Science Fiction
Dictionary

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Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions
(sorted by Publication Date)

Most of these items are linked to information about similar real-life inventions and inventors; click on an invention to learn more about it.

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1600-1899  1900-1929  1930's  1940's  1950's  1960's  1970's  1980's  1990's  2000+

Date Device Name (Novel Author)
2000 Anti-Virus Design Software (from Super-Cannes: A Novel by J.G. Ballard)
Create a living space such that the spread of disease is less likely.
2000 Floating Island (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
Large artificial islands floating on Earth's seas.
2000 Artificial Intelligence Device (AID) (from A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo)
Hand-held device responds intelligently to military intelligence requests.
2000 Oceanic Thermal Energy Converter (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
A device that uses the sea to help create electricity.
2000 Beetle (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
A hard-shelled dirigible.
2000 Napcap Capsule (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
A handy refuge for travelers in busy terminals; a sleep aid when you really need one.
2000 Randominoes (from Nymphomation by Jeff Noon)
Dominoes that randomly generate new numbers.
2000 Napcap Induction Cap (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
A device that aids sleep and relaxation by working with the subject's brain waves.
2000 Bubble (from Saturn's Race by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes))
An undersea elevator.
2000 Blurbflies (Sing. Blurbfly) (from Nymphomation by Jeff Noon)
Small robotic/organic advertisers.
2000 Provigil-C (from A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo)
A special drug that promotes wakefulness in troops.
2001 Datapack (from Dune: House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert)
A compact device for carrying data.
2001 Inertial Bracelet (from Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury)
Device to still hand tremors.
2001 Wearables (from Fast Times At Fairmont High by Vernor Vinge)
Slang for 'wearable computer.'
2001 Weather Pod (from Dune: House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert)
Imperial technology available to planetologists only.
2001 Smart Contact Lenses (from Fast Times At Fairmont High by Vernor Vinge)
Contact lenses that have a built-in computer display.
2002 Bullet-guard Overalls (from Kiln People by David Brin)
Very tough fabric.
2002 E-Suit (Environmental Suit) (from Chindi by Jack McDevitt)
A forcefield that encloses air and heat around the body, but does not repel objects or radiation.
2002 Ditto Blank (from Kiln People by David Brin)
A mentally unformed android, upon which a personality could be impressed.
2002 Poppins (from Kiln People by David Brin)
An android body imprinted with the personality of a Master Nanny.
2002 Hyperpig (from Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds)
A genetic chimera of pig and human.
2002 Mobile Persocom (from Chobits by Manga Clamp)
A personal computer in human form.
2002 Photo-Voltaic Robes (from Snow in the Desert by Neal Asher)
Outerwear made from material that absorbs sunlight and outputs electricity.
2002 Sick Stick (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
Baton that induces vomiting upon contact.
2002 Spider Robot (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
Tiny spider-sized robots that are able to search buildings and identify occupants.
2002 Vagus Nerve Bio-Chip (from Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold)
Relief from nausea without drugs.
2002 Reggie the Bartending Machine (from The Outpost by Mike Resnick)
A mechanism able to mix drinks; a robot bartender.
2002 Pocket Dome (from Chindi by Jack McDevitt)
Handy easy-to-set-up shelter.
2002 Halo (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
Device that incapacitates a person by inducing unconsciousness.
2002 Minority Report Ads (Biometric Personalized Ads) (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
Advertisements that speak directly to the consumer in public settings.
2002 Robofish (Mitsubishi Robot Turbot) (from Slow Life by Michael Swanwick)
A powerful, meter-long robotic fish used to take samples from liquid lakes on other worlds (like Titan).
2002 E-paper Newspaper (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
A paper-thin, flexible LCD-style display that is large enough to display a full newspaper page.
2002 Manna (from Manna by Marshall Brain)
A software program that autonomously manages restaurants or other service industry businesses.
2002 Maelstrom (from Maelstrom by Peter Watts)
A description of the next generation Internet
2002 Provigil (from When the Devil Dances by John Ringo)
A medication that makes the user 'untired' - not just more awake.
2002 Data Tiles (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
Transparent panes that contain data and programs.
2002 Public Iris Scanner (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
A device that uses iris-scanning for identification, and does not require subject awareness.
2002 Wired Glove Interface Display (from Minority Report (Movie) by Steven Spielberg)
A large screen display that uses a wired glove interface.
2002 Gravity Tube (from Chindi by Jack McDevitt)
A special passage way that eases the movement of material within a ship.
2002 Imprint (A Ditto Blank) (from Kiln People by David Brin)
Impress one's personality upon a 'ditto blank' android.
2002 Durachrome (from Honor of the Regiment by Keith Laumer)
Very hard alloy for tanks.
