Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Sensitile Terrazzo Tiles With Light-Channels
This fascinating floor tile 'device' can redistribute incident light, or make use of fiber optic light channels with LED light. (re: Richard Morgan)

Trek-Style Robot Duplicates Available Now
Sure, you can have an android duplicate. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Robovie Robot Gives The Sales Pitch
'When I go shopping they follow me in clusters. All talking at once.' (re: Philip K. Dick)

3D Bioprinter Now In Production
That's right, Dick fans, your artiforgs will be ready soon. (re: Philip K. Dick)

RUTH Robot Is 'Inspecting' Your Car
This robot is taking your place in evaluating new cars. What else might this robot be able to do? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Adaptability Training System Helps Space Travelers Return
Not just for return to Earth, systems like this could help astronauts after a long weightless voyage to Mars. (re: Murray Leinster)

iPhone To Control Desktop Computer Remotely?
Nice prediction for William Gibson; he even used a touch screen interface on his 'control-face' device. (re: William Gibson)

Nexus One? Nexus Six Is Google Phone You Want
It has 'ten million possible combinations of cerebral activity'. Now, that would be a smart phone. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Femphonic Audio Jacket With On-Sleeve Controller
Electronic ontrols built into clothingis an idea that is at least sixty years old. I still like it. (re: Murray Leinster)

DARPA Cyborg Insects With Nuclear-Powered Transponders
Now that the 'spy flies' are coming along, we need the power source for minned receptors and recording spools. DARPA, what would we do without you? (re: Philip K. Dick)

REX Infantry Robotic Porter Follows Soldiers
This robotic vehicle responds to simple commands like "fetch" and "heel" and might just become the infantry soldier's best friend. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Robot To Replace Anthony Daniels As C3PO?
To beep or not to beep, that is the query. (re: George Lucas)

Autonomous Agricultural Robot
Is this robot outstanding in its field? You be the judge, but Fuji Industries says its the first of its kind. (re: Michael Crichton)

Chinavision Face Recognition Door Lock
Your face is your password, your keycard and your timecard. Good thing it doesn't need to punch your card. (re: Schachner and Zagat)

Robot Wrestler Vs. Human Wrestler Video
I admit that this is not the greatest video, but It so close to an sf novel from the 1960's that I had to include it. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Saving Soldiers With Hibernation
Maybe you can think of a better match for this one, but I'll bet you can't think of a better name for it. Or can you? (re: Joe Haldeman)

Seawater To Cool Downtown Honolulu
Water will be pumped from the oceans depths to cool buildings in downtown Honolulu. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Coelacanth Robot Discovered In Japan
Remarkable robot created mostly from recycled materials; with video and links to lots of robotic fish stories. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Handheld Fusion Reactors Planned
Is 'neutron-less fusion allowing safe deployment for handheld power sources' possible? (re: Isaac Asimov)

KITECH And POSTECH Korean Quadruped Robots
It won't be too much longer before we'll have a pack of assorted robotic quadrupeds. (re: Anthony Boucher)

Robo-Air Jet Fakes The Force
Very impressive control, young robot. Kudos to Aaron Becker and Robert Sandheinrich from University of Illinois (with video). (re: George Lucas)

Eureqa Artificially Intelligent Computer Scientist
This artificial intelligence program is available for download; it was developed using some of the characteristics of the introspective starfish robot. (re: Various)

iRobiQ Nanny Robot
Philip K. Dick saw this one coming more than fifty years ago. Imagine that. With video showing how iRobiQ will interact with your family. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Giant Robotic Hand Video
Yes, the Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph comes in larger sizes. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Thought-Controlled Robotic Hand
This one-month experiment bodes well for everyone living with disabilities that require prosthetics. (re: George Lucas)

'Iron Curtain' Active Protection System
Remarkable video illustrates this defensive device. (re: David Drake)

Are Black Hole Starships Possible?
Fascinating paper makes fascinating reading, particularly as an adjunct to the early fictional work done by Arthur C. Clarke. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Time Inc. Digital Magazine Video
Compare this video of Time's prototype digital magazine with an earlier tongue-in-cheek video of a real-world handheld device. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

