Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

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)

Honda Walking Assist Exoskeleton Video
Honda lets you strap on this partial-exoskeleon and walk a bit easier. At least, that's the theory behind this experimental device. With video. (re: Fritz Leiber)

Robot Chef Learns By Demonstration
Give a robot an omelet, and you feed it for a day. Teach a robot how to cook omelets, and you feed it for a lifetime. Or something like that. (re: Anthony Boucher)

'Kill Switch' Feared By Pentagon
It's a fine time to go looking for chips with embedded backdoors; didn't they see this in the movies and on TV? (re: Various)

BAE Spider Robot Wrist Watch Monitor
The idea of a wrist band monitor or bracelet-monitor is a good idea now - and a good idea when I first read about it almost thirty years ago. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Autonomous Docking Laser-Guided Robotic Wheelchair
This is a very useful device and it turns out to be even more difficult on Earth. (re: Various)

Robo-Squirrel Plus Tree Climbing Robots Equals MechaSquirrel
This is a pretty cool trick; it's been done before, but I have a few ideas on how Rocky the robotic squirrel could be improved. (re: Various)

Scented Text Messages - Imagine The Possibilities
Oh, it's coming alright. To a cell phone near you. And you will remember with fondness the days when you only had to LISTEN to the person's conversation. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Space Boomerang Toss Now On Video
Here's a cool video of successful space boomerang tossing, provided by JAXA. (re: Various)

Self-Reconfigurable Robots Get It Together
This robot comes apart into clusters that can call to each other and reconnect; watch the video and imagine what will be possible in another five years. (re: Various)

Scientist Web-Spinners Could Just Ask Spiderman
I had no idea that detailed information on how Spiderman actually generates his webs was so easily available. (re: Stan Lee)

MAST Spider Robots Like Minority Report
Here we have yet another instance in which a government contractor might as well have just used the movie as the spec. (re: Steven Spielberg)

Ticketime Concept Timepiece Ticket
Neat concept reminds me of the master, Isaac Asimov, who also wanted to improve tickets. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Training Videogames Bought By Defense Intelligence Agency
This series of games is intended to teach analysis how to succeed in intelligence work. (re: Frank Herbert)

Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE)
Of course, the computers of the future might also have lawyer programs to detect the use of this kind of device. (re: Various)

Disappearing Ink On Self-Blanking Paper
Amazing invention has me completely baffled; or maybe I've just been reading too much Philip K. Dick lately. (re: Various)

Smart Buoys Say 'Slow Down, Whale Crossing'
Fascinating example of interspecies communication and cooperation. Right here on Earth. (re: Various)

Vital Jacket Heart (Monitoring) Shirt Via Rudy Rucker
I'm going to keep on collecting example technologies that are almost a Rucker heartshirt, because I know someday those docs are going to get it right. (re: Rudy Rucker)

Keyboard Pants
I think I understand the jackets - and even lederhosen - with controls for your MP3 player built into them. But keyboard pants? (re: Murray Leinster)

New Australian Bionic Eye Less Invasive
More options are good; the Austrailian prototype helps patients with some residual sight conserve what they have. (re: )

Korean Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs
All seven of these 'RePet' dogs have the same name to make things a bit easier for the humans. Too bad they can't do syncording yet. (re: Wibberly)

Gattaca Put Off A Few Years
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is a good thing to have around. (re: Andrew Niccol)

Strawberry Picking Robot In Japan
Although I like going out and picking strawberries for an idyllic hour, tasting as I go, I don't think I'd want to do it for a living. Robot task? Yes. With video. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Sports In Space
Life in space will be incomplete with sports to play. But what sports are appropriate to space? (re: Robert Heinlein)

MIT 'Quickies' RFID Transmit Paper
These nifty post-it notes can communicate to your computer world. (re: Frank Herbert)

Blaster Battle Robot Laser Shootout Terminator-Style
Tired of those slow-motion robot soccer games? Want to see the first steps toward robot-blaster-induced Armageddon? Click here. (re: James Cameron)

Where's My Hand Waving Gesture Recognition Interface?
The time is past for mere wishful drooling over movie-style gesture recognition interfaces. I want my hand waving interface. Now. (re: )

NTT's Firmo Body Network Touch Communication
NTT gets a jump on everyone by releasing its Firmo human body networking hardware. (re: Various)

Universal Translator, Babelfish Possible
The idea of a real-life universal translator is usually applied to a human language translator. But what about translating actual alien communication? (re: Larry Niven)

MAHEM Metal Jets Like Clarke's Stiletto Beam
This idea amazed me the first time I read about it, in Arthur C. Clarke's excellent novel 'Earthlight.' (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

7 Day Old Baby Meets Telepresence Robot Dad
Very interesting application of medical rounding robots usually used to work with adults who understand what's going on. (re: Niven and Pournelle)

AirStrike Interactive Display: The Summoning
This display technology video has gotten a lot of attention; I'm not convinced. Especially about the 'holographic' part. (re: Edmond Hamilton)

'Bionic Eye' Argus II Retinal Implant
This operation is not quite routine, but it's spreading around the world. And that's great news. (re: Frank Herbert)

Bum Bot DIY Vigilante Robot
With a little ingenuity, you can put a robot on patrol. With video. (re: Various)

REEM-B Robot Autonomous Helper Video
This is one smooth robot; take a look and see if perhaps REEM-B has a place in your home. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Ghostbuster Approach To Neutralizing WMD
You knew that someday it would come to this; Homeland Security calls upon the Ghostbusters. (re: Harold Ramis)

Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Networks (SMAVNET)
The US Army is setting up to learn about this idea; I found several good resources that I hope they're using. (re: Roger Zelazny)

EEG Headset Is Parasitic Cephscope
Now here's a product with multiple uses; entertainment is just as important as medicine. And, there's a PKD-licious bonus feature. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Roll-to-Roll Processing OLEDs And Video Wallpaper
This is a very cool technology, one that could provide us with several different sfnal devices in the not-too-distant future. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Aeryon Scout UAV Like In Crichton's Runaway
Didn't I see this same device in the 1985 Michael Crichton movie Runaway? (re: Michael Crichton)

Air Hockey Robot By Sarcos
I can't believe the pace of innovation. First, robots learn to play board games, dice-throwing included. Now this. (re: Various)

HAL vs. XOS: Who Will Have First Iron Man Suit?
I'm looking forward to the Iron Man movie, but what I'm really looking forward to is real robotic exoskeletons. Check out the contenders. (re: Various)

Real-Time Mind-Controlled Robotic Limbs Soon?
Cyborg research is proceeding apace in Japan's Osaka University. (re: Niven and Pournelle)

Audi Snook One-Wheel Concept Gyrocar Updated
Updated with RAH tumblebug picture from June, 1940 Astounding! If you're wondering how much fun it will be to drive, read what Piers Anthony and Robert Margroff wrote forty years earlier. (re: Anthony/w R. Margroff)

'Evolution Chip' Automates Evolved Change
The so-called 'Darwin chip' demonstrates the factual basis of evolution and may help us solve problems. (re: Theodore Sturgeon)

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