2002 Workplace Distancing (from Manna by Marshall Brain)
A computer application that arranges that workers never encounter each other, to reduce gossiping and wasted time.
2002 Terrafoam Dorm Building (from Manna by Marshall Brain)
Maximum people in minimum space.
2003 Spray-on Surgical Gloves (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
Effective glove for surgeons that is skin tight.
2003 Autosurgeon (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A mechanical aid to physicians, performing surgical procedures with surgeons present.
2003 E-paper Hologram (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A cover image that really pops out at the viewer.
2003 Traction City Gut (from Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve)
The area of a Traction City used for taking apart and consuming captured prey cities.
2003 Slow Gun (from Singularity Sky by Charles Stross)
Device shoots slow projectiles that use neurotoxin.
2003 Municipal Darwinism (from Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve)
The process by which smaller towns were eaten by larger ones.
2003 Pigoon (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
A transgenic pig, bred to grow replacement organs for humans.
2003 Handipad (from Wyrmhole by Jay Caselberg)
An electronic tablet for information browsing.
2003 E-Sheet (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A disposable medium for reading electronic messages.
2003 Traction City (from Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve)
Cities re-engineered as enormous, lumbering machines.
2003 Alien Tarantula (from Engine City by Ken MacLeod)
Interesting illustration of an animal with gecko-like manipulative capabilities.
2003 Interway (from The Tels by Paul Black)
Computer-controlled highway.
2003 Smart Wallpaper (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
Wallpaper that can sense your mood and provide an appropriate color scheme.
2003 ChickieNobs (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
Chicken meat sliced from a transgenic organism.
2003 Little Bird (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A remote-control "eye-in-the-sky" miniature drone plane (UAV).
2003 Companion Implant (from Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert J. Sawyer)
Electronic device placed within the body; it has a wide variety of uses.
2003 Alibi Archive (from Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert J. Sawyer)
A recording made of transmissions from a personal implant that perceived everything that happened to that individual.
2003 Self-Cleaning Gym Suit (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
Removes the source of odor.
2003 Email Shirt (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
See your email on your shirt.
2003 Goat/Spider Silk (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
High tensile strength fibers from - goats.
2003 Whuffie (from Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow)
A system in which one's actions, as perceived by others, directly procure the necessities of life; reputation-based currency.
2003 Tuned-Laser Decontamination (from Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert J. Sawyer)
Process to destroy foreign biomolecules within the body.
2003 Happicuppa Coffee Bush (from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood)
A species of coffee bush designed for ease of harvesting.
2003 Illuminum (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A metal that glows with its own light.
2003 Speaker Chips (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
Integrated circuit chips placed in books; they could read the book and advertise it.
2003 Automated Sentry (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A biometric device that scans facial features for identification.
2003 Touch Tablet (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
Another name for a wireless Tablet PC.
2003 Needlecast (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A tightbeam transmission of your very being.
2003 Synthetic Sleeve (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
An artificial body, into which a person can be downloaded.
2003 Cortical Stack (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
Implanted hardware device that contains a backup copy of your mental self.
2003 Ideator (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A computer device specifically made to help model genes and proteins for identification.
2003 Biolution (from The Tels by Paul Black)
The revolution in biological manufacturing techniques.
2003 Olfactory Wakeup Call (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
An alarm clock that works by wafting scents your way.
2003 External Eyelenses (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
Way retro means of correcting vision problems in human beings.
2003 Philips Squeeze Gun (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A handheld railgun
2003 Causality-violation Device (or Weapon) (from Singularity Sky by Charles Stross)
Any of a variety of technologies intended to exploit time travel as a weapon.
2003 Automatic Hotel (Hotel Hendrix) (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A fully automated hotel; complete services provided from check-in to check-out.
2003 Specimen Track (from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear)
A means for transporting laboratory specimens from one workstation to another in an automated lab.
2003 Mandroid (from Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan)
A humanoid robot; a robot in the shape of a person.
2004 Arteria Portal (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
A wormhole entrance.
2004 Bee Cam (from City of Pearl by Karen Traviss)
Small, airborne, self-guided personal camcorder.
2004 Swiss (from City of Pearl by Karen Traviss)
A small piece of personal gear that combines a great many items in a single device.
2004 CTC Computer (Closed-Timeline-Curve Time-Travel) (from Exultant by Stephen Baxter)
A device that used time travel to perform computations.
2004 Perpetual Train (from Iron Council by China Mieville)
A vast machine that lays its own tracks as it moves forward.
2004 Signal Skin (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
Natural communication form for this species; skin that can spell out text.
2004 Waveform Hypothesis (from Backbeat - A Novel of Physics by J. Frederick Arment)
2004 Quantum Communications Hub (from Defeated by Sean McKee)
A communications satellite that permits immediate communication between planets and ships in the solar system.
2004 Memory Diamond (from Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross)
Very dense memory storage.
