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

"I think engineering will supply our demand for a "spiritual" life after meat death."
- Bart Kosko

Tagalong  
  A backpack with legs; a robot that will carry things for you and match your movements.  

The story takes place on Venus; in order to have free movement on the planet, it is necessary to carry your own air with you.

I was going out where there were no air stations on every corner, and so I decided I could use a tagalong.

Maybe you've never seen one. They're modern science's answer to the backpack. Or maybe to the mule train, though in operation you're sure to be reminded of the safari bearers in old movies, trudging stolidly along behind the White Hunter with bales of supplies on their heads. The thing is a pair of metal legs exactly as long as your legs, with equipment on the top and an umbilical cord attaching the contraption to your lower spine. What it does is provide you with the capability of living on the surface for four weeks instead of the five days you get from your Venus-lung

The medico who sold me mine had me laying right there on his table with my back laid open so he could install the tubes that carry air from the tanks in the tagalong into my Venus-lung.

From In the Bowl, by John Varley.
Published by Not known in 1976
Additional resources -

The fact that the tagalong is actually connected to you with an umbilical cord makes it a bit creepy; here's another quote with a description of how it looked in action.

Fifty meters doesn't sound like much. And it's not, on level ground. Try it sometime on a seventy-five degree slope. Luckily for us, Ember had seen this possibility and come prepared with alpine equipment. She sank pitons here and there and kept us together with ropes and pulleys. I followed her lead, staying slightly behind her tagalong. It was uncanny how that thing followed her up, placing its feet in precisely the spot she had stepped. Behind me, my tagalong was doing the same thing.

This machine makes me think of the many people I see who need supplimental oxygen; many of these people use a small wheeled tank that uses a plastic tube to convey the oxygen.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for suggesting this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from In the Bowl
  More Ideas and Technology by John Varley
  Tech news articles related to In the Bowl
  Tech news articles related to works by John Varley

Articles related to Robotics
Amazon Patents Annoying Robot That Follows You
Rovable Robots Crawl Across Your Body
Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels

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

JAXA's Int-Ball Drone To Follow Astronauts In Space Station
'I want you to build me some of those.'

Amazon Patents Annoying Robot That Follows You
'The... machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating...'

Hand Gestures And Body Poses Control Devices
'He waved his hand... the circuit switched...'

Rovable Robots Crawl Across Your Body
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Sansar Social Virtual Reality Platform In 2017?
'And just as a daydreamer forgets his actual surroundings, and sees other realities...'

Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'

LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '

Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'

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.