Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Legged Squad Support System Monster BigDog Robot
This robotic pack mule for soldiers will carry 400 pounds of gear while exhibiting frisky gaits as trotting, running and even bounding. (re: Anthony Boucher)

Spyder Olympic GS Suit With d3o
Skiers at the Vancouver Olympics will use the latest in 'impact suits' made with d3o. (re: David Gerrold (w. L Niven))

Implantable Energy-Harvesting Rubber Sheets
This remarkable material can let us take energy from movements we make anyway. Take a deep breath, and power up that cell phone! (re: Frank Herbert)

Bose Ride System Smooths Your Ride
Yes, you'll ride the spaceways - uh, roads - in much greater comfort with a highly technological seat. (re: John W. Campbell)

Steam Infrastructure-Powered Music
What happens when city steam infrastructure is dedicated to the production of music? (re: Allan Dean Foster)

Sound Reactive Nightgown
An unusual demonstration piece, this garment is very sensitive to noise. (re: JG Ballard)

Finding A Habitable Planet
The perfect book for those of us who would like to go 'looking for our own piece of real estate.' As RAH once said. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Does PETA Dream Of Electric Groundhogs?
SF fans have a tender spot in their hearts for robotic animals; as it turns out, PETA's wish has already come true. (re: Philip K. Dick)

iPad Newspad Calculator Pad Trek Pad - And More
Clarke versus Asimov, readers; who foresaw the iPad? (re: Various)

Panopticlick Browser Ident-Key You Didn't Know You Had
If your device fingerprint is unique, every web page you access can be tracked. Which sf author saw this problem coming almost fifty years ago? (re: Philip K. Dick)

NASA's Reconfigurable Space Suit
110 years after the basic idea is described, NASA is still working out the design. Now, they're reconfigurable and plug-n-play. (re: Garrett P. Serviss)

Emperor Gaming Station Like Sith Speeder
I can't help but think that this elegant device had an inspiration that came from the Dark Side. (re: George Lucas)

Slime Mold Network Engineering
It turns out that the yellow slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a very clever little engineer. Greg Bear, are you listening? (re: Greg Bear)

Chavez: US 'Tectonic Weapon' Caused Haiti Quake
Just how much sci-fi has this guy been reading? (re: Various)

Herti Drones To Surveil UK Civilians
Autonomous drones designed for military operations in Afganistan come home to keep close tabs on you and me. (re: Greg Bear)

WeCU Mind-Reading Scanners For Airports
Which does more of a number on your privacy - a full body scanner that leaves nothing to the imagination, or a mind-reading machine? (re: Various)

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy For Iraq Vets
Extensive study now being done on the uses of virtual reality in combatting PTSD in returning veterans. (re: Roger Zelazny)

'Space Diver' To Leap From 121K Feet
120,000 feet is not quite as high as sf movies depict, but when done in reality, will be quite high enough. (re: E.E. 'Doc' Smith)

'HPEMS' Means 'STOP' In Cop Speak
It induces strong disabling currents in vehicle ignition and control systems. (re: Various)

App Turns iPhone Into Autodoc (Almost)
It doesn't treat your injuries (yet), but the Pocket First Aid & CPR app provided enough information and assistance to save the life of a man trapped by the earthquake in Haiti. (re: Larry Niven)

Security Robots Mujiro And Ligurio
These bots from the recent past have retractable 'capes' that conceal their helpful robotic arms. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Kava 'Anti-Energy' Drinks
Tired of those frenetic energy drink ads? Why not relax? (re: Neal Stephenson)

James Cameron's Avatar Synthespians
Updated with comment by Jeff Kleiser and a video. Is the world ready for artificial actors? James Cameron's technology in Avatar may make this long-delayed idea a reality. (re: William Gibson)

Petri Dish Pork Lookin' Purty Good
Ah, just cast your eyes upon this tasty photomicrograph of pork-in-a-dish. (re: H. Beam Piper)

Hexapod Robot Has Neural Net Gait Selection
Like the Gambler, this robot knows when to walk away and knows when to run. (re: Various)

Mahru-Z Robot Maid
Roomba is great, but it won't pick up after me. This robot can do it! (re: Robert Heinlein)

DiGORO Robot Learns By Watching Humans
Now that robots can learn by watching people, what will you teach robots to do? With video. (re: Stephen Barr)

Quicklauncher Space Cannon
Nifty idea requires $500 million funding, a drop in the bucket compared to current cost to orbit. With excellent presentation video by John Hunter. (re: Jules Verne)

LG Display Flexible Newspaper-Sized E-Paper
Very impressive prototype display makes a fictional technology a reality. (re: Stephen Spielberg)

HDTV Videophone From LG And Panasonic
I'm not sure whether marketing departments have asked whether people really want to be seen in high definition on their videophone. (re: E.M. Forster)

