Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"...if you want to know what your future looks like, don't waste your time on Analog; read Time magazine. We are already saturated in the future. "
- Peter Watts

Automated Drone Probes  
  Human-sized robot probes for exploration.  

Hosteen gave the command, and the drones rolled forward through the city’s gates. Looking now through the eyes of the squat mobile probe, Rawlins got his first view of what lay in Zone H of the maze. He saw a scalloped wall of what looked like puckered blue porcelain undulating away to the left, and a barrier of metallic threads dangling from a thick stone slab to the other side. The drone skirted the threads, which tinkled and quivered in delicate response to the disturbance of the thin air; it moved to the base of the porcelain wall, and followed it at an inward-sloping angle for perhaps twenty meters...

The drone was out of the chamber now and shuttling quickly through the place where the light-beam had flashed. Rawlins keyed in olfactory and got the smell of scorched air, lots of ozone. The path divided ahead. To one side was a single-span bridge of stone, arching over what looked like a pit of flame; to the other was a jumbled pile of cyclopean blocks resting precariously edge to edge. The bridge seemed far more inviting, but the drone immediately turned away from it and began to pick its way over the jumbled blocks. Rawlins asked it why, and it relayed the information that the “bridge” wasn’t there at all; it was a projection beamed from scanners mounted beneath the facing piers. Requesting a simulation of an approach anyway, Rawlins got a picture of the probe walking out onto the pier and stepping unsuspectingly through the solid-looking bridge to lose its balance; and as the simulated probe struggled to regain its equilibrium, the pier tipped forward and shucked it into the fiery pit. Cute, Rawlins thought, and shuddered...

From The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg.
Published by Avon Books in 1969
Additional resources -

The probes are designed to move according to a specified guidance pattern, and when encountering new territory, gather information and move carefully:

The probe, lacking a guidance pattern, now moved much more slowly, hesitating at every step to extend its network of data-gathering devices in all directions. It looked for hidden doors, for concealed openings in the pavement, for projectors, lasers, mass-detectors, power sources. It fed back to the central data banks all that it learned, thus adding to the store of information with each centimeter conquered.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man in the Maze
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Silverberg
  Tech news articles related to The Man in the Maze
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Silverberg

Articles related to Robotics
Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
Scaly Yet Soft Robotic Snake
Tiny Rubbery Robot To Take 'Fantastic Voyage'
Disney Vyloo Robots With Personality

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.





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.





More News

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

IJOP Integrated Joint Operations Platform China's Minority Report?
'All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs...'

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...'

Ultrathin Brain Needle Developed At MIT
Putting drugs into a selected cubic millimeter within the living brain.

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.