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

"There's a tendency to think that maybe if we can just throw enough hardware at the AI problem, then evolution can take care of the rest. Certainly that's how God went about making us."
- Rudy Rucker

Sunpower Screen  
  A solar cell array used to provide power for a vehicle.  

The Sunpower screen was the motive power for a special kind of explorational vehicle. Today, we would call this kind of "screen" a photovoltaic cell array, or solar panel. A variety of solar panels are available commercially.

The vehicle he had chosen was not an unreasonable substitute for burros. It was extremely rugged, easy to operate, and almost foolproof. It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof. These drove a constant- load motor, or, when halted, replenished the storage battery against cloudy weather, or night travel. The bearings were 'everlasting', and every moving part, other than the caterpillar treads and the controls, were sealed up, secure from inexpert tinkering.
From Coventry, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Not Known in 1940
Additional resources -

At present-day rates of efficiency, six square yards of Amorphous silicon-based solar cells would produce about (100 milliwatts per square inch) x (6 x 36 x 36 square inches) = 780 watts of power.

For comparison, the Ford e-Ka uses a battery pack which consists of 180 individual cells, and is capable of storing 28 kilowatt hours (kW/h) of energy, and weighs a mere 280 kilograms. This vehicle goes zero to sixty in about 12 seconds and is capable of eighty miles an hour. If you are interested in the science, take a look at this solar energy experiment.

Be sure to read about the vehicle described above: Steel Tortoise - grandfather of the ATV from the same novel; that entry has a slightly extended quote.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Coventry
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Coventry
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Engineering
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.