Fiction in the News Articles
related to the works of
Born 1944 in Modesto, CA; raised on a walnut ranch. Attended USC film school; while in school, he made various films including THX-1138. He co-wrote and directed the award-winning film American Graffiti. He is best known for Star Wars, box office champ in its time and winner of seven Academy Awards.
Science fiction in
the News articles describe real-world events that relate to the ideas
and inventions in sf novels and movies. Select
a news article:
SPHERES - Mini Satellites Fly In Formation
Rather than bet all the marbles on one large satellite, MIT undergraduates are trying a different strategy. The SPHERES project imagines lots of small volleyball-sized satellites flying together in formation, working in concert.
Personal Satellite Assistant: Servant Of Astronauts And Jedi
NASA has been working on the Personal Satellite Assistant for years. With any luck, it should be ready for use soon.
GRACE Robot Specializes In Etiquette And Protocol
GRACE is a robot created by researchers from Carnegie Mellon, the Naval Research Lab, Swarthmore College and others to enter the AAAI Robot Challenge.
White Box Robotics 912 - Hackable Home Robot
The White Box Robotics 912 is a rugged, all-purpose, hack-it-yourself robot - just like R2D2.
White Box Robotics 'Apache' - More Punch Than R2D2
New concept robot from White Box Robotics - the Apache is just the thing to guard the presents under your tree this year.
Universal Whistling Machine - The Future Of Non-Verbal Communications
Canadian artists Marc Bohlen and J.T. Rinker want to change the way that you interact with your favorite electronic devices. Tired of tiny keyboards, poor speech recognition or incomprehensible interfaces?
Man vs. Machine: Surviving Compaction In A Garbage Truck
In a classic story of man versus machine that took place right in my own home town, a homeless man in Ann Arbor, Michigan survived compaction in a garbage truck.
Heliodisplay - Futuristic Display Technology
Films like Star Wars show how images projected into the air might be used. The Heliodisplay from IO2Technology projects images - both still pictures and video - into mid-air. It works with most video sources. It is also interactive, forming a floatin
Space Rescue Technology In Fact And Fiction
NASA is preparing a backup shuttle and rescue crew in case shuttle Discovery has problems in May. Rescue flights have been become more of an issue since shuttle Columbia broke up in reentry two years ago. SF writers have been working on this since th
Making A Living From Space Junk
In an unusual act of generosity, the Soviet space program has been showering valuable metal scraps on the villages surrounding the Plesetsk Cosmodrome for more than forty years.
NYC Heliostats And Star Wars Orbital Mirrors
Three heliostats in New York City will provide much needed light in the planned Teardrop Park South. The park likes in the shadow of three skyscrapers.
Mini AERCam Robotic Space Vehicle
The nanosatellite-class spherical Mini AERCam (Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera) is just 7.5 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 10 pounds.
Toshiba Flatbed 3D Display
Remember when R2D2 and Chewbacca were playing a chess-like game with projected pieces? Toshiba invented a table like that.
StarChase Tracking Tag And Star Wars Homing Beacon
The Los Angeles police are taking a page from Obiwan Kenobi's book on how to chase suspects; hopefully, they will stay out of asteroid fields.
Astronauts Test Star Wars Remote On Space Station
Star Wars directly inspired this NASA advanced project; the first testing was successful.
Toshiba Interactive 3D Display Video At SEATAC 2006
Very nice video on Toshiba's slick 3D display, which now seems to offer additional interactive features.
Whisson Windmills To Water Australia Like Vaporators?
Inventor from Oz creates windmills that pull water from the air - then you'll really need a droid that speaks the binary language of moisture vaporators.
Dexter Dynamically Balancing Humanoid Robot
Dexter is perhaps the first bipedal robot that dynamically balances himself as he takes each step.
Star Wars Binoculars A Cognitive Technology Threat Warning
Come on, you've wanted some of those nifty Star Wars binoculars since about 1977 - admit it.
Max Water By Max Whisson
Dr. Max Whisson is back with more information about his Max Water invention to provide potable water to everyone.
Front Runner Hydrofoil Like Star Wars Podracer
Who knew that Boonta Eve races were held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Automated Border Control With NeoFace Face Recognition
This system is good, but Jabba the Hutt's version was better.
