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

"The immediate problem with our meat brains is that they have no back-up. We can lose the most precious information we have from one bump on the head or stroke. You want a mind system with back-up that can access other databases."
- Bart Kosko

Automatic Light Switch  
  A device that senses if an illuminated room is empty, and turns off the light.  

Waste not, want not - a saying made for the lunar environment.

As they left their joint office, Strong, always penny conscious, was careful to switch off the light. Harriman had seen him do so a thousand times; this time he commented. "George, how about a light switch that turns off automatically when you leave a room?"

"Hmm- but suppose someone were left in the room?"

"Well... hitch it to stay on only when someone was in the room- key the switch to the human body's heat radiation, maybe."

"Too expensive and too complicated."

"Needn't be. I'll turn it over to Ferguson to fiddle with. It should be no larger than the present light switch and cheap enough so the power saved in a year will pay for it..."

From The Man Who Sold The Moon, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Shasta in 1950
Additional resources -

This kind of switch exists today, of course; they are cheap enough to pay for themselves in a year or so of use.

I don't know if this idea is original to Heinlein or not; commercial light switches for use in homes have been around since the 1890's, if not a bit earlier.

Heinlein continues his justification for such a device, proceeding along in a vein that seems to have some validity today.

Strong objected. "It's no good commercially. Switching of a light when you leave a room is a matter of temperament... If a man hasn't got it, you can't interest him in such a switch."

"You can if the power continues to be rationed. There is a power shortage now; and there will be a bigger one."

Thanks to an anonymous reader, new to Technovelgy.com, who left this tip on the contact page.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man Who Sold The Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Man Who Sold The Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Engineering
Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones
Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight

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

Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'

Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'

NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'

Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'

Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'

Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.

3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'

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.