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

"Tokyo homeless people reiterate the whole nature of living in Tokyo in cardboard boxes, they're only slightly smaller than Tokyo apartments, and they have almost as many consumer goods. It's a nightmare of boxes within boxes."
- William Gibson

Paracompass  
  A very specialized compass that makes use of local magnetic anomalies.  

Early navigation relied on several natural phenomena; the fixed pole star (or stars, when the pyramids were built) and the north magnetic pole. What can you do if a planet has no stable magnetic field, or if the planet's surface is prone to storms that disrupt the field?

The glowing tab of the Fremkit manual between them on the tent floor caught her eye. She lifted it, glanced at the flyleaf, reading: "Manual of 'The Friendly Desert,' the place full of life. Here are the ayat and burhan of Life. Believe, and al-Lat shall never burn you..."

Paul lifted the paracompass from the pack, returned it, said: "Think of all these special-application Fremen machines. They show unrivaled sophistication. Admit it. The culture that made these things betrays depths no one suspected."

From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

People have made practical use of the Earth's magnetic field since ancient times, but it wasn't until 1600 that William Gilberte, personal physician to Queen Elizabeth, published his astounding De Magnete. In it, he revealed his studies with a "terrella" (a magnetized sphere); he hypothesized that the Earth was itself an immense magnet.

If you're into magnetic fields (and, in fact, we all are - just use a compass!), take a look at the very cool Earth's Magnetic Field Images, an interactive page that allows you to see field strengths at different years in the 20th century. (Courtesy of our friends at NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.) (Special thanks to a reader who pointed me to a new URL for the old one!)

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Articles related to Travel
Google's Cartographer Backpack For Indoor Mapping
Live Luggage Ready To Roll
Porter 'Robots' For Baggage, If Not People
Tweel - (Almost) A Smart Wheel

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

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
It's the polite thing to do, and has been the polite thing to do for about four generations.

DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.'

I Can't Resist Worm Robots
'Seen close it was not completely flexible...'

Rplate Digital License Plates Now Legal In Michigan
'Gragg's digital ink license plates ...'

Can Musk Starship Astronauts Use Magnetic Boots?
'Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron...'

Giant Dolphin Spotted On Jupiter!
'Now at last he could appreciate its real size and complexity...'

Musk's Starship An SF Fan's Dream Come True
Perfect for testing, perfect for fans!

TinyMobileRobots Are Sewer Sentinels
Every movie monster gets its start someplace.

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.