"This category [science fiction] excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy."
The Rhennius Machine was obtained in a sort of cultural exchange system. Once the Earth was admitted to a loose collection of planetary civilizations, the Earth participated in a system that improved cultural ties by exchanging artifacts of value in a sort of traveling exhibit. Since these items might be from civilizations that were vastly different, the purpose of the artifacts were typically unclear.
The Rhennius Machine turns out to have a very necessary effect; it is a great plot device. One of the effects of the Rhennius Machine is that it can reverse (replace with a mirror image) every molecule in any object passed through it's mobilator. Including people. People with an interest in organic chemistry will have a lot of fun with the extensive material on what it's like to be reversed from a first person point of view.
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Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'
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'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'
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'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'
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Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
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