HAMLeT Hazardous Material Localization And Person Tracking
This system can actually track the movement of a person carrying a banned material; can you name the movie that used a similar system? (re: Jim Thomas)

Smart Second Skin Dress Interacts With Wearer
Why be satisfied with that 'inert-wear' that you usually put on in the morning? Why shouldn't you have clothing that interacts with you? (re: J.G. Ballard)

Subway Outlet Will Climb To 105th Floor
You're building the 105th floor of a building, and you're looking for some lunch. Oh - there's a Subway! (re: Various)

Sea Slug Performs Photosynthesis
This amazing little slug can convert sunlight into energy all on its own. (re: John Scalzi)

AirMule - A Star Wars Landspeeder By Urban Aeronautics
An interesting vehicle with multiple uses - one day, it might be just the thing for speeding around on desert planets. (re: George Lucas)

Waveface Flexible OLED Tablets
These design prototypes deliver sfnal quality displays in a variety of forms. (re: E.C. Tubb)

ENON Upgraded To Sales Robot
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling...' Philip K. Dick, 1954. With video. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Vitalsens Continuous Medical Monitoring
Why shouldn't your doctor be able to check up on you between office visits - if you want him or her to be able to do so? (re: Gene Roddenberry)

DEXI Scanner Looks Inside Air Travelers
How far will we go in searching air travelers? (re: Frank Herbert)

Roxxxy Sex Robot From TrueCompanion
This robot is guaranteed to converse with you on your wavelength - just like the 'manufactured wife' imagined more than 100 years ago. (re: Alice W. Fuller)

Nexus One Not Ballardian Free Ad Phone
J.G. Ballard gave us a very good idea what this would be like in 1963. (re: J.G. Ballard)

Nozzl Real-Time Local News
Interesting experiment in real-time, localized automated news. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Viruses Inserted 8% Of Human Genome
Just how human are we? Fascinating study gives you something to enter into your calculations. (re: Various)

Samsung Transparent OLED Laptop
Very cool demonstration video; I'm still trying to figure out what I would do with a transparent screen laptop. Other than make sure I kept the keyboard clean. (re: H.G. Wells)

Parrott AR.Drone Quadricopter Video
Gamers and surveillance dweebs alike will exclaim 'There's an app for that!' (re: Ray Cummings)

Muscle-Computer Interface Video
Excellent short video illustrates muscle-computer interfaces, as seen in sf (thanks, readers!). (re: Harry Harrison)

Cybercrimes Of The Decade
Cybercrime is larger and more varied, what will the next decade bring? (re: John Brunner)

iRobot's Five Million Home Robots
If you've been looking for a nice round number to express the penetration of robots into the consumer market, this is a nice round number. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Burj Khalifa Tallest Building At 828 Meters
And do you know the three measures for height accepted by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat? Burj Khalifa is the tallest by all three. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Fingertip Tracking Interface For Mobile Phones
Will the multi-touch give way to the multi-gesture? Watch the video and judge for yourself. (re: Samuel R. Delany)

Skiff Reader Solves Apple Tablet Problems
You might like this one better if you're just interested in reading. (re: Vernor Vinge)

Man Wisely Surrenders To Robot
SF film goers are, of course, familiar with instances in which people have failed to appropriately surrender to robots. (re: Various)

KINGK N99 Phone Has Round Display
I can't resist this retrofuturistic phone, with its classic fin de siecle (that's end of the nineteenth century) round screen. (re: H.G. Wells)

Epoc Headset Brainwave Controller
Who could have predicted that EEG would become a popular consumer device. Philip K. Dick - who else? (re: Philip K. Dick)

Roboxotica Festival For Cocktail-Robotics
A conference and exposition to showcase unusual DIY robotic bartenders. What a concept. (re: Alfred Bester)

The Miraculous Stigmatabot Robot Bartender
Penitents are invited to place their grail below the Stigmatabot's wound spigot, which should give you some insight into this mad creation. (re: Anthony Boucher)

Electric Jet Planes With Superconducting Generators
A recent study blames 15-20% of arctic melting on high altitude emissions from jet planes. Could electric jet planes work? (re: John W. Campbell)

Samurai CCTV System Targets Suspicious People
And you used to be concerned about human beings watching you on CCTVs, looking for suspicious behavior. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Head-Mounted Cameras For San Jose Police
These cameras record what the police officer sees; they can download it at the end of their shift. (re: Various)

Parajet SkyCar Adventure
Unlike most flying cars, you can actually place an order for one of these right now. (re: Jack Vance)

Sushi In Space!
And I still remember Tang fondly. But now, I can go to a nice restaurant and have a meal like the astronauts. (re: Jules Verne)

Self-Balancing Unicycle Mythbuster Video
Fun video shows Mythbusters Adam Savage enjoying his new SBU. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Life Dress Plays Game Of Life
Interesting designer fashion displays the game of life while the wearer mingles, playing the game of life herself. (re: Philip K. Dick)

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)

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