The Year In Science Fiction in the News

I've picked a select few stories from the roughly five hundred posted in 2007; it's been an interesting year. I don't really like "Top Tens" but I've frontloaded some of my favorites.

Thanks so much to all of the readers who contributed tips and comments to the site. See you next year!

RFID 'Powder' - World's Smallest RFID Tag
New tag from Hitachi is incredibly small - truly RFID in powder form. (re: Bruce Sterling)

Bacteria Save Your Data, Make Multiple Backups
Remarkable feat by researchers makes those so-called thumbdrives look monster-sized by comparison. (re: Barbara Hambly)

Raytheon Creates Pain Box From Dune
Raytheon has unwittingly created the pain box straight out of Frank Herbert's Dune novels. (re: Frank Herbert)

Virtual Theft From Habbo Hotel
When there is a theft of virtal goods in a virtual world, does your avatar spend time in a virtual jail? Interesting tie-in with an excellent new Charles Stross novel. (re: Charles Stross)

Clarke's Inflatable Lunar Habitats Now NASA's
Arthur C. Clarke calls another one in his early novel A Fall of Moondust. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

'Expert System' Found Practicing Law Without License
Court of Appeals confirms earlier court ruling that software was practicing law without a license. (re: David Brin)

Varioptic Liquid Lens For Phone Cameras
The oil (and water) lens finally makes it into consumer products that will be available near you. (re: Frank Herbert)

Readius Rollable Display Starts Mass Production
You can roll up a newspaper, magazine and even a paperback book; try that with a Kindle. The Readius uses a great display technology. (re: William Gibson)

Thoughts Become Words With Brain Implant
The wish may be the father of the thought, but now the thought can directly father the word - with brain implants. (re: Niven and Pournelle)

The Thinking Man's Wheelchair
A remarkable development for the disabled, this idea was derided as mere science fiction in 1966. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

Tribal Pizza Carputer For Snow Crash Deliverator
It's just the first generation, but I can almost smell that fresh 'za gliding silently to my house. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Maya Hotel Floating Pyramid Island In Caribbean Sea
I think I've read about this one before; it would be nice to have a hotel you could move. (re: Larry Niven)

Nanotech Self-Healing Houses
If a house had the right kind of walls, could it alter enough to heal itself? (re: J.G. Ballard)

Robot Painter 'Action Jackson' Mimics Jackson Pollock
This little robotic mechanism does a great job of creating works like those of Jackson Pollock. (re: J.G. Ballard)

Your Can-Crushing Bionic Hand Is Ready, Steve Austin
Robotic hand shows exceptional grip strength. (re: Martin Caidin)

Lorentz-Actuated Orbit Spacecraft May Ride Planetary Magnetic Fields
Interesting proposal by NASA to fund research on the last known propellantless propulsion method. (re: Robert Adams)

HUBO FX-1 Robot Chair With Legs
Robotic walking chair, when you need to have someone walk for you. (re: )

Cybernetic Jellyfish Evolve
Interesting art video and Sterling/Rucker short story come together. (re: Rudy Rucker/Bruce Sterling)

Cyber-Warfare Waged on Estonia By Russia?
Is this the first instance of cyberwarfare between nation-states? (re: Bruce Sterling)

Burj al-Taqa Dubai Energy Tower - High Tech Badgir
The planned Burj al-Taqa tower takes an energy efficient design of the ancient world into the future. (re: Frank Herbert)

A4-Sized Color E-Paper Unrolled By Philips
South Korea's LG Philips does it again with this amazing full sheet of e-paper. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Big Brother To Read Lips Like HAL
The British are at it again, taking a technology designed to deal with criminals, and applying it to everyone. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Smart Wheels Are Artificially Intelligent
Looks like the old 'Tiger Paws' advertisement will finally come true - not the tires, but the wheels themselves. (re: Neal Stephenson)

Robot Taiko Drummers Give Up Factory Day Jobs
These bots are great on their own, but I know a great front man (robot) for them. (re: Various)

