Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Shape-Shifting Robot From MIT

This clever robot from MIT can effortlessly mimic lots of your favorite gadgets.

There's more than one way to skin a cat - use a robot rather than a material. Check out this description of tensile memory polarized matter in the 1966 short novel Babel 17 by Samuel R. Delany:

He raised his hand. "Suppose you needed a gun"—in the Barons's hand now was a sleek vibra-gun of a model later than she had ever seen — ''or a crescent wrench." Now he held a foot long wrench. He adjusted the opening. "Or a machete." The blade glistened as he waved his arm back...

An unexpected property of polarized matter is tensile-memory." They moved toward an archway Into the next room. "Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules. At any angle to the direction that the matter has been polarized in, each molecule has completely free movement. Just jar it, and it falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape." The Baron glanced back at the case.

"Simple, really. There"—he motioned toward the filing cabinets along the wall—"is the real weapon: approximately three thousand individual plans incorporating that little polarized chunk..."
(Read more about Tensile Memory Polarized Matter)

A more modern version of this idea can be found in the 2007 Transformers movie; a robot that can disguise itself as a variety of ordinary electronic tools.

The Number 2 vignette in the video, a "smart wristband" that can give alerts, actually tapping your wrist, reminded me of Frakir from Trumps of Doom, one of the second Amber series of fantasy novels by Roger Zelazny:


Frakir was a magical entity, not a robot, but took the appearance of a piece of rope that could coil around the wrist of its owner, and provide warnings - as well as other functions:

Frakir cut into my wrist. I sought about quickly after any approaching menaces, but I saw nothing. I remained wary for several minutes longer, exploring the vicinity. Nothing occurred, though, and Frakir grew still.

It was hardly the first time her alarm system had been improperly cued — whether by some stray astral current or some odd thought of my own. But in a place like this, one could not afford to take chances. The highest stand of stone in the vicinity stood at about fifteen to twenty meters, perhaps a hundred paces uphill, to my left. I made my way over to it and commenced climbing.

When I finally reached its chalky peak, I commanded a view over a great distance in every direction. I did not behold another living thing in this strange silent yin-yang universe.

So I decided that it had indeed been a false alarm, and I climbed back down. I reached once again to summon the Logrus and Frakir practically behanded me. Hell. I ignored her, and I sent out my call.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/29/2020)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

CyberOne Robot By Xiaomi vs. Optimus Robot By Tesla
'I shall introduce myself... I am a robot.' - Isaac Asimov, 1953.

Giving Snakes Their Legs Back
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to 'help them out.' - Vernor Vinge, 1992.

Video! Chess Robot Breaks Opponent's Finger In Match
'A robot may not injure a human being.' - Isaac Asimov, 1942.

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

CyberOne Robot By Xiaomi vs. Optimus Robot By Tesla
'I shall introduce myself... I am a robot.'

Giving Snakes Their Legs Back
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to 'help them out.'

'Ring Nation' Show Predicted By William Gibson In 1999
'... you had your trademark Lucky Dragon Global Interactive Video Column outside.'

SolarXOne Solar-Powered Drone Flies (almost) Forever
'It's an Indian Air Force drone; its solar cells could power an entire farm.'

Video! Chess Robot Breaks Opponent's Finger In Match
'A robot may not injure a human being.'

Virtual Co-Embodyment - Two People Control One Virtual Body
'... we were supposed to be forming five unit composites first."

The Wanderer: Eyebot From Fallout, Eye From Zelazny
'We send our eyes on their appointed rounds, and they can hover or soar or back up...'

Experts Decry Planet-Scale Schemes To Limit Global Heating
'Light from the sun hit those little spheres and bounced.'

OrganEx Revives The Organs In Dead Pig
'Wakened into half-life activity one hour a month...'

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’

Shine On, Portable Wind Turbine
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'

Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales
'They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping...'

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...'

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!'

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts..'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.