SF Authors Have Wearable Computing Ideas
I've been looking at the recent ideas for the consumer technology called "wearables" - wrist-borne computing devices. I'm not that inspired. Mostly, they look like big wrist watches, and are secondary display devices for your smartphone (which you must also carry somewhere).
(Wearables - the next consumer product?)
So, I was wondering if sf authors have any useful ideas for devices that are either wearable or skin-implantable, and provide some sort of visible display outside the body.
Most of the ideas tend to combine a display with information that is of vital interest to the person and to others. For example, consider the palmflower from the 1967 novel Logan's Run by William Nolan and GC Johnson (the picture is from the 1976 movie of the same name starring Michael York):
"Show me your hand, Logan," said the psyc doctor.
"Do you know why you have this?" he said, tapping the palmflower with an index finger.
"To tell my age," said Logan.
"And how old are you?"
And what happens when you are seven?"
"It goes to blue... and I leave the nursery."
A similar idea is the cardioplate from Harlan Ellison's 1965 story 'Repent Harlequin' Said the Ticktockman. This idea was used in the 2011 film In Time; their usage is shown in the picture below.
Another example of a device that shows others information about you is the ER - emotional register, a small disk worn in the center of the forehead that shows the emotional state of the person wearing it. The ER is from the 1961 story The Primal Urge by Brian Aldiss.
One feature only was definitely not, as yet all events, ordinary: the shining circle. Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead. Made of a metal resembling stainless steel, its surface was slightly convex, so that it gave a vague and distorted image of the world before it.
One possibly more functional idea is the Handwriter from John Varley's 1992 novel Steel Beach (the characters appear in the related readout skin):
Call me old-fashioned. I'm the only reporter I know who still uses his handwriter except to take notes…I snapped the fingers of my left hand…Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand. By pressing the dots in different combinations with my fingertips I was able to write the story in shorthand...
I also thought of the decorative implants from Samuel R. Delany's 1968 Nebula award-winning novel Babel 17:
"It's listed in your catalog as 5463," the Customs Officer declared. "I want it there." He clapped his left hand to his right shoulder.
The surgeon returned ... with a tray full of fragments. The only recognizable one was the front half of a miniature dragon with jeweled eyes, glittering sc ales, and opalescent wings: it was less than two inches long.
"When he's connected up to your nervous system, you'll be able to make him whistle, hiss, roar, flap his wings and spit sparks..."
Perhaps readers have other ideas?
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/19/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction, that's what they are.
Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
'Harrington glanced at his wrist watch - a bulky affair - and whistled.' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.
The Ring Clock IS Heinlein's Finger Watch
'Crayn glanced at his finger watch...' - HB Fyfe, 1951.
3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
'... dial a new fashion every day!' - Niven and Barnes, 1992.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories