Science Fiction in the News:
Science and Technology News

Cypak Disposable Paper Computer With RFID Antenna
The company uses conductive ink and adhesives to print electronic circuits and antennas on paper and plastic. The RFID antenna allows for transmission over short distances. (re: Frank Herbert)

Projection Commercials: Extreme Plasma Television
X3D Technologies has created a projection system for three-dimensional product advertisements. Author Alfred Bester has seen this future, and walked right through it. (re: Alfred Bester)

Water Taxi Himiko and the Nautilus: Separated at Birth?
Anime artist Leiji Matsumoto designed a 114-ton Japanese water taxi to "appeal to the younger generation." (re: Jules Verne)

Toshiba SD-Book: An E-Book With Two Pages
This unique electronic book has two LCD displays in a very familiar configuration. You have your favorite book open before you, and read it without ever turning a page. (re: Neal Stephenson)

9X Media Video Wall: Bradbury's Parlour Walls Come To Life
The 9X Media Video Wall, a massive flat panel video display, is probably too expensive to buy on a fireman's salary, but they come very close to the parlour walls from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. (re: Ray Bradbury)

Diebold ATM Crashes, Dispenses Tunes - Not Money
A Diebold ATM crashed on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, and then rebooted without bringing up the ATM software, alarming financial institutions and Americans concerned about e-voting alike. (re: William Gibson)

Nokia Lifeblog Multimedia Diary
It's all important - it's your life, isn't it? Why not keep a permanent record of every last detail. Nokia knows you want to do it.
Just watch out for overuse of that annotation feature. (re: William Gibson)

E. Coli Forced To Evolve: Old Bacterium Learns New Trick
The general method was remarkably similar to a technique used by award-winning sf author Theodore Sturgeon in his classic 1941 story Microcosmic God. (re: Theodore Sturgeon)

Nanotechnology Grand Challenge Events Called For
We've all had fun watching the recent Grand Challenge race run by DARPA. Let's help DARPA set up the nanotechnology Grand Challenge for very small vehicles. (re: Technovelgy.com)

da Vinci Surgical Robot: Dr.'s Helper
A 2004 University of Michigan study noted that patients who were operated on with robotic surgeon assistance recovered more quickly with fewer or less obtrusive scars using a surgical robot. Similar devices are used in telemedicine; read a wry encoun (re: Peter Watts)

Contour Crafting: 3D House Printer
Perhaps you've used those programs that let you design your dream house, creating a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file. Not quite ready to take up the hammer and start building? What if you could just "print" your house? (re: Murray Leinster)

RobotCop III - Not Quite R. Daneel Olivaw
In his classic 1953 robot story Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov teamed a human detective with a robotic one - R. Daneel Olivaw. Hong Kong has been testing robotic police officers for years, and has now introduced RobotCop III. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Poweriser: Extreme Sports Gear from The Diamond Age
In The Diamond Age, author Neal Stephenson creates a vivid picture of a future Shanghai. The novel mixes "futuristic" devices based on nanotechnology with simpler mechanical devices that are almost Victorian in their simplicity... Imagine my surpri (re: Neal Stephenson)

DARPA's BigDog Robot And Bradbury's Mechanical Hound
In his chilling 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury created the mechanical hound, a robot that accompanied the firemen and helped with their work... DARPA has made a multi-million dollar investment in the soldier of the future's best friend - Big (re: Ray Bradbury)

Ghostrider Robot: Sterling's Smart Motorcycle?
The Ghostrider Robot (aka Dexterit), an entrant to the upcoming "Grand Challenge" race sponsored by DARPA, is an autonomous self-balancing robotic motorcycle.< (re: Bruce Sterling)

Chameleon Card: Simmons' Universal Credit Card?
The new Chameleon Card (and associated Pocket Vault) provides a single card that gives access to all of your bank and credit card accounts. (re: Dan Simmons)

BLEEX: Robotic Exoskeleton Making Strides
The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX), a DARPA robotics engineering project that is designed to help foot soldiers carry more supplies for longer distances, was demonstrated in California earlier this week. (re: Robert Heinlein)

SenseCam Camera: Your Personal Black Box Update
SenseCam is a Microsoft research toy, a badge-sized camera that can capture up to 2000 VGA images per day. It also monitors movement, light level and temperature. It's been compared to the airplane "black box." (re: John Barnes)

Philips FluidFocus: Variable Focus Fluid Lens
Philips FluidFocus - a variable-focus lens system with no mechanical moving parts - is very similar to Frank Herbert's oil lens in Dune (1964). (re: Frank Herbert)

Reversible LCD: Two-Sided Electronic Paper
Mitsubishi has a prototype reversible LCD panel; a two-sided liquid crystal display that can show different images on each side. Like two-sided smart paper! (re: Neal Stephenson)

Gene Expression of Microbes Changes in Low Gravity Bioreactor
The tiniest astronaut? Easy - the trillions of bacteria that accompany every manned space flight. With talk of moon bases and extended space travel back in the news, NASA again focuses on the question of how microorganisms behave in space. (re: Bruce Sterling)

Musclebot: Microrobot with a Heart
A microrobot designed by microengineer Carlos Montemagno walks with the aid of living heart muscle at the University of California, Los Angeles. (re: Jack Vance)

Nerve Cells Grown On Microchip
Nerve cells grown on a microchip have been shown to learn and memorize information, according to researchers from the University of Calgary. (re: Peter Watts)

Gene Therapy Builds Muscles Fast
Lee Sweeney (University of Pennsylvania) has shown that gene therapy can build muscles fast in rats - and maintain their size - even without an exercise program. (re: William Gibson)

DARPA Seeks Metabolic Dominance
DARPA has initiated a new program called "Metabolic Dominance" to assure that soldiers have superior physiological qualities. Frank Herbert had the answer sooner, though. (re: Jack Vance)

Humans Teach Bacteria New Language
A group of scientists lead by Professor James C. Liao are engineering an artificial cell-to-cell communication network by teaching bacteria to communicate with each other and to work together in a whole new way. (re: Greg Bear)

StratoSail & Altair: Mars Robot Balloons
StratoSail, a NASA-funded robotic balloon with a wing, and Altair, a Welsh robotic balloon, may hold the key to future Mars exploration.< (re: Larry Niven)

Feral Robotic Dogs Run in Packs
A pack of cooperative robotic dogs wired at Yale have been put to work sniffing for arsenic, lead and other pollutants in soil around schools and homes. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Siemens PenPhone Watches While You Write
The PenPhone has an integrated handwriting recognition facility; the device will interpret hand movements during the act of writing and translate them directly into SMS. (re: Frank Herbert)

Mydoom Email Worm (aka Novarg Mimail)
Virus protection makers are scrambling to keep the Mydoom email worm from spreading quickly over the Internet. (re: John Brunner)

Robotic Bird Has USAF Flocking
A prototype of a small robotic bird created from carbon fiber composites and Mylar has the U.S. Airforce flocking nearby for a closer look. (re: Greg Bear)

Yumemi Kobo - Lucid Dream Workshop
Takara Co of Japan claims to have a machine that allows users to have the dreams they want - a dream factory. (re: Peter Watts)

Digital Press Corps Gadget Freaks
The New York Times today published a story on how wireless laptops and digital tape recorders and other high tech gadgets are quickening the pace of news reporting. (re: John Varley)

Philips Rollable Display (Active-Matrix)
These remarkable displays are flexible, and can be rolled up and put away when not needed. (re: Larry Niven)

Weightless Science Attracts Students
A team consisting of four UC Davis students studying the formation of new materials got the chance to test their theories in NASA's "Weightless Wonder" (popularly known as the "Vomit Comet"). (re: Jules Verne)

Toshiba 0.85 Inch Diameter Hard Drive
Guiness World Records announced on March 16th that the Toshiba Drive is the smallest in the world. The 0.85-inch HDDs will start mass production at the end of the year. (re: Larry Niven)

Skyray Human Glider Flight
Tired of dawdling along at one hundred and twenty miles an hour, a typical terminal velocity for human-shaped skydivers? Can you go faster? and farther? (re: Robert Heinlein)

Bees Key To Cooperative Robots
How can robots learn cooperative behavior, and learn to work with each other? Automated analysis of the movements of honeybees may provide the answer. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Real Organleggers: Human Organ Trafficking
What has been described as an "international human organ trafficking syndicate" has been discovered in South Africa. Nine Brazilians and two Israelis have been arrested in Brazil. (re: Larry Niven)

Extreme 2003: Hydrothermal Vent Grind
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is hosting students from around the world on a 23-day research expedition to the Pacific Ocean floor: Extreme 2003 - To the Depths of Discovery. (re: Peter Watts)

Polymer Takes Cue From Glow Worms
How many times have you opened a bag or other enclosure, only to find that you don't have enough light to be able to see what's inside? An Austrian company may have a solution.< (re: Richard Morgan)

Paraglider To Fly From Greece to Egypt
An Austrian extreme sports enthusiast hopes to take a world's record for his planned flight from Kalamata, Greece to Alexandria, Egypt. (re: Larry Niven)

