Latest By

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

"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

  A device that used a pulsating polarized ether wave to judge the distance to an object (a RADAR)  

This is a very clear reference to radar, which uses electromagnetic radiation to determine how far away an object is (or to detect an object in the first place). RADAR is an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging.

A pulsating polarized ether wave, if directed on a metal object can be reflected in the same manner as a light ray is reflected from a bright surface… By manipulating the entire apparatus like a searchlight, waves would be sent over a large area. Sooner or later these waves would strike a space flyer. A small part of these waves would strike the metal body of the flyer, and these rays would be reflected back to the sending apparatus. Here they would fall on the Actinoscope, which records only the reflected waves, not direct ones.

…From the intensity and elapsed time of the reflected impulses, the distance between the earth and the flyer can then be accurately estimated.

From Ralph 124c 41 +, by Hugo Gernsback.
Published by Modern Electrics in 1911
Additional resources -

Many science fiction fans believe that Hugo Gernsback came up with the idea for radar. From the standpoint of the history of ideas, this is probably not true; however, Gernsback had an engineering background and may have conceived of the idea independently.

In the late 1880’s Henrich Hertz demonstrated that electromagnetic waves existed; they could be generated and observed. He also found that these “radio” waves traveled through some objects and were reflected by others.

I found several references to the possibility that Hertz actually developed a system to measure the distance between himself and an object that reflects radio waves, and that this was demonstrated to the German navy (without much interest) in the mid 1890's.

The basic effects of radar detection were known to the US Naval Research Laboratory in the early 1920’s. The first practical radar equipment was created in 1935 by British physicist Sir Robert Watson-Watt; England had established a chain of radar stations along its south and east coasts to detect planes by 1939.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 5 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ralph 124c 41 +
  More Ideas and Technology by Hugo Gernsback
  Tech news articles related to Ralph 124c 41 +
  Tech news articles related to works by Hugo Gernsback

Actinoscope-related news articles:
  - AESA Radars Used As 'Death Ray' Weapons?

Articles related to Engineering
Denmark Island Earth (Verdenskortet ala Ringworld)
Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
BitDrones Flying Microbots Model Programmable Matter
Starship Turbolift Elevators Coming From ThyssenKrupp AG

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

Algorithm Predicts Marriage Success (HAL 9000 Will See You Now)
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset....'

Denmark Island Earth (Verdenskortet ala Ringworld)
'They wanted to keep something of what they were losing...'

Humai Startup To Implant Your Brain In Robot Body
'The astounded onlookers saw a human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Blue Origin Reusable Rocket's Vertical Landing
We're getting there, one launch at a time.

X125 Snake-Arm Inspection Robot Video
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Super-Thin Smart Glazing Displays
'...a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling color.'

Have Scientists Found A Parallel Universe Leaking Into Ours
'Ellis had found a weak point, a shimmer, at which another continuum completely had been visible.'

Active Wellness Smart Car Seat
'Maybe the car was right...'

Tech Tats Prototype Sfnal Devices
'...Permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'

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

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.