Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

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)

Your Brain Knew It Would Click This Link Before You Did
This story about studies of brain activity, and the associated sf short story, make good reading. You've already decided, so click the link already. (re: Daryl Gregory)

Flogo Clouds Are Floating Ads
I know you're going to think that nobody could have predicted this - but you're wrong. (re: Alan Nelson)

Rocket Racing League Almost Podracing
Take a look at these two videos, and tell me if you think that this exhibition event taking place this summer looks like a good step towards podracing. (re: George Lucas)

In Vitro Meat Symposium - Try The Veal!
European scientists are determined to get that enormous meat vat up and running; they're giving a great price per ton for vat-grown meat. (re: H. Beam Piper)

200,000 Computer-Generated Books
I don't understand why this guy doesn't take his idea to the logical conclusion. (re: J.G. Ballard)

SWORDS Robots Pulled From Iraq For Bad Behavior
The reason that the SWORDS robot was pulled from use in Iraq is finally revealed; it appears that a new successor has been named for combat robot. (re: Various)

PCASS And The Original Handheld Lie Detector
The idea that a simple device could tell a soldier who was lying is an attractive idea; but can it really work? You might be surprised about the origin of the lie detector idea. (re: William M. Marston)

Cyberwalk CyberCarpet VR Locomotion
This 'magic carpet' is the latest in a continuing effort to create the floor for a ST:TNG-style holodeck. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Retinal Scanning Display Projects Images On Retina
This display uses your own retina as a screen upon which to show an image; the idea is at least fifty years old. (re: Pohl/Kornbluth)

LIGO Gets An Upgrade
Gravitational waves have eluded scientists thus far; new, improved LIGO should be sensitive enough to detect them. (re: Kurd Lasswitz)

Robots Take 3.5M Jobs In Japan By 2025
Extremely low birth rates in Japan make this news a blessing, rather than a curse. (re: Various)

Plagiarism In Science Fiction
When is it plagiarism to borrow from another writer? An aspiring sf writer wants to know. (re: Various)

Nokia Shoot-to-Translate Camera
This is a pretty neat application; see a sign in Chinese, take a picture and then read the English translation. (re: Various)

'ETs Attacked Me With Meteorites' - Bosnian Man
This story is pretty hard to believe, but as long as we're looking into it, we might as well talk about kinetic energy weapons placed in orbit. (re: Pournelle and Niven)

DoCoMo Cell Phones Mobile Fragrance Equipped
Believe me, sending a list of fragrances over the phone is only the beginning. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Segway's New RMP - Robotic Mobility Platform
Although I've filed this one under 'robotics,' you might want to use it yourself - as a vehicle. (re: Neal Stephenson)

When Big Robots Go Bad
The suburb-eating robot concept was a bit tame; what might it look like if giant robots went seriously bad? (re: Various)

When Slamhounds Attack
Pretty good video not only presents sfnal inventions from the past two generations, but tells you how to solve any problems arising from the use thereof. (re: William Gibson)

El-E Robot Butler Guided By Laser Pointer
El-E belongs to a unique category of 'helper' robots that could really make a difference for someone immobilized by illness or disability. (re: Various)

Software Helps Computers Find Attractive Women
This software application can tell what beauty looks like - in women, anyway. Men are described as 'too difficult' by researchers. (re: Various)

Multi-Touch Illuminate Table
The GestureTek device beats the MS Surface in at least one important respect; ordinary consumers can buy one now. (re: Various)

Ion-Etched Human Hair Shows Branding Possibilities
Interesting idea, I'm sure I've seen something like this before. (re: Ridley Scott)

High Technology In Vintage Ad Style
Here's an idea - what would it look like if you tried to sell cellphones and Segways at the end of the 19th century? (re: Various)

MIT Nexi Robot Expresses Emotions
This robot is quite expressive, but I can think of several others, and one of them is a girl. Robot. Android. (re: Various)

CV08 Suburb-Eating Robot Concept
This is an interesting concept, but America will need something much bigger. Thankfully, Philip Reeve has already given us a full description. (re: Philip Reeve)

Sensisphere Multitouch Hemisphere Display
The Sensisphere is a design concept prototype that may be less practical than MS Surface, but it's still cool. (re: Various)

Six-Legged Robot Lunar Bases Change Everything
This is a huge shift for NASA; from a fixed moon base exploration strategy, to imagining astronauts as nomadic explorers, taking their habitat with them. (re: Various)

CardioArm - Snakelike Surgical Robot
The body of this robot will follow exactly the movement of its head through the body. (re: Emmett McDowell)

Graphene Reveals Fine Structure Constant
This amazing nanofabric is just one atom thick; physicists looking through this material can see one of the most mysterious fundamental constants known to science. (re: Roger Zelazny)

WiiMote Control Packbot
The Packbot is the latest in Wiimote-controlled devices. (re: Various)

AND The Kitchen Sync
Interesting idea for a different kind of appliance in your kitchen - a more usable cookbook. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Holon Fembot From Real Drive Anime
Meet Holon, the latest in fembot technology from your friends at Kokoro. She's a character from a new anime from the Ghost in the Shell people. (re: Masamune Shirow)

Jules Verne ATV Docks Autonomously On First Try
The remarkable autonomous space freighter from the ESA did it right on the first try. (re: Robert H. Wilson)

Inferno Sonic Barrier Is A Sonabarrier
The Inferno device is intended to create a barrier impassable by human beings. (re: Frank Herbert)