Nissan Pivo 2 Concept Car With R2D2 Companion Robot
You've gotta love this bug-like buggy, but you'll have to watch the tire wear.
SnoMote Like Imperial Probe Droid
This clever little autonomous robot can explore the Antarctic ice while looking exactly like something on your ten year-old's Christmas list.
Klimatec AirWater Machine Good News For Moisture Farmers
This device lets you get fresh water anywhere; at last, an office water cooler that never needs restocking.
US Army To Be 30 Percent Droid By 2020?
Actually, thirty percent may be too much, if they're no smarter than battle droids.
Robotic Busboy Like R2D2
Intel-sponsored research catches up to what we all saw in Star Wars a quarter-century ago.
Element Four Watermill Needs No Droid
These devices keep adding features. Soon, you'll be saying 'What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.'
Spider Robot Chair Like Star Wars
Slightly creepy furniture takes you for a robotic ride.
Exact Number Of ET Civilizations Now Known
Now that an exact number is known, we can begin construction of vast architectural works to bolster the galactic government bureaucracy.
Hover Chair Like Star Wars Landspeeder
Keith Dixon makes himself a hover chair - it's like floating on a cloud. For $9,600 I was hoping to go find some droids...
Table Robot Balances On Two Wheels
Very spartan robot balances on just two wheels to carry your tray or bring your drinks; two table robot videos for your viewing enjoyment.
MKV-L Multiple Kill Vehicle Video
Defensive weapon video shows successful test; video also shows the basic concept for the MKV-L.
Star Wars Force Trainer (NeuroSky, Not Sith)
Ah, those playful Sith at NeuroSky are at it again. Now, they have a toy for your kids. The 'Force Trainer' is a powerful ally.
BaR2D2 Mobile Bar
Nifty DIY project by Jamie Price would also look good on Jabba's sailbarge.
RAPHaEL Robotic Hand Air-Powered
Thumbs up for this unique robotic hand, created by undergraduates. Compressed air is all you need to run it.
Cloud Cities: Our Green Jovian Future
Updated! It's a little bit round-a-bout, but it's possible that our green future is out there in a gas giant. Now with more science, at reader request.
Negev Moisture 'Vaporators Planned W/ Solar Power
Hopefully, these devices to condense water out of the air on a vast scale will not require special droids that speak the binary language of moisture vaporators.
Laser Cooling Big Chill
SF movie goers and comic book fans alike have long been used to the idea of super-fast cooling. Scientists now put the big chill on.
RAPHaEL 2 Robotic Hand
Luke Skywalker, your new hand is almost ready. Now, with force feedback controls and more durable fingers.
Eigenharp Favored By Mos Eisley Musicians
Too good to be kept in a galaxy far, far away, the Eigenharp lets you perform complex synthesized music onstage without cumbersome keyboards.
AIDA Affective Intelligent Driving Agent
This cute little 'dashboard droid' should be familiar to sf movie fans everywhere.
Escape Pods, Refuge Of ISS Astronauts From Space Junk
Who first thought of the idea of an escape pod? I looked pretty hard, but more research is probably needed.
Thought-Controlled Robotic Hand
This one-month experiment bodes well for everyone living with disabilities that require prosthetics.
Robo-Air Jet Fakes The Force
Very impressive control, young robot. Kudos to Aaron Becker and Robert Sandheinrich from University of Illinois (with video).
AirMule - A Star Wars Landspeeder By Urban Aeronautics
An interesting vehicle with multiple uses - one day, it might be just the thing for speeding around on desert planets.
PaPeRo Robot Cashier's Helper
PaPeRo, that lovable little robot, follows in the fictional footsteps of Artoo-Detoo.
Hyperion Robot Walking Chair
I seem to recall a similar robotic walking chair in a Star Wars movie.
FURO Waitress Robot
It's the latest tech from Dex's Diner in Star Wars! Well, almost.
Robots Are Social Media, The TED Video
Fascinating TED video talk on social robots; links also to some of these robots covered on Technovelgy, with more information and video.
Lingodroid Robots Invent Spoken Language
Robots can communicate quite well with each other, creating their own words as they go.
