Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

'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)

Pizza Computer Is One Smart Box
Outrageous case mod made me think immediately of an sf classic. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Wiimote-Based Multi-Touch Whiteboard
It might just be quicker to list the things you CAN'T do with a Nintendo Wii remote; great hack from CMU. (re: Various)

illy Push Button House
In less than two minutes, you could be enjoying your new home - with shipping container chic. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Toshiba Micro Nuclear Reactor For Home Fission
Although I'm prepared to pull this story at any moment, it appears to be a real possibility. (re: Issac Asimov)

Nintendo Wiimote Controls i-SOBOT Robot
Very cool free software program lets you control a humanoid robot with nothing more than your handy Wiimote and nunchuk attachment. (re: Various)

Tiny Spyplanes May Recharge On Power Lines
The next time you stare at all those birds lined up on the power line, look for the odd-shaped one with the surveillance sensors. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Cultured Muscle Sheet Used To Repair Heart
First ever case in which a person was repaired using their own cells. (re: )

Readius Rollable Display Starts Mass Production
You can roll up a newspaper, magazine and even a paperback book; try that with a Kindle. The Readius uses a great display technology. (re: William Gibson)

Disappearing Car Door Perfect For Your Motor Coach
You'll forget all about that gull-wing door nonsense after you've seen this one. (re: Robert Heinlein)

World of Warcraft School of Business
Nothing like a teamwork simulation to help you succeed in business. (re: Frank Herbert)

Get Inside The 100 Foot Piano
This unique exhibition, currently going on in NYC, gives you that 'mouse inside the piano' sound you've been yearning for. (re: Alan Dean Foster)

Smart Chair Follows You Like A Chairdog
Mesmerizing concept video for a mechanical version of Frank Herbert's chairdogs will have librarians drooling. (re: Frank Herbert)

NavJacket Guides Skiers With Built-In Display, Headphones
Amazing jacket is nicer than my car - it has GPS-guided voice and screen navigation. And lots of other features. And you can ski in it. (re: Niven and Barnes)

Dating Service Uses DNA To Find Best-Smelling Mate
Okay, so you're tired of all those endless questions about your likes and dislikes on dating sites. One cheek swab gives you the answer on this site. (re: Various)

NeuroSky ThinkGear Mind-Controlled Toys With Sega
Finally, mind-controlled devices will be available to our children. What could possibly go wrong? (re: Various)

'Paranormal State' Ad Billboard Makes You Hear Voices
Advertisers are now using an 'audio spotlight' to put their message right into your ears. (re: Ray Bradbury)

SenseCam Seems To Help Dementia Patients
The SenseCam appears to be of use to at least some patients. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Giant Spider Attacks Space Shuttle, Defeated By Air Force
Here's the ending to this story that you didn't see on the news. (re: Various)

Honda ASIMO Robots Work Together To Serve
Bipedal robots are now able to walk over to the recharger when it's time for a power break. (re: Isaac Asimov)

VertiPod From Air Buoyant: Segway Of The Sky
This is a classic single-person flying machine; you steer it by leaning where you want to go. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Tanita Belly Fat Scanner Dr. McCoy Would Like
I was sure I had seen this thing before, and then I got it. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Fictional Interfaces By Mark Coleran
Coleran created some of the most futuristic interfaces for the good guys - and the bad guys - in some of your favorite movies. (re: Various)

eScroll Design Takes E-Books Way Back
Sure, the Amazon Kindle has a future, but what about an eBook design with a past? (re: Various)

Bacterial Art - Culture In A Dish
It shouldn't surprise us that bacteria can create beautiful patterns while solving problems (just like we sometimes do), but these pictures still surprised me. (re: Greg Bear)

Sentilla Smart Drink Coasters Pervasive Pub Computing
I'm very impressed with the idea of an ad hoc network that you can set up right in front of yourself and your friends at the pub. (re: Larry Niven)

Robot Staggers, But Is Still Standing
This robot has special software to allow it to recover when shoved; just the skill needed when mixing with pushy humans. (re: Various)

Zetix Blast Resistant Fabric Has Other Uses
This amazing material has a very counter-intuitive property; it gets thicker when you stretch it out. (re: Various)

19th Century Steampunk Laptop Runs Windows, Linux
Take a step back into the future in this remarkable creation from Datamancer. (re: Various)

Twin Solid State Musical Tesla Coils In Concert
Did you know that Tesla coils could be made to produce music? Musical Tesla coils? It's starting to look a little like Christmas. (re: Alan Dean Foster)