Microbead-Based Bacteriophages Kill Superbugs Alien-Style
Researchers have found a way to make bacteria like MRSA, who laugh at antibiotics, fear us. (re: Various)

ReWalk Medical Powered Exoskeleton
The ReWalk device is slim enough that you can even fit it under your clothes, which you can't say about some of those other exoskeletons. (re: John W. Campbell)

Treepee Crude By Iszic Standards
Your chances for elegant living in trees are better, now, with the introduction of the Treepee. (re: Jack Vance)

Acoustic Bazooka Concept
Can the Acoustic Bazooka exist? What would it be good for? (re: Various)

BigBelly Solar Compactor Vs. WALL-E Robot
Pixar has long delayed the release of WALL-E, the story of an autonomous compactor; they'd better hurry up. (re: Pixar)

Zoltan's Fembot Wife
Zoltan says that he is not very good with relationships; that's why he built himself a girlfriend that he could get along with. (re: Fritz Leiber)

JewelEye Extraocular Implant Video
Would you get this piercing done? Not me. (re: Various)

Can Men Really Get Pregnant?
You'll have to be the judge; sf fans are as qualified as anyone to imagine the possibilities. (re: Barry Longyear)

Hackers Induce Epileptic Seizure Like 'Press Enter'
John Varley suggested this idea a quarter-century ago. I can't believe that people would actually try this. (re: John Varley)

HeartLander Robotic Device Crawls Onto Your Heart
Nothing to worry about, just a friendly little robotic device crawling along the epicardial surface of your heart... (re: )

T-Sketch The Whiteboard T-Shirt
Oh, sure, I've seen this before. You remember those bell-shaped aliens from another universe in that 1931 story, right? Okay, maybe not. But I do. (re: Schachner/Zagat)

Degu Rodents Now Use Tools Like Little Fuzzy
Diligent scientists continue in their efforts to bring civilization to the lower orders; I've added two great examples. (re: H. Beam Piper)

Super-Suit Fabric Now Available In T-Shirt
Super-fabrics are good; when they come in t-shirt form, even better. (re: Various)

Sewer Gas-Based Suspended Animation
Researchers are once again putting mice at the forefront of science-fictional-medicine-made-real. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

MindMentor Computer-Based Psychotherapy
Does the Eliza computer therapy method actually work? Two Dutch psychiatrists think so. (re: James Blish)

Sajjdah 1426 LED Prayer Rug Has Mecca-Glow
This prayer rug always knows how to orient itself. (re: Frank Herbert)

MegaLondoner Arcology Fantasized
London is going to need something spectacular, if there really are a million more people planning to live there in the next eight years. (re: Pournelle and Niven)

Tmsuk Robot Babysitter Knows Your Kid
Tmsuk's new mechanical babysitter is starting to catch up with those sfnal robot nannies. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Metal Prices High Enough For Robot Sacrifice
When will we program robots to recycle themselves? (re: Various)

Emotiv Headset Mental Gaming Is All In Your Head
Not really a spectator sport, mindgaming may come into its own this year with the introduction of a new headset from Emotiv. Almost as cool as those Krell headsets. (re: )

Small Robot Surveillance Balloons Like Niven's Copseye
I think that Niven's idea is close enough to be cited as prior art for this patent. I can just see troops carrying a bunch of what looks like party balloons... (re: Larry Niven)

InVitroMeat Foundation
Nothing like meat fresh from the vat - this foundation is organizing to make it a reality. (re: H. Beam Piper)

Aptera Electric Vehicle So Cool It's On Star Trek
Just the kind of flivver James Tiberius Kirk would need to be BMOSAC - big man on Starfleet Academy campus. (re: John Jacob Astor)

Gesture Recognition TV Watches You
Would you want a set top box with a camera in it watching you watch television? (re: George Orwell)

NovaDreamer Dream Induction
This little kit can provide you with some measure of control over your own dreaming sensorium - the ultimate virtual reality device. (re: Peter Watts)

DIY Robotic Suicide Booth Used In Australia
An Australian man facing life in assisted living chooses to build a suicide robot instead. (re: Various)

Anatomy Tattoos: Showing The Inside On The Outside
Now this is really a case of thinking ahead - having anatomical details tattooed in advance. (re: Various)

Implantable Prosthetic For The Blind
Interesting follow-up to the story about an implantable optic prosthesis to help the estimated 45 million people in the world without sight. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Virtusphere Videos
This ultimate gaming environment has been installed in a number of places; good videos are now available. (re: )

Cyber-Crime Cops Get Organized
Cyber-cops are getting organized; the cyber-criminals already have mature crime-kit markets. (re: Various)

Arthur C. Clarke v1.0 Dead At 90
Arthur C. Clarke will be missed; I've put together his 90th birthday video along with about thirty of his ideas and inventions. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Finca Bellavista Treehouse Village Endor-Style
So, you've been looking for the perfect place to fulfill your dream of living like an Ewok? Got it right here. (re: George Lucas)

COM-BAT Robotic 'Bat' On Order From UM
This intriguing development popped up right in my own backyard; UM researchers will attempt feats of micro-miniaturization to make this work. (re: Roger Zelazny)

NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod Nails Perps Spidey-Style
What device catches thieves just like flies? Look out, it's the NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod. Unlike other sites, I provide two videos, one for picture, one for the correct sound. (re: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko)

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)

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