'Webtribution' Fact And Fiction
Nothing that a good retaliatory worm wouldn't fix. (re: John Brunner)

Complete Human Skin Grown From Stem Cells
Not just skin cells, this discovery could lead to complete skin substitutes grown on lab mice. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Robotic Roller Skate Micro-Mobility
Personal transportation for each foot is an idea that just won't go away; take a look at the prototypes in this short video. (re: Hugo Gernsback)

Shape-Shifting Antennas
Fascinating material science makes Heinlein's magic realism come to life. (re: Robert Heinlein)

'Plymouth Rock' Human Mission To Asteroids
We've been to the moon, and we know what it's made of. Let's go to asteroids and look for other things we will need. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Best Handheld Device?
Is this device the most usable handheld ever created? You be the judge after watching a short and informative video. (re: Various)

Motoman Robot Light Sabers Like General Grievous
Real-life robots are starting to acquire the skills of CGI science-fictional robots more quickly. (re: George Lucas)

Can Humans Reproduce In Zero-Gravity?
Can mammals (like human beings) successfully reproduce in microgravity environments? This research casts doubt on that fundamental sfnal idea. (re: Various)

Solar Impulse HB-SIA Solar-Powered Plane Tested
Who will be the first person to fly a solar-powered plane around the world? (re: John W. Campbell)

X-Brat Robot Autonomous Mech Warfare
Interesting chance to see a work in progress; this fully autonomous box is your enemy - if you're a three inch tall red cylinder. (re: Various)

Magnetic Heat Shield To Protect Spacecraft
Every sf fan loves shields that protect spacecraft; this design will be tested in the next three years. (re: Various)

Facilitated Communication With Coma Man Bogus?
When does facilitated communication with the disabled actually work? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Intel Developing Brain Chip Computer Interface
'Very useful gadget, but you can communicate with a computer about as well with a good briefcase console.' I still want my computer communication implant. (re: Pournelle and Niven)

Brain Scan Used In Murder Trial Sentencing
Should fMRI scans be admitted into evidence during trials, or even during the penalty phase of a completed trial? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Man Marries Anime Game Character
See this video of an unusual marriage between a guy and his favorite anime character from the Love Plus dating simulation game for Ninendo. (re: Various)

Mini Robot Swarms
Why shouldn't robots work in swarms - open source swarms? (re: Ray Bradbury)

Fierce Roomba Saves Kids From Viper
Looks like Packbot is not the only warrior in the iRobot family. (re: Various)

Bandit Robot Personal Trainer
Socially assistive robotics seems like an interesting field of study, but I'm not sure about robot drill instructors. (re: Clamp)

Paralysis Ray Uses Photocontrolled Molecular Switch
On the seventieth anniversary of the phrase 'paralysis ray' appearing in Thrilling Wonder Stories, we are now getting closer to these elusive rays. (re: Arthur K. Barnes)

AirRobot Micro-UAV 'Fairies' In Shakespeare Play
No mere rude mechanicals, AirRobots played airy fairies in this performance of 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'. (re: Various)

Brine Wells May Swallow Towns
What kind of spaces are we opening up beneath our feet? (re: Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky)

Will In-Vitro Meat Change Our Lives?
IVM is one of those sfnal futures that seems to be getting closer and closer. (re: H. Beam Piper)

Walky iPhone Finger Gesture Robot Controller
This program really makes controlling robots a breeze. Just let your fingers make your robot do the walking. (re: Douglas Adams)

OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown Foils Carjacker
Predicted by several science fiction writers starting in the 1960's, this device has been tested in the field. And it works. (re: Keith Laumer)

Robot Martial Arts Videos
Take a look at these four robots performing a variety of martial arts moves. (re: Roger Zelazny)

Interactive TV Patent From Sony
Sony brings us one step closer to the TV parlors from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Thanks, Sony. (re: Ray Bradbury)