Klausner iPhone Voicemail Suit Neglects SF Prior Art
I'm no patent lawyer, but I think that Frederik Pohl described a system like Apple's iPhone voicemail in 1965, and I don't hear him asking for money from Apple. (re: Frederik Pohl)

Aleutia E1 Solar-Powered Linux Computer
This little unit is maybe the most green computer you can buy; is there a smaller (or another) unit that is sold as a solar-powered computer? (re: Various)

NEC Translator Cellphone Turns Japanese To English
This is a very cool translator technology; can you think of additional sf references? (re: Larry Niven)

Giant Air Vortex Gun
You can tell the holiday season is approaching; I'm fondly remembering one of my favorite toys from the 1960's - and look, somebody made a giant version of it. (re: Various)

Sensor-Equipped Dress Tells You How She Feels
This dress communicates more than just a sense of fashion. (re: J.G. Ballard)

Diabetes Tattoo Tests For Glucose Levels
People with diabetes must monitor their blood glucose levels by sticking themselves with a needle; one scientist may have thought of an easier way. (re: Paul Di Filippo)

SmartPal V Mecha-Gumby Service Robot
This slim and well-articulated robot has human-friendly service functionality for life quality improvement. (re: Various)

Reborg-Q Security Robot Now With Face Recognition
This robot from ALSOK is the first to have roving face recognition capabilities. (re: Various)

Simroid Robot Dental Patient Zombie Oral Prophylaxis
This sophisticated fembot has a number of sensors to make sure that a dentist-in-training is sensitive to a patient's pain. (re: Various)

PhantomPark Secret Agent Parking System
I'm pretty sure I saw the idea in the sixties - maybe in a James Bond film. Anyway, you can get one now, if you like. (re: Various)

Virtual Marriages By 2015
If you can't wait to marry a robot by 2050, maybe you could get married in Second Life and enjoy virtual matrimonial bliss. (re: Various)

Twendy-One Robot Is Your Humanoid Helper
Twendy-One is the kind of robot that might be taking care of you (or your father or grandfather) in a few years - in Japan. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Motion Capture Your Life Anywhere, Anytime
I just realized this is just about exactly what William Gibson was talking about in All Tomorrow's Parties. (re: William Gibson)

Volitan Solar 'Sail' Yacht
The Volitan looks good in this conceptual video; I like the idea of a boat powered by sun and sail only. (re: Jules Verne)

LCDetar Laptop Guitar
How many more cool guitars can there be? (re: Various)

Perching Autonomous Aircraft Perfects Prop Hang
Very cool video of a small aircraft model switching from completely autonomously controlled vertical hang to horizontal flight. (re: Various)

Interactive Apple Store Has Reactive Walls
Dance to the images at the Apple store in Berlin. (re: John Shirley)

Universe May End Sooner - Because We Looked
Two physicists seriously assert that we may have hastened the end of the universe because we looked too soon for dark energy. (re: Greg Egan)

Sarcos Exoskeleton Video
The Sarcos version of an exoskeleton; nice video gives the details. (re: Robert Heinlein)

zeroHouse Self-Sufficient In Power, Water
This unusual house design results in a dwelling that is not limited to placement on the 'grid' - you could live practically anywhere. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

EMIEW 2 Office Worker Robot
Just what you needed - an assistant robot to help you at the office. Sneakernet has now been replaced by robots. (re: Various)

Is Pico The World's Smallest Robot?
Is this really the world's smallest robot? I'm interested in hearing from people who have a different view. (re: Various)

Huge Crustacean From 400 Million B.C.
Scientists are staggered by the size of this behemoth from 400 million B.C. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Air Hockey Table Made From iPhone
This little app just sort of struck me as cool; perhaps it is because I'm hoping that an iPhone might appear for me this Christmas. (re: Various)

Draw A World Where Physical Laws Apply
Create a world in which physical laws apply as soon as you pick up your crayon. (re: Various)

Easy With Eve Virtual Teacher Understands Student Emotions
Easy with Eve is a pretty good match for a standard sf cybernetic teaching system; can you think of a better example than mine? (re: Bruce Sterling)

Forced Resonance Ultra-Short Pulse Laser Kills Viruses Dead
It appears that every virus has a specific frequency that will cause it to vibrate - and shake itself apart - and the process can be done without harming healthy tissue. (re: Robert J. Sawyer)

Virtual Theft From Habbo Hotel
When there is a theft of virtal goods in a virtual world, does your avatar spend time in a virtual jail? Interesting tie-in with an excellent new Charles Stross novel. (re: Charles Stross)

Kindle E-Book Reader From Amazon
Yet another e-book reader, you say? Maybe, but this one has online book powerhouse behind it. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

