"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
Niven provides a realistic version of a universal translator in Ringworld.
Rather than just presenting a magical device, Niven makes sure you know that interpreting speech is a processor intensive task, and might be best done centrally. Also, he notes that the machine needs a good-sized sample before translation is possible.
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The Living Tree House
'There were trees comprised of a central columnar trunk and four vast leaves...'
Flying Defibrillator Ambulance Drone
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'
High Fidelity Produces More Expressive Avatars!
'They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other...'
Physicists Build Repulsor / Tractor Beam
'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel...'
Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
And if so, how long will the copy last?
Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Amazing ARES Augmented Reality Sandbox
'First he showed him where the input and output of his brand-new kingdom were, and how to program wars...'
'3D Light Sculpture' Projected Directly Onto Retina
'...projects directly on the retina of the eye…'
3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'
Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'
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