips To Be Implanted In UK Convicts
The UK Home Office seems to be getting under the skin of some UK residents. (re: Various)

Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation Initiative - Big Road Brother
Surveillance is one thing; automated ticketing another. But actually stopping a vehicle automatically? (re: Keith Laumer)

'Inaudibility Cloak' Is Theoretically Possible
Can you think of some good uses for a cloaking device that hides you, or an object, acoustically? (re: Various)

Life Machines Barber Robot Concept
Would you let a machine give you a really close shave? Explore your feelings. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Multi-Touch Table For Factory Inspection
I think Fritz Lang called this one about seventy years ago; but the new one has that nifty multi-touch technology. (re: Fritz Lang)

Wiimote Head-Tracking Virtual Reality Display
I'm starting to think that there is nothing you can't do with a Wiimote. Virtual reality display for a few bucks? No problem. (re: Various)

Sensitive Artificial Skin For Humans, Not Robots
Interesting development shows that what's good for robots might be good for us, too. (re: Various)

GM Betting On Driverless Cars
When GM says it thinks that autonomous vehicles will be commercially available in ten years, you're starting to get mainstream. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Dub Pimpstar Rims LED Wheel Display
Forget driving while talking on a cell phone - this takes distracted driving to a whole new level. (re: Various)

xTAG Viral Panel Tests 12 Viruses In One Sample
More remarkable developments in which scientists give futurists a run for their money. (re: Greg Bear)

i-Limb System Robot Arm Stronger Than Yours
This is a remarkable development; Touch Bionics is the creator of an amazingly usable bionic hand as well. (re: Martin Caidin)

KissPhone Misses First By Forty Years
This particular cell phone concept is too late to claim the prize for a cell phone through which one can exchange a kiss. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Russians Plan New Space Platform
The Russians are planning ahead for the demise of the International Space Station. (re: E.B. White)

Frustration-Detection System Patented By Microsoft
I seem to recall an earlier, science-fictional solution to this problem. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Kraft Programmable Food - With Nano-Capsules!
Processed food giant Kraft is at it again, this time with nano-capsules full of flavor. (re: Jeff Noon)

Ukrainian Buckyballs V. Alzheimer's
Interesting research from the Ukraine tells you what you're going to be doing with all those spare buckminsterfullerene molecules you've got lying around in your lab. (re: Various)

Fingersight Synesthesia Machine
Fascinating haptic interface device lets you feel what you can see; Rudy Rucker wrote about something quite similar about twenty years ago. (re: Rudy Rucker)

Geoengineering - Geophysical Systems Warfare
Can the Earth be turned against selected nations? Any method able to turn climate change around could be used as a weapon. (re: Various)

Philips Flexible E-Paper World's Highest Resolution
LG Philips will be showing this flexible e-paper next week, but you can see it today on Technovelgy. (re: Neal Stephenson)

SHOW Lensless PicoP Projector World's Smallest
This amazing little device was foreseen thirty-five years ago by SF Grandmaster Jack Vance. (re: Jack Vance)

Use Roads As Solar Energy Collectors
Interesting system started out as a study on how to make roads more sustainable, with less maintenance. Passive solar heating is a bonus (other examples also covered). (re: Various)

Portrait Robot By Sylvain Calinon
See how this Swiss postdoc taught a HOAP-3 humanoid robot how to draw portraits of passers-by. (re: Various)

PAL-V Personal Air And Land Vehicle
The flying car concept is born again for the new year; is this the world's first practical flying car? (re: Fred Smale)

The Year In Science Fiction in the News
That's it for this year - thanks again to everyone who wrote in with tips and comments - Bill. (re: Various)

Orexin A Sleep Surrogate
DARPA seems to have funded something that bloggers who stay up too late will pay real money for the next morning. (re: Robert Heinlein)

i-Snake Flexible Robot Surgeon Concept
It sounds creepy, but the i-Snake idea has enough funding for a fair trial. (re: Harry Harrison)

Digital Billboards Fighting Crime 451-Style
Digital billboards are being used for more than just pushing consumer junk. (re: Ray Bradbury)

Video Vigilantes Upload Crime Videos
Vigilantes now carry video cameras, uploading the evidence to the Internet. (re: David Brin)

Performance-Enhancing Drugs For The Mind
Everyone who depends upon their mental acuity would like to be sharper. (re: Paul Di Filippo)

Jinsei Ginko Life Bank Brings Virtual Prosperity
This nifty little piggy bank lets your virtual family live in virtual luxury - if you can pay the price. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Mobile Social Networking Near You
Interesting networking software tries to bring useful information about that person right over there to your cell phone. (re: Larry Niven)

Anti-Aging Drug Research Is Taking Too Long
All I can say is that they need to start figuring out this longevity stuff soon. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Alien Musical Instruments?
David Bowie played me, Ringo Starr played me, Brian Eno played me - what am I? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Electric Warship - Navy's Nautilus
This interesting concept under development does have an interesting sf predecessor. (re: Jules Verne)

LEXID Sees Through Walls To Next Apartment
The LEXID looks suspiciously close to being a consumer product; so much for privacy for apartment-dwellers. (re: John W. Campbell)

Russians Plan Railroad Gandydancer Robots
Russian robots speak of a future worker's paradise - in which the dangerous jobs would be performed by robots. (re: Various)

Turbo Toaster Breakfast Blastoff
Tired of waiting for your toast? Want to apply simple engineering to a basic human need. Wait no more. (re: Various)

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