Gas Mining on Uranus
Some ideas are just too good to waste.
CFM LEAP Engine Perfect For Podracing
Just watch out for those wrenches thrown by competitors (I'm looking at you, Sebulba!)
Sony DEV-5 Digital HD Binoculars
Perfect for looking for Bantha and Sand People.
Nexus S Directs SPHERES On ISS
Now that NASA has the 'seeker remotes' from Star Wars under control, how about those light sabers?
Airdrop Moisture Vaporator
'A vaporator sunk securely through sand and into deeper rock.'
Hoverbike Is Stuff SF Dreams Are Made Of
Perhaps this reminds you of other sf favorites?
BYD Qin Car Has Dashboard 'i' Robot
Don't fly your X-wing without one.
JAXA's Int-Ball Drone To Follow Astronauts In Space Station
'I want you to build me some of those.' MIT Professor David Miller, 1999.
NASA Plans Autonomous Robots To Explore Planets
First step toward... Imperial Probe Droids?
Eole Water Turbine Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
Japan's Android Robot Restaurant
Giant fembots wait to entertain you.
Hover Bike Like Star Wars Landspeeder - With Video!
This could be the speeder you're looking for.
Sorry, No Death Star - Obama Administration
''But it's too big to be a space station,' Solo objected.'- George Lucas, 1976. (But don't forget Doc Smith, scientifiction fans!)
ISS Smart SPHERES Operated By Remote Control From Earth
'Hocus-pocus religions and archaic weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side.'- George Lucas, 1976.
Home Made Lightsaber?
'Instantly the disk put forth a blue-white beam as thick around as his thumb.'-George Lucas, 1976
Starchase Pursuit Management ala Star Wars
Yes, but does it follow evil doers through hyperspace?
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
That's a lot of languages - but there's room in our imagination for more.
Robot Kirobo Talks With Astronauts Aboard ISS
Robots now converse in space. With humans.
Triton Respirator Concept Looks Jedi To Me
Just don't stay down too long.
HoverBall Bids Farewell To Ballistic Motion
'...the ball darted in behind him.'- George Lucas, 1976.
GPS Bullets Legal For Cops In Hot Pursuit?
OTOH, the Jedi homing beacon tracking device allows Obiwan to follow Fett through both hyperspace and heavy asteroid fields.
Bionic Hand Provides 'Lifelike' Sensations, Like Luke Skywalker's
A fictional scene becomes reality in just thirty-five years.
It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones
Pretty amazing event from France.
Raffia, The Google Streetview Camel
The old and the new, together.
Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Just how many devices are they interested in controlling?
Transwheel Drone Robotic Delivery Vehicle
One good single-wheel delivery concept deserves another.
DARPA NeuroTech Hand With Natural Sensation
'Take care, sir.' Robotic installation of feeling robotic hand not quite ready, Mr. Lucas.
QRoSS Robot Inspired By Star Wars Droidekas
'They are no match for droidekas...' - George Lucas, 1999.
Kirobo Mini - Your Dashboard Droid
No protocol droid needed for translation!
Crowdfunded Russian Beacon Satellite Is An Orbital Mirror
'I don't have to tell you about the seven two-mile-diameter orbital mirrors...' - Theodore Sturgeon, 1941.
R2D2's Friend TUG: Hospital Robot By Aethon
**whistle whee woo whistle** - George Lucas, 1983.
Would You Converse With Your Autonomous Car?
What's that, Artoo? I shouldn't be driving right now?
MIT Robot Helps Out In Delivery Room
Oooee nooomaa oooee. And you thought today's doctors were hard to understand.
Blue Origin Tests 'Escape Pod' Capability
'I'm going to regret this...' - George Lucas, 1976.
Feeling A Poke On Your Robotic Hand
'Take care, sir.'
Star Wars Speeder Bikes! On Water, By Jetovator
'Hey, wait!' Now, you don't need to say that.
Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.' - George Lucas, 1976.
'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.
How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.' - George Lucas, 1976.
Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
'Princess Leia Project' Images That Float In The Air
Help me, Daniel Smalley; you're our only hope.
Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.' - George Lucas, 1977.
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.' - George Lucas, 1976.
Smarter People Having Fewer Children