Smart Contact Lens With Power Harvesting Circuits
Prof. Babak Parviz adds to his work on smart contact lenses by adding a very usable power source. (re: Niven And Barnes)

FOXP2 Tweak Yields Planet Of The Apes?
The expression of this gene may explain much of the difference between man and chimp when it comes to speech. (re: Various)

'Significant Amount' Of Lunar Water Found
Lunar ice mining might actually come true, droogs, let's hope Authority buys ice at right price. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Lev, Theremin-Playing Robot
Pretty cool DIY robotic device reprises a classic song from the 1950's, the same ere during which the theremin dominated sf movie soundtracks. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

XT-1 Micro Mouse With Blazing Speed
It's amazing how fast autonomouse robots are getting; watch this micro mouse robot zoom through a maze. (re: Maurice A. Hugi)

Escape Pods, Refuge Of ISS Astronauts From Space Junk
Who first thought of the idea of an escape pod? I looked pretty hard, but more research is probably needed. (re: George Lucas)

Steerable Bowling Ball Is A Cheesy Spherical Robot
An improbable spherical robot for the whole family. (re: Various)

Bio-Mechanics And Micro-Robotic Flight
Take a close look at one of nature's wonders - the micro air vehicle called a dragonfly. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Farming Detroit Like Trantor
An agrarian Detroit may well be in the offing in the decline of the Big Three automakers. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Smarter Rats Via Transgenic Over-Expression Of NR2B Gene
Forget the better mousetrap; how about a smarter rat instead! (re: Daniel Keyes)

Sleepbox Like Niven's Napcap
Just the thing for weary travelers, it looks like someone was reading Larry Niven. But where's the sleep induction cap? (re: Larry Niven)

Spray-On Skin For Burns From ReCell Kit
Spray-on skin prepared from a patient's own skin cells may be the perfect choice for even severe second-degree burns. (re: Philip K. Dick)

555 KUBIK - If A House Was Dreaming
What would a morphing transforming building that constantly revealed its internal spaces look like? (re: J.G. Ballard)

Star Trek Replicator For Space Station?
Electron beam freeform fabrication is what they're testing, but sf fans know a replicator when they see one. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Overwhelming Enemy Cognitive Abilities
The flip side of making your own forces more capable is to render enemy forces weak and confused. (re: Randall Garrett)

Gregory Benford On Artificial Biological Selection for Longevity
Benford, a physics professor and sf writer, has put his money where Robert Heinlein's mouth was, and created a corporation to extend human life. (re: Gregory Benford)

Robots Taught Human Communication Secrets
Human beings communicate in all sorts of hidden ways, and now robots are being taught exactly how to do it. (re: Various)

NASA iPhone Sensors Like Tricorder
Tricorders will be here before we know it! Although it's true we've been waiting a long time. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Silicon-Silk Electronic Implants
What would you do with implantable electronics that could flex right along with your body? (re: Paul Di Filippo)

Hopfield Neural Net Helper AIs For Astronauts
Wouldn't it be nice to have a kind of 'helper' AI that could go with you and notice things that you don't? (re: Robert Forward)

Your Thoughts On Youtube?
Scientists pull information out of the brains of people watching Youtube. Make up your own joke, but this method seems to work. (re: Various)

Toyota Delivery Robot Home Helper
This one-armed prototype could be pretty handy around the house, especially if you're laid up. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Computer, Heal Thyself - With ClearView
When you can read about an idea fifty years before it's implemented (and in an entertaining story to boot), that's good value. (re: James Blish)

Love Plus Dating Sim Requires Kissing
Dating in the virtual world of Love Plus; would you have a relationship with a virtual person? (re: William Gibson)

iPhone App To Drive Your Car
Watch movie then and German engineering now videos of this iPhone app that lets you drive your car by remote control. (re: Various)

AIDA Affective Intelligent Driving Agent
This cute little 'dashboard droid' should be familiar to sf movie fans everywhere. (re: George Lucas)