Web Photos Now Have Zero Credibility
Now anyone can rewrite history, taking only seconds for each precious photo. (re: George Orwell)

HortiBot - Autonomous Weed 'n Feed AgBot
This robot has handy, yet deadly, attachments to fight our weed enemies. (re: Michael Crichton)

Amnesia Drugs: Bad Memories Blocked
Researchers may have found a way to block or even delete bad, unpleasant memories. Imagine the possibilities. (re: Philip K. Dick)

MIT Exoskeleton Shoulders The Weight For You
This nifty exoskeleton from MIT is much lighter and uses less power than other weight-supporting exoskeletons, like the BLEEX. (re: Fritz Leiber)

Inscentinel Honeybees Sniff For Explosives
This special detector actually contains living honeybees trained to sense explosive compounds. (re: Various)

Diamond Light Source Illuminates Manuscripts
Scientists take only thirty years to turn James P. Hogan's fantasy into reality. Well done! (re: James P. Hogan)

Dr. Whippy Ice Cream Machine Makes Sure You're Happy
Remarkable prototype device guarantees ice cream satisfaction scientifically - somewhere, Douglas Adams is smiling. (re: Douglas Adams)

Underwater Express - High Speed Troop-Carrying Torpedo
This remarkable development has at least been foreshadowed by elements of computer games. (re: Hideo Kojima)

Ultrasound Bloodless Surgery Star Trek-Style
Looks like Dr. McCoy had it right again - maybe knives aren't necessary even for surgery. (re: Gene Roddenberry)

HypoSurface Walls Are Full Of Life
This remarkable new display surface is a pretty good implementation of a J.G. Ballard idea from the 1960's. (re: J.G. Ballard)

Bone Conduction Cell Phone
Who would think of a bone conduction phone. Besides Pantech - RAH, that's who. (re: robert Heinlein)

Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle: It Flies, It Crawls
There is something definitely creepy about a small flying vehicle that also crawls along to be able to spy better. (re: Raymond Z. Gallun)

Augmented Reality Humanoid Robot U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi
I'm not sure why I think this is so disturbing, but I think that it's the sensitive featureless robot used as the substrate that gets me... (re: Vernor Vinge)

A Brain Radiator For Epileptics
This unusual remedy appears to have a science-fictional precursor. (re: Various)

MIT Tether For Walking On Asteroids
Finding a whole new meaning for the term 'asteroid belt' clever MIT researchers propose a new kind of tether. (re: Various)

STriDER Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot
Surely this is what Arthur C. Clarke imagined in his 1972 novel Rendezvous With Rama. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Near-Miss Asteroid Is Found To Be Artificial
Astronomers about to announce one of the closest near-misses by an asteroid in history, make an amazing discovery. (re: Arthur C. Clarke)

Robot Designed To Break First Law - In Order To Save It
A researcher takes a somewhat different direction in trying to figure out ways to keep robots from hurting people. (re: Isaac Asimov)

Carnegie Mellon's Boss Wins DARPA Urban Challenge
It was a complicated call, but Carnegie Mellon pulls it out in the DARPA Urban Challenge. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Tadpoles Grow Extra Eye On Command
Tadpoles grow a third eye wherever scientists command; spare human eyes (or eye parts) may not be too far away. (re: Ridley Scott)

Diabetes Tattoo Tests For Glucose Levels
People with diabetes must monitor their blood glucose levels by sticking themselves with a needle; one scientist may have thought of an easier way. (re: Paul Di Filippo)

Sarcos Exoskeleton Video
The Sarcos version of an exoskeleton; nice video gives the details. (re: Robert Heinlein)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/31/2007)

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Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Amazon Patents Annoying Robot That Follows You
'The... machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating...' - Philip K. Dick, 1963.

Rovable Robots Crawl Across Your Body
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...' - Robert Forward, 1985.

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.' - Ray Bradbury, 1950.

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

 

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Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

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