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

"If you don't care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn't try to write hard science fiction."
- Frederik Pohl

Radiant Power Receptor  
  A device which received and used energy transmitted from a station or satellite.  

This story appeared a long time ago; it's title survives as a nickname for a real invention (telefactoring devices - called "waldoes")which was first described in this story by the author. One of the most interesting subplots of the story involves what amounts to broadcast power, with cars and appliances no longer in need of engines or wired connections to power sources, respectively.

Heinlein didn't invent the idea of 'radiant power' (that is, wireless transmission of power), but he uses it to great effect in the story.

He had seen radiant power grow up. He had seen the great transmission lines removed from the sky - mined for their copper.
From Waldo, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1942
Additional resources -

Don't miss Heinlein's description of the broomstick speedster, a minimalist craft that could whisk two people from the Earth's surface to a space station in low Earth orbit using the magic of broadcast power.

The first person to actually make wireless transmission of power possible was Nikola Tesla. He built a laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to develop his idea. The largest Tesla Coil ever built (the 'Magnifying Transmitter') could generate up to 300,000 watts of power, and produce a bolt of lightning 130 feet long. Tesla actually managed to successfully transmit about 30 to 50 thousand watts of power without wires using the coil.

The part of the Heinlein story that fascinates me is the character who links increased obesity and sedentary natures in children with an increase in radiation in the environment. He wears a lead-lined suit and lives in a lead-lined house, and finds that he is healthier than his peers.

By the end of the story, the DeKalb power receptors were 'bewitched' to pull power right out of thin air (Heinlein makes it work in the story - really!) The interesting thing to me about this idea is that scientists are actually working on a similar idea - pulling power out of an alternate universe. If you think that both Heinlein and these scientists are guilty of 'magical thinking', you're not alone. Here's how Heinlein describes it:

"What!" put in Stevens. "You don't mean to stand there and tell me an old witch doctor fixed your deKalbs."

"Not witch doctor - hex doctor..."

The skycar looked quite ordinary. Stevens examined the deKalbs and saw some faint chalk marks on their metal sides... "Watch while I cut in reception."

Stevens waited, heard the faint hum as the circuits became activized and looked.

The antennae of the deKalbs, each a rigid pencil or metal, were bending, flexing, writhing like a cluster of worms. They were reaching out, like fingers.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Waldo
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Waldo
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Radiant Power Receptor-related news articles:
  - Shape-Shifting Antennas
  - Shape-Changing Metal Antenna

Articles related to Engineering
Galaxy Note 7 Kill Switch?
Solar Geoengineering Spray Cools, Heals
Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos

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

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'

ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'

EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'

AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

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.