Commercial Flies Sport Tiny Banner Ads
Phil Dick must be rolling over in his grave; buzzing advertisements are something I could live without. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Muscle-Controlled Interface Is Hands-Free
Research could lead to completely hands-free gaming interfaces. (re: Ian Banks)

Transparent OLED Display Gets Bigger
H.G. Wells knew futuristic cool stuff when he thought of it - and now, you can look at a real-life prototype. (re: H.G. Wells)

Death Algorithm Developed In Japan
Interesting work raises moral questions; I wonder if this algorithm will me made available in a simple home test. (re: William Nolan w/GC Johnson)

ROPID Has Serious 'Quick', Good Hang Time
Quick little robot has good leaping ability and plenty of attitude. (re: Harry Harrison)

Facebook Online Memorial Service
Anthropologists often point to ceremonies surrounding the treatment of the dead as evidence of civilization. What does this current news story say about us? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

LongBox Plus Apple Tablet Equals Digital Comic Books?
Philip K. Dick helps you imagine the possibilities of a battery-powered comic book in a story from the mid-Sixties. Thanks, Phil. (re: Philip K. Dick)

PETMAN Robot Video Shows Non-Human Origin
Oh, it's bipedal, alright, but those legs are not quite human. In fact, I think that it walks just like the aliens in that 1996 movie 'The Arrival' (re: Frederik Pohl)

'Tofu' Chair Inspired By Plant Cells
Reveal the plant cell-inspired chair within the carved block of 'tofu. This design won the red dot design award in Singapore this year. (re: Jack Vance)

Autonomous Valet Parking By Volkswagen
Imagine leaving your car at the curb of the restaurant, pushing the 'park' button and just walking in for dinner. Watch the video. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Is This A 'Skylight' Leading To A Lunar Cave?
Could this deep hole be an entrance to a lunar cave or lava tube? If so, it could point the way to a perfect location for permanent habitation on the Moon. (re: Robert Heinlein)

EVestG Basis For Star Trek 'Psychotricorder'
Depression is just one mental illness that can take years to properly diagnose; surely a machine that could diagnose it immediately is science-fictional. With video. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Regolith Excavation Challenge Yields Prize Money
Updated! Someone finally took some NASA prize money home in this remote lunar digging competition. (re: Pournelle and Niven)

'Niiu' Custom Newspaper Is PKD's Homeopape
You say 'niiu' but I say 'pape - homeostatic newspaper, that is. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Sony 360 3D 'Stereo Tank' Video
A video of the Sony prototype 360 degree viewable 3D display has finally made it onto youtube. (re: Robert Heinlein)

SmartHand Helps Amputees Regain Sensation
An important advance in creating artificial hands that restore sensation to amputees. (re: Martin Caidin)

Human Brains For Robots?
In science fiction, it's usually space aliens who decide to use human brains to run things. However, in the real present it's the humans who are working on it. (re: Keith Laumer)

Crystals In Gel For Computer Memory
Ah, nothing like curling up at night with a good crystal. A data storage crystal containing tens of thousands of volumes, that is. (re: Stanislaw Lem)

Microwave Tissue Soldering For Traumatic Wounds
Solder living tissue as a way to deal with traumatic wounds? What is that, some kind of Star Trek episode subplot? No, it's being developed for the space program. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

ViconRevue Records Every Minute of Your Life
The SenseCam will be produced commercially by a UK company (re: Roger Zelazny)

Zprinter 350 Full-Color 3D Printer
Nothing like getting a full-color object right out of the printer - or the nanofax, for William Gibson fans. (re: William Gibson)

Dish Washing Robot Arm
Watch this video of a one-armed dish bandit! Only a prototype, but I still think that Heinlein was on to something when he wondered about dishwashing robots. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Gyrosphere Robot Climbs Out Of Holes
Nothing like spherical robots; I'm guessing that the Rovers will make a big comeback on the remake of The Prisoner this fall. (re: Various)

