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

 

Force Fields Of Directed Energy Wanted By USAF

The US Air Force is interested in obtaining directed energy devices that would effectively constitute "force fields" to protect military assets.

The best armor, if it could be devised, would weigh absolutely nothing. It would surround its wearer in an impenetrable aura of pure protection, holding all threats at bay. This idealized defensive system could come in the form of a force field, and it would be useful for stopping everything from nuclear missiles to small drones. With directed energy weapons, the Air Force believes such a force field is someday possible—but that day is in 2060 at best.

References to force fields appear three times in “Directed Energy Futures 2060,” a report from the Air Force Research Laboratory published July 16. The potential for military force fields is captivating—a concept that seems more suited to science fiction; the report actually contains an appendix of three science fiction vignettes.

The real-world term to know here is “directed energy,” and force fields are one of the more distant applications of that idea.

As defined by the report, “directed energy” is any focused beam of electro-magnetic energy used for a military purpose. This can be the burning destruction of a drone from a high powered laser, jamming radio frequencies, or it can even be as simple as using a low-powered laser to illuminate a target for a laser-guidance system.

(Via PopSci.)

Science fiction authors have, of course, been fascinated with the idea for generations. The term itself dates from at least 1931; see the article on force field from Islands of Space, by John W. Campbell and published by Amazing Stories.

Even before the term was invented, science fiction authors described the idea. For example, in his 1929 story The Onslaught from Venus, Frank Phillips described a "fan ray":

By now, however, the invaders’ machines that looked like searchlights got into action. They spread fan-like beams of iridescence overhead These beams the operators quickly wove into an interlocking network, making virtually a continuous cone of pulsing light, its base the circle on which the machines had been set up, and its apex about a thousand feet in the air.

The planes of the Air Guard returned to the attack, this time dropping bombs as they passed overhead. I broke into a cold sweat. I knew the power of those bombs, and figured my life in terms of split seconds.

Then an amazing thing happened. The downrushing bombs bounced off the cone-curtain of light as though from an invisible rubber wall, and exploded harmlessly. Not even the fragments showered around, for these too bounced off in their turn.


(Fan Rays from 'The Onslaught From Venus' by Frank Phillips)

[The column of soldiers was winding its way across the plain in the direction of the beleaguered fortress. In the center marched the infantry and on either side a column of fan«ray machines on lever-like legs spread a fan of rays over the soldiers.]

(Read more about fan rays)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/17/2021)

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 - (" Engineering ")

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.' Frank Herbert, 1965.

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.' - Gene Roddenberry, 1967.

Plasma Window Technology, Pressure Cushions and Deflector Doors
'The Marine Gunner stepped gingerly through the invisible barrier. He had to push.' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Giant Telescope Lenses Made In Space
'...a cyclopean beast living among the asteroidal rubble of some distant sun.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

 

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

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
'And loving it too, those millions. Bloodthirsty to the last one of them.'

AI Employment Decision Software Reconsidered By California Lawmakers
'They had screwed up and been blacklisted by Manna. They were back living with their parents or sleeping on the sofa with a friend.'

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...'

Optimus Prime Tesla Robot Overall Humanoid Software Architecture
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.'

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.