Laser Dazzler Looked At By Canadian Forces
Are sunglasses a reasonable countermeasure for this device? (re: Various)

Thoughts Become Words With Brain Implant
The wish may be the father of the thought, but now the thought can directly father the word - with brain implants. (re: Niven and Pournelle)

WatAir Dew-Harvesting 'Web' Kit
Dune fans are not surprised at this development; dew is a remarkable water source. (re: Frank Herbert)

Poker Bots No Limit Texas Turing Poker
Poker bots are getting better and better - can you spot the bot when you play online? (re: Various)

Eye-Fi Equals SD Memory Card Plus Wi-Fi
Amazing device for its size - it's a memory card... no, it's a network connectivity device... actually, both. (re: David Brin)

Magicmirror Augments Your Real Shopping
Interesting effort to bring people back into stores by incorporating some of their online experience. (re: Various)

Meat Chairs And Chairdogs
Think of a genetically engineered chairdog. Now think of a chairdog with it's furry skin removed. Now click. (re: Frank Herbert)

Russian Robot Suitcase
The modern science of robotics addresses one of the oldest concerns of man - who carries the luggage? (re: John Brunner)

Kiva Robot Shelves Come To You In This Warehouse
I love it when turning a time-honored paradigm on its head yields a two hundred percent increase in efficiency. (re: Various)

3D Cat Scan Display With Non-Contact Control
This remarkable display not only provides 3D views of CAT scan data, but allows physicians to manipulate the image without having to touch anything. (re: Various)

Near-Miss Asteroid Is Found To Be Artificial
Astronomers about to announce one of the closest near-misses by an asteroid in history, make an amazing discovery. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Ion Mask - Plasma Coating Waterproofs Electronics, Fabrics
This coating is a 'plowshared' technology from P2i, a UK Ministry of Defense contractor. (re: Clifford Simak)

Glasses Camera With Digital Video Recorder
These glasses are an almost perfect match for David Brin's True-vu lenses from his 1990 novel Earth. (re: David Brin)

Robo-Rucksack: Six-Year-Old Designs Talking 'Smart Backpack'
This clever and innovative backpack (or rucksack, as they say in the UK) was designed by an elementary school child. (re: Frank Herbert)

Robot Designed To Break First Law - In Order To Save It
A researcher takes a somewhat different direction in trying to figure out ways to keep robots from hurting people. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Light-Emitting Wallpaper From Jonas Samson
This idea provides a uniquely artistic way of providing indoor lighting. (re: Richard Morgan)

Medusa Quadruped Robot Toy
This little bot can be easily assembled; it is used for classroom instruction in Japan. (re: Various)

Got Big Ears, Large Forehead? Star Trek Needs You
If you have any one of these exceptional characteristics, you may have a future in Hollywood! (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Mothbot: Moth Controls Robotic Vehicle
Fascinating combination of insect and machine puts the prospect of cheap mobile biosensors within reach. (re: Various)

Distant Sun Has Planetary System Like Ours
Pretty soon, we'll find one enough like ours that we can start planning a trip. (re: Various)

Saturn And Forbidden Planet Movie Share Soundtrack
The radio emissions of Saturn captured by the Cassini spacecraft bear an uncanny resemblance to the otherworldly electronic soundtrack of the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet. (re: Various)

Toddlers Embrace Our (Giggling) Robotic Overlords
Children show that robots can be friends and peers in this three month study of toddlers and bots. (re: Brian Aldiss)

Robot Arm With Fluidic Muscles
Fascinating robotic arm technology is based on the human skeletal structure. (re: Harry Harrison)

Mod My Life Site Working On Meat Puppets
This is a uniquely disturbing site with a truly bizarre mission - to put you in control of another person. (re: William Gibson)

Breath Powered USB Charger (And Stillsuit)
It appears that a key element of Frank Herbert's stillsuit is now available to help you recharge your gadgets. (re: Frank Herbert)

Carnegie Mellon's Boss Wins DARPA Urban Challenge
It was a complicated call, but Carnegie Mellon pulls it out in the DARPA Urban Challenge. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Mighty Mice Now With PEPCK-Cmus!
These remarkable transgenic mice can run kilometers without stopping. (re: Various)

Ray Bradbury: Your Parlor TV Walls Are Almost Ready
Can you dance faster than the White Clown, shout louder than 'Mr. Gimmick' and the parlor families? Better start practicing, because the TV parlor is just about ready. (re: Ray Bradbury)

2007 DARPA Urban Challenge Videos
Take a look at fresh videos of the autonomous vehicles entered into the urban challenge. (re: Robert Heinlein)