Europa May Support Life
Is there life on Europa? SF author Arthur C. Clarke popularized the idea in a book and a subsequent movie. There is a liquid ocean - but is there enough oxygen? (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

EmoBracelet Warns Traders Of Bad Decisions
Should you be making decisions right now, given your emotional state? Philips, the electronics corporation, now has some real-life tech for you. (re: Various)

iRobot's ChemBot Blob: JSEL Takes Baby Steps
iRobot's version of the Chembot project is not the only effort to move away from clanky, rigid robots. See the blob video, remember the sci-fi B-movies of yesteryear. (re: )

Silicon Sunshine - Data Transparency In Government
Should the government be forced to put every last bit of information it has online, every minute of every day? Lawrence Lessig has comments, and so does John Brunner. (re: John Brunner)

First Bank Of Antimatter Issues Anti-Money
Interested in trading currency? Have you thought about antimatter depository notes? (re: Various)

Spider Pill: Wireless Endoscopic Capsule Robot
Updated with 1962 Jetson's reference. This tiny, free-roaming robot is scheduled for a trip through your intestines sooner than you think. Especially if you are over 50. (With video and CAD diagram.) (re: Various)

Snackbot, Robotic Bringer Of Snacks
Should roboticists be forced to walk long distances for snacks, or should they have snacks brought to them by autonomous robots, thus letting them spend more time creating cool robots? This question answers itself. (re: George Lucas)

SkyTran's Sky Pod MagLev Taxis
Speaking as someone who spent about 6,000 hours commuting to work in a car and steering it down the same road over and over, I'd rather just ride, thanks. When do I get my Sky Pods? (re: Larry Niven)

Hull Cockpit For Haptic Control Of Halluc II Robot
What's even better than a cool robot? A haptic controller in a futuristic cockpit, that's what. (re: Various)

WaterCar Python Not Your Father's Amphicar
This is not a slow boat and it's not a slow car, either. I'd like to try driving one of these. With video. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Yes, Internet Eyes Is A 'Snooper's Paradise'
New UK (where else?) website will let you, the anonymous snitcher, surveil your fellow citizens in the comfort of your own home. (re: Ray Bradbury)

In-Road Electric Vehicle Charger
Intriguing patent surfaces (with video) for an in-road electric vehicle charging system; you can move on or off the charging strip at will. (re: Hugo Gernsback)

Date Rape Prevention Lip Gloss Kit
Women should take their 2 Love My Lips lip gloss when clubbing, because you never know when someone will try chaumurky. (re: Frank Herbert)

Jail Sells Visitation Monitor Ad Space
Should jails force you to watch advertisements in return for speaking to your jailed relative or friend? Well, they're already doing it in Florida. (re: Various)

Eigenharp Favored By Mos Eisley Musicians
Too good to be kept in a galaxy far, far away, the Eigenharp lets you perform complex synthesized music onstage without cumbersome keyboards. (re: George Lucas)

ag4's Bayer 'Media Facade' Like Blade Runner
Striking video of an entire building facade turned into an advertising space. Although not yet running ads describing your new life in an off-world colony, it's very science-fictional. (re: Ridley Scott)

Robobees To Swarm At Harvard
Ten million dollars from the NSF for wild-eyed science fiction from the 1930's? You betcha. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Thermeleon Roof Tiles Change Color To Save Energy
Very clever project could greatly save on heating and cooling costs. I also like the name chosen for the team that developed the material. (re: Frank Herbert)

Unlimited Size Mitsubishi OLED TV Screen
Now, you can take the incremental approach to the fine old American game of 'my big screen TV is bigger than yours'. (re: Various)

The Periodic Table Of Science Fiction Now Online
Very short stories that are somehow centered around an element are now available online from sf author Michael Swanwick. (re: Michael Swanwick)

Liquid Semiconductor Nuclear Battery Big As A Penny
You might have trouble believing that a nuclear battery could be no larger than a dime, even if you didn't study under the great Bler at the University of Trantor. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Security Patrol Robot With ATV Base
This all-terrain robotic security guard was created by students for autonomous premise surveillance. (re: Philip K. Dick)

iLickit App Reveals iPhone Tongue Interface
Absurd iPhone app may lead to a more useful healthcare application. (re: Alfred Bester)