Artificial Cornea Helps Pigs See
According to the Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences, scientists have succeeded in creating artificial corneas. (re: William Gibson)

Bush Signs Nanotech R&D Act
At 2:10 P.M. EST this afternoon, President Bush is scheduled to sign the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act into law. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Robovac Visualizes Your Home
The Samsung robotic vacuum cleaner draws a three-dimensional map of its environment to enable more efficient (both in time and energy) cleaning. (re: William Gibson)

EMBRIO Embodies The Tumblebug
Bombardier recently came up with a new concept vehicle that "promises a whole new experience on the road." The EMBRIO would be a single-wheeled vehicle that used gyroscopes and sensors to maintain proper attitude. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Planets May Wander Alone
Astronomers at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh claim that planets can be created by the same processes that create stars. (re: Larry Niven)

Veripay Credit-Card Implant
Advanced Digital Solutions intends to use its implanted RFID (radio frequency identification) VeriChips as a method of payment at the upcoming ID World 2003 in Paris, France. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Desktop Manufacturing - 3D 'Printouts'
Unlike other systems that are more expensive and energy intensive, this machine can work with a relatively low-tech electrical heater filament. (re: William Gibson)

Vocaloid Voice - Soul Singing Synthesis
Are you tired of listening to poor quality voice synthesis? Had enough of those monotone recitations of email? Wondering what to do with all those song lyric sites strewn across the Internet? You're in for a treat. (re: William Gibson)

GloFish First Genetically Modified Pet Update
The first genetically modified pet to go on sale in the US is available now, in time for Christmas. The GloFish fluoresces bright red. (re: Frank Herbert)

Berlin Gets Talking Trash Cans
Next spring, Berlin trash experts will build electronics into some of the city's wastebaskets that will allow them to speak - or even sing! - to the public.< (re: Bruce Sterling)

Biometric ID Cards Doomed To Fail
The UK plans on issuing large numbers of biometric ID cards to stop fraud and terrorism; travellers to the United States will be required to have visas with biometric data by October of 2004. (re: Frank Herbert)

LingoPhone Provides Mobile Translation
LingoPhone now provides mobile, on-the-spot translation services via cellphone. The service works with any mobile phone equipped to send and recieve text messages. (re: William Gibson)

Smart Home Provides Elder Care
The University of Florida has created what they call "an assistive environment" which goes far beyond the assistive devices that we are used to hearing about. (re: Ray Bradbury)

ARPANET Turns 30
The ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency NETwork) turns thirty this week. The original network was used to pioneer many of the techniques and protocols we take for granted on the Internet. (re: William Gibson)

DARPA Wants Exoskeletons
In a briefing today on GovExec.com, a variety of projects from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) demonstrate that some science fiction thinking is good. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Epson uFR Micro Flying Robot
Epson announced today that it has developed the uFR Micro Flying Robot, a prototype using micromechatronics (hey - and you were looking for a new-word-for-the-day) technology. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Chess Computer Ties Kasparov
Gary Kasparov, the world's number one chess player, has drawn X3D Fritz, the chess playing supercomputer. Fritz succeeded in beating rival Deep Blue, which had defeated Kasparov in 1997. (re: Ambrose Bierce)

New Technique Detects False Memories
Recent research indicates that it may be possible to distinguish between a false memory and a memory of actual events. (re: Philip K. Dick)

Virtual Reality and Your Spider Sense
Recent work at the University of Washington has shown that combining tactile input with virtual reality can improve the usefulness of aversion therapy. (re: William Gibson)

Speech Recognition Algorithms Improve
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have created a new formula that improves upon the Good-Turing algorythm and may lead to better quality speech recognition. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Three Dimensional Flat Panel Screen Announced
On October 13, 2003 Sharp Electronics released the first laptop computer capable of 3D images without needing to use special glasses, the Actius RD3D. (re: Robert Heinlein)

HOAP-2 Robot Masters Sumo And Linux. RoboShiko!
This robot performs moves from the Chinese martial art taijiquan; it also does Sumo wrestling stances. All that and it's Linux-based! (re: Roger Zelazny)

First Flight of a Laser Powered Airplane
Today, NASA tested a laser-powered airplane: a 312-gram (11-ounce), 1.5-meter (five-foot) wingspan plane. A laser beam struck the photovoltaic cells that powered the tiny motor that turned its propeller. (re: Larry Niven)

VeriChip Provides Emergency ID
A radio frequency identification (RFID) product called VeriChip is now being used in a controversial pilot program in Mexico to help identify missing children. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Underwear Detects Heart Problems
Recently, Philips Electronics came out with a network of sensors woven into ordinary clothing, like underwear. (re: Rudy Rucker)

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