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

"As opposed to illiteracy, where you can't read, aliteracy means that you can but you just can't be bothered. They say aliteracy is on the rise these days."
- Peter Watts

Raytron Apparatus  
  A device for aerial surveillance; the image was transmitted back to the user.  

As far as I know, the first instance of aerial military surveillance resulting in improved firing accuracy of distant weapons occured on September 24, 1861. A military balloon ascended to more than 1,000 feet near Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, and began telegraphing intelligence on the Confederate troops located at Falls Church, Virginia, three miles away. Union guns were thus aimed and fired accurately at the Confederate troops without actually being able to see them.

But there must be a better way.

Then Sonya prepared an image-finder. She connected the batteries, the projector, and the grid of glowing wires.

Alice and Dolores held the grid between them. Sonya fired the small projectile. It sailed off, a whirling pink ball. It was in reality a small, flat disk with a lenslike eye and a whirling, pink, glowing armature on top.

Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight, and back over the invisible connecting ray came an image of all that the lens eye saw.

The pink ball of light sailed ahead and soon was lost to view. The gird of wires which Alice and Dolores held glowed pink...

Upon it, etched in black, was a moving scene: mountains, crags, valleys, moving in slow panorama, valleys all pale and empty in the starlight.

Alice cried, "Sonya... lights! We see them now!"

Sonya's apparatus marked the position of the pink ball.

From Beyond the Stars, by Ray Cummings.
Published by Ace in 1928
Additional resources -

Even more interesting, it appears that the device also allowed the user to pinpoint the position on the grid, as well as showing the surveillance video.

Compare this to the copseyes from Larry Niven's 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Beyond the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Cummings
  Tech news articles related to Beyond the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Cummings

Raytron Apparatus-related news articles:
  - V-Rambo Wristwatch Video Receiver
  - iPhone UAV Drone Control App
  - Parrott AR.Drone Quadricopter Video
  - Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
  - First Person Video Flying Parrot Bebop Drone Video
  - DARPA Video Highlights Fast Lightweight Autonomy Drones

Articles related to Surveillance
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition

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

Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'

Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'

Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.

3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'

Grow Plants On Moon Or Mars!
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.'

California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Microbot Interstellar von Neumann Explorers
'Evidently they have never had a planet of their own...'

Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.'

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.