Robot Cosplay! HRP-4C Robot As Hatsune Miku At CEATEC 2009
Full-on robotic cosplay at CEATEC; a well-known female robot plays computer-generated anime singer Hatsune Miku. (re: )

Funktionide Blob: A Video Love Story
In spite of the best efforts of the electroactive polymer blob's creator, the idea of a robotic blob that crawls into bed with me does not relax me. With video. (re: Various)

Obrero Robot Has The Soft Touch
It would be a pleasure to shake hands with this robot, which uses sensitive manipulation to gauge just the right gripping force. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Navy Command Center Of The Future
What should a futuristic command center look like? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Online Banking Malware Rewrites Your Statements
This is a very sneaky trojan program - it sits in your PC and rewrites bank statements on-the-fly, as you're looking at them. (re: Various)

Emily Howell - The Computer Is The Composer
Updated with new reference! Keep an eye out for the new CD by an artificially intelligent composer named Emily Howell. (re: William Gibson)

Instant Housing
Haven't you ever found a spot with a view so great, you'd just like to plunk a house down right there, and enjoy it right now? Now you can. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Phantom City Alternate NYC
This art museum project uses an iPhone app to take its exhibit of alternate New York city projects all over the city. (re: Various)

Nanobees Sting Tumors With Melittin
Unique use of nanoparticles to deliver melittin, a component of bee venom, directly to cancer cells. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Digi-Novel Book-Movie-Website
Let's try all of our media in every combination we can think of. This is one try. (re: Various)

Surviving In Zombieland
Do physicists hold the key to surviving zombie attacks? Probably not, but I'd take any excuse to learn more about random walks. (re: Various)

See Through Walls With Wireless Networks
This technology for surveillance actually uses WiFi networks to figure out how many people are in a room and where they are. (re: Nat Schachner)

Be Martin Jetpack Test Pilot Via eBay
Of course you do. Now, you have your chance at free flight with a jetpack. (re: John W. Campbell)

ActiveLink Makes Power Loader From Aliens
Attention would-be Ripleys - your power loader exoskeleton is now in development. (re: Various)

Marvin Intel's Self-Charging Robot
This robot seeks power - from standard AC outlets. I can think of a fifty-year-old reference for that idea. Can you think of an older one? (re: Stephen Barr)

Courier Tablet Computer Video Reveals Features
This short video shows off the capabilities of Microsoft's Courier tablet prototype. Do you see features here that are worth having? (re: Neal Stephenson)

RAPHaEL 2 Robotic Hand
Luke Skywalker, your new hand is almost ready. Now, with force feedback controls and more durable fingers. (re: George Lucas)

'Mechanical Tumor' Meatspace Expression Of Computer Stress
Would you really want to visualize your computer's level of activity in terms you can really, I mean viscerally, understand? (re: Philip K. Dick)

RAPUD Robotic Arm Helps Disabled Reach
Robert Heinlein also thought about robotics for the disabled; we're catching up. (re: Robert Heinlein)

'Minority Report' Castrol Ads On Britain's Digital Billboards
John Anderton! We see your car now, too. Britain's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency sells their database as well as their car monitoring network to advertisers. (re: Stephen Spielberg)

Doctorow's SchoolBook Computers Created By Australian Govt
Waving a red flag in front of the world's hackers, the New South Wales schools will be handing out 'unhackable' computers to high school students. (re: Cory Doctorow)

Solar-Powered Aircraft In Fact and Fiction
Solar aircraft have certain advantages; that's why they're attractive in fact and in fiction. (re: John W. Campbell)

Thermal Laser Weapon Evolves From PHaSR
It's a long road to the phaser, but 'set it on stun' is getting closer to reality. (re: Various)

Red Sydney
Photos of the red planet - taken here on Earth. The Marsaforming of Oz. (re: Various)

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