Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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