NEC Develops Wideband Wearable Antenna
Many science-fictional gadgets depend on being tiny, and yet they can easily receive transmissions from great distances. Now, we know where the antenna is. (re: Various)

'Peacebots' Protest Robot Conflict Event
Would male roboticists and female roboticists design differently, if they were encouraged to do so? (re: Various)

Waterspout Helicopter Designed To Take Off Underwater
Here's a cool design from a team of American and Israeli students; a submarine-based helicopter that can take off while the sub is still submerged. (re: Various)

Hancock, Mass Surveillance Programming Language From AT&T
Is it illegal for phone companies to aid the government as it searches through the records of tens of thousands of innocent Americans? Legal or not, AT&T is good at it - they've got patents. (re: Various)

Invisible Tank Makes The Rounds (I Think)
I'm not really sure about this story, but I couldn't resist it. (re: Ray Cummings)

Kuka Robot Bible Calligraphy
Can a robot benefit from performing a devotional task? (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Mood Recognition Technology: Pivo 2 Driver Experience Enhanced
Here's a closer look at Pivo 2 and its unique effort to sense the mood of the driver to improve vehicle safety. (re: Frank Herbert)

Credit Card Embedded Authentication Device Looks Retro, Is Advanced
I bet they could build a lot more into this little gadget if they tried - in the meantime, beat banking fraud with it. (re: Edward Bellamy)

Terabyte Thumb Drives Using Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC) Tech
This advance comes just as manufacturers are reaching the limits of flash memory technology. Whew! (re: Dan Simmons)

Flexible Integrated Energy Device (FIED) - Wearable Rechargers
One is fictional, the other one doesn't exist yet - but engineers are working on it. (re: Frank Herbert)

Tadpoles Grow Extra Eye On Command
Tadpoles grow a third eye wherever scientists command; spare human eyes (or eye parts) may not be too far away. (re: Ridley Scott)

BODiBEAT By Yamaha Lets Your Heart Pick MP3s
While you listen to the beat, it also listens to the beat - of your heart. (re: Various)

Mobile Journalism Toolkit By Nokia And Reuters
These companies are not the first to think about what future journalists will need; see what Niven, Varley and Dick had to say. (re: Larry Niven)

Caltech Electronic Nose: The Lewis Group Smells Success
The electronic nose knows; the Lewis group has created an olfactory sensor remarkably like yours, and just the thing for a certain mechanical hound. (re: Ray Bradbury)

Steering Wheel Finger Vein Authentication
Hitachi has thought of an unusual use for finger vein authentication; Niven and Lerner have thought of an unusual use for tongue authentication. (re: Niven (w/EM Lerner))

DoCoMo S0703i Smellular Phone Makes Scents
This is one phone that lets you smell the ... well, maybe not roses, but at least you can smell something as you go through your day. (re: Frederik Pohl)

E-Paper By Bridgestone: Ultrathin And Supersized
Your foldable, crushable, tossable e-paper will be ready by 2009; see a sample now. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Solar Power Satellites Urged By Pentagon
Scientists first speculated on this method in the 1960's, but Clifford Simak thought about it much earlier. (re: Clifford Simak)

Virtual Fence To Be Tested This Month
A virtual barrier between the US and Mexico is being tested; the glitches that stopped this Boeing product from being complete last summer have been fixed. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Round Screen LCDs Take Us Back
I've had enough of rectangular displays - this one is pleasingly round. (re: H.G. Wells)

Blind Haptic Braille Tattoos - HiTek Scarification
As a form of communication, this technique (which has ancient origins) now has a modern twist. (re: Various)

British Intelligence Pays For Ads In Video Games
Cheaper than putting together a whole new game, British intelligence is looking for a few good, uh, first person shooters. (re: Various)

Bone Conduction Cell Phone
Who would think of a bone conduction phone. Besides Pantech - RAH, that's who. (re: robert Heinlein)

Eyeball Tattoo Creates Eyes Of The Ibad
These guys look like something straight out of a Dune movie casting call. (re: Frank Herbert)

Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle: It Flies, It Crawls
There is something definitely creepy about a small flying vehicle that also crawls along to be able to spy better. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Scarab Lunar Prospecting Robot
The Scarab robot provides a test-bed for all kinds of thinking about lunar prospecting. (re: Various)

LifeReader Senses The Enemy Through Walls
Frank Herbert thought about the military applications for a 'life detector' fifty years ago; the real military is catching up. (re: Frank Herbert)

Could Lightning Power Generators?
If this works, I'm going to festoon my house with lightning rods, and then sell the power back to DTE. (re: Steven Spielberg)

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