Latest By

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

"I did more research, and realized I almost would rather be a biologist than a writer, because there was incredible stuff going on!"
- Greg Bear

Talking Tape  
  Adhesive-backed network connection, global positioning, voice synthesis and speakers.  

I love this idea. Just take a small strip of this, and put it on a piece of prepared building material. Thanks to elaborate software and network connections, this object now "knows" what it is, and where it goes in the larger scheme of things.

Oscar peeled a strip of tape from a yellow spool and wrapped the tape around a cinder block. He swept a hand-scanner over the block, activating the tape...

"I'm a cornerstone," the cinder block announced.

"Good for you," Oscar grunted.

"I'm a cornerstone. Carry me five steps to your left." The construction system was smart enough to manage a limited and specific vocabulary. Unfortunately, the system simply didn't hear very well. The tiny microphones embedded in the talking tape were much less effective than the tape's thumbnail-sized speakers. Still, it was hard not to reply to a concrete block when it spoke up with such grace and authority. The concrete blocks all sounded like Franklin Roosevelt.

From Distraction, by Bruce Sterling.
Published by Bantam Spectra in 1998
Additional resources -

It doesn't seem completely impossible to believe that you could combine a speaker, microphone, and a wireless connection in a relatively small, cheap form. The real problem is how to determine position.

Since you would need very high confidence in the location, and since GPS is only accurate to about 10 meters in latitude and longitude and only about 20 meters in altitude, you would need something administered by the local network. Sterling couldn't have made a better choice on the voice for the talking tape. My grandfather hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not just because of his policies. My grandfather hated Roosevelt because once he started talking on the radio, he was so convincing (and authoritative) that you started to agree with him no matter what you thought.

Take a look at the Arcology Now Construction Set which uses scannable bar coded instructions on building materials.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Distraction
  More Ideas and Technology by Bruce Sterling
  Tech news articles related to Distraction
  Tech news articles related to works by Bruce Sterling

Talking Tape-related news articles:
  - The Smart Construction Site Of The Future
  - Flexible Fabric Speakers Are Coming
  - Carbon Nanotube Speakers Are Flexible, Transparent
  - Flexible, Transparent Speakers From Graphene

Articles related to Communication
Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
Surreal iPhone Ad Video Parody Channels Dick, Heinlein
Periscope App Signals End Of Journalism
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App

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

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

The 'Marching Mountains' Of Pluto
Calling Captain Future!

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.