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

"...a few centuries of coherent humanist thought, set against a million odd years of evolved killer ape tendency. No-one's going to give you very good odds on humanism, are they?"
- Richard Morgan

Photoelectric Course Warning  
  A means of keeping a spaceship on course using a selected star and a photoelectric cell.  

In this excellent short story, the first spaceship takes off for a destination outside the solar system. How to keep your ship on course over the long days...

"Just keep that star on the cross hairs. It's Pi Orionis, a little out of our course, but a good target since it is only twenty-five light-years away. Half the light is deflected on this screen, with a delicate photoelectric cell at its center. The instant the light of the star slips off it, a relay is started which lights a red lamp here, and in a minute sounds a warning bell.
From Out Around Rigel, by Robert H. Wilson.
Published by Street and Smith in 1931
Additional resources -

This is not a true autopilot, since it does not correct the course. It just warns the pilot if the ship has wandered from its course setting.

However, I think it's a pretty good idea for 1931; airports had only started using lights in the late 1920's. They didn't even have real approach lighting until the 1930's. The lights in rows were only standardized in the 1940's.

I'm guessing that Wilson's idea is derived from the idea of using a photoelectric cell to keep a telescope trained on a star, which has been around since about 1915 (if I remember correctly).

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Out Around Rigel
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert H. Wilson
  Tech news articles related to Out Around Rigel
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert H. Wilson

Photoelectric Course Warning-related news articles:
  - Jules Verne ATV Docks Autonomously On First Try

Articles related to Engineering
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone

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

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'

LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.

Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'

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.