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

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I started writing in the 1930's when I was eighteen years old. And deep inside me I'm still eighteen and it's still 1938."
- Isaac Asimov

Soft Speaker  
  A device that sends a tightly-controlled beam of sound.  

Just another one of Dr. Methuen's prankster inventions. Here's how it went down:

The next man to suspect that the Yale campus was undergoing a severe pixillation was John Duggan, the tall thin one of the two campus cops. He was passing Christ Church ... a still small voice spoke in his ear.

"Beware, John Duggan! Your sins will find you out!" ...there was nobody within fifty feet of him.

In this case, "pixillation" refers to "pixie" + "lation." And how was it done?

".. There's the soft-speaker, for instance --"

"What's that?"

"It's like a loud-speaker, only it doesn't speak loudly. It throws a supersonic beam, modulated by the human voice to give the effect of audible sound frequencies when it hits the human ear. Since you can throw a supersonic beam almost as accurately as you can throw a light beam, you can turn the soft speaker on a person, who will then hear a still small voice in his ear apparently coming from nowhere."

Technovelgy from The Exhalted, by L. Sprague de Camp.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

Dr. Methuen has additional uses in mind, with some modifications to the original device.

I knocked together an improved sound speaker. This one'll work through masonry walls. I'm going to put all the undergraduates to sleep and tell'em they're monkeys... They're practically monkeys to begin with, so it shouldn't be difficult."

Original quote contributed by Harold Miller - thanks!

Compare to the green bullet from Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 or the raisin from Bart Kosko's 1987 novel Noontime.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Exhalted
  More Ideas and Technology by L. Sprague de Camp
  Tech news articles related to The Exhalted
  Tech news articles related to works by L. Sprague de Camp

Articles related to Communication
Holobox? Who Doesn't Want A Home Hologram?
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
CD, DVD Bit Rot And PKD's Civic Notification Distorter
Zoom Education Idea Is 100 Years Old

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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 Science Fiction 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

Science Fiction in the News

SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
'And he had been sent with troops, supplies and bombs to command Russia's most trusted post, the Moonbase.'

Vast Apartment Living Will Get Even More Vast
'What is your population', I asked. 'About eighty millions.'

NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street of Hydropole. Robot-guided, insulated from noise and cold...'

Elon Musk Says Robotaxis Will Be Ready This August, 2024
'The car had no steering wheel, and no one drove!'

Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Now that's power walking that Hugo Gernsback would have approved.

Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'
'It was disturbing to think of the Flatline as a construct...'

No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
'...he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'
'On went the electric-yacht faster and still faster.'

Orbital Mechanics, The Liftoff, The Turnover, The Retrograde Burn
'...the huge vessel had spun, with a sickening lurch, through a complete half-circle, the instant the power was reversed.'

Harvest Power From Tears And Blinking With Smart Contact Lens
'...he realized that it was not quite a clear lens. Speckles of colored brightness swirled and gathered in it.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.