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've come across more and more people who've actually tried reading science fiction and can't make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Life Chamber  
  A machine-mediated, fully immersive experiential environment.  

This is a very early description of what today might be called "virtual reality".

"The rest is simple enough—but it's the meat of the narrative. You see, I had to revise the way I was going about my work, and I went at it at a new angle. By this time wireless telegraphy was being widely developed, and there were many features of it that appealed to me. With the knowledge I had gained during my first feverish years of experiment, however, I was able to go far beyond what has been done in recent times with radio.

"I used a system differing in many respects from that of the commercial radio. We haven't time now to go into all that—I can tell you later, and it involves much that is highly technical and still secret. It is sufficient if I explain that my object was to evolve and fuse methods for doing with each of the senses what radio does with sound. Telephotography was the simplest problem—the others required an almost superhuman amount of labor.

"But my biggest job was to combine them. And, to do that, I had to use knowledge I had gained not only in the laboratory but in my wanderings about the earth—not only in the colleges and salons of Europe and America, but in the bazaars and temples of India, Egypt, China. I had to unite the lore of ancient and modern civilizations, and I created a new factor in electrical science. I suppose the simplest and most intelligible name for it would be mental telepathy. But it is more than that, and basically it is as simple and material as your own motion pictures."

Technovelgy from The Chamber of Life, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

The device involves a telepathically-projected full-sensory interactive movie beamed to a man in a sensory-deprivation chamber. In the novel, he seems to go to imaginary Technocratic utopia, which he inhabits for months of perceived time (in a single night of real time).

Here's a description of what the experience is like from the novel.

"You see, it's like living another life to experience an hour or two in the Chamber. You cannot possibly realize yet just what it's like. I have created a means of reproducing all the sensations that a man would have in actual living; all the sounds, the odors, the little feelings that are half-realized in daily life—everything. The Chamber takes possession of you and lives for you. You forget your name, your very existence in this world, and you are taken bodily into a fictitious land. It is like actually living the books you would read today, or the motion pictures and plays you would watch and hear.

"It is as real as life, but it moves swiftly as a dream. You seem to pass through certain things slowly and completely, in the tempo of life. Then, when the transitional moment comes, between the scenes, your sensations pass with unbelievable rapidity. The Chamber has possession of your mind. It tells you that you are doing such and such a thing, it gives you all the feeling of doing that thing, and you actually believe you are doing it. And when it snatches you away from one day and takes you into the next, it has only to make you feel that a day has passed, and it is as though you had lived through that day. You could live a lifetime in this way, in the Chamber, without spending actually more than a few hours."

Compare to the Telepadion Instructor from An Adventure on Eros (1931) by J. Harvey Haggard, the magic spectacles from Pygmalion's Spectacles (1935) by Stanley G. Weinbaum, the Saga technology from Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars (1956) and by four and a half decades The Eden Cycle. See also the phantomatic generator (1964) by Stanislaw Lem.

I'd also mention the feelies from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), although the feelies did not offer a fully immersive experience, and stimsim from William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984).

Because the machine hypnotizes the audience into forgetting they are in a virtual-reality scenario, the experience is more like that of the hero of The Eden Cycle in the first described scenario of that book. It also highlights the main problem with such a technique. The protagonist of "The Chamber of Life" winds up falling in love with a fictional character. And not falling out of it when he wakes up.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for submitting the quote, descriptive matter and references for this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Chamber of Life
  More Ideas and Technology by G. Peyton Wertenbaker
  Tech news articles related to The Chamber of Life
  Tech news articles related to works by G. Peyton Wertenbaker

Articles related to Entertainment
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
Flyboard Water Jet Shoes Lift Off
Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience

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

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

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.