2004 Tacspace (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
An augmented representation of space battles.
2004 Implanted Comlink (from Savior by Nancy Kress)
Transceiver inserted below the skin.
2004 Muscle Sensor Interface (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
Interface senses muscle movements to control display.
2004 Gillfluid (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
Breathable fluid that provides oxygen to the lungs, allowing greater pressure on the body.
2004 Loiter-Drone (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
A autonomous flying device that hovers protectively over a defined area.
2004 Emissarial Projection (from The Algebraist by Iain M Banks)
An expert system able to converse and act in the capacity of ambassador.
2005 Kink-Spring (from The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi)
A device that stores energy with near-perfect efficiency.
2005 Computronium (from Accelerando by Charles Stross)
Intelligent matter; nanocomputing processors masquerading as ordinary material.
2005 Hyper-Developed Mulies (from The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi)
Bioengineered animals that optimally transform vegetable matter into usable mechanical energy.
2005 BrainPal (from Old Man's War by John Scalzi)
A neural implant.
2005 Computational Textile (from Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds)
Wearable computer sensors.
2005 Flexy (or Flexies) (from Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds)
A flexible, quasi-living computer.
2005 Megadont (from The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi)
An engineered mastodon, used to convert vegetable matter into energy.
2005 Motorized Combat Boots (from Accelerando by Charles Stross)
Russian army-surplus self-propelled footgear.
2005 Sprayrock (from Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds)
Special compound that can be sprayed onto a surface, that hardens into rock.
2005 Starwisp (from Accelerando by Charles Stross)
An small interstellar probe using a light-sail for propulsion.
2005 Dumb Matter (from Accelerando by Charles Stross)
Ordinary matter, with no nano-value added.
2005 Virtual Panopticon (from The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks)
A method that gathers information from many sources to effectively surveil any citizen as effectively as if he was in a glass cell.
2005 Sterile Seeds (from The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi)
Seeds that are bioengineered to grow, but not to produce fertile seeds.
2005 KloraDerm (from Old Man's War by John Scalzi)
Human skin variant that contains chlorophyll to provide energy.
2005 Lobster AI (from Accelerando by Charles Stross)
Scan a lobster brain, get a learning machine.
2006 Mobile Advertisements (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
Advertisements presented in mid-air in public spaces.
2006 Disperser (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
Device that gives an electric shock to anyone who touches a vehicle.
2006 Browser Paper (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
A paper-thin computer display.
2006 Municipal Cattle Remover (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A device to pick cattle up and place them in a truck for later dispersion in the countryside.
2006 Navicloud Custom Debinder (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
A machine that pulls books apart and scans the contents.
2006 House-of-Cards Construction (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
Architectural technique that uses computers to help buildings maintain their balance during earthquakes.
2006 Clothing Size Scanner (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A device that scanned a living person to determine clothing sizes.
2006 Magnetic Ram (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
A device that fires pulses of magnetic energy.
2006 Camera Tunnel (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
A device that captures images of shredded documents from all sides for reassembly.
2006 Librareome Project (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
Blasting libraries into bits to create a library of perfect digitized electronic books.
2006 Aether Cannon (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
A hand-held energy weapon.
2006 Pocket-Sized Ad-Blocker (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A device that prevented targeted advertisements from reaching you.
2006 Amphibious Skimmer (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
Amphibious drone with blades.
2006 Microwave Pistol (from Blindsight by Peter Watts)
Device designed to cause internal injury.
2006 Coder (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
Specialized humans who excel at engineering tasks.
2006 Automated Taxi (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A driverless taxicab.
2006 Answerboard (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
A forum or computer meeting location with experts on a particular topic.
2006 Voxcoder (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
Device for secure communication.
2006 Persuader (from Storm Thief by Chris Wooding)
Device secured to a person that ensures compliant behavior by threat of force.
2006 Timebroker (from Shuteye for the Timebroker by Paul Di Filippo)
A person who traded in the commodity of other people's time.
2006 A-Som (Antisomnolence Drugs) (from Shuteye for the Timebroker by Paul Di Filippo)
One simple pill removes the need for sleep.
2006 Stopper Bubble (from Red Lightning by John Varley)
Device that halts time within its boundaries.
2006 Wearables (Wearable Computers) (from Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge)
Computers and peripherals that use textiles for electronic circuitry.
2006 Pocket Scanner (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A device that scans for the codes that will open a vehicle's door on command.
2006 Command Bracelet (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A wrist-borne device with a variety of capabilities.
2006 Traffic Lane Discharger (from Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster)
A device that electrically shocked vehicles whose drivers attempted to evade traffic control devices.
2007 Overlay Specs (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
Glasses that provide an additional feature; an overlay that lets you see information and graphics along with the real-world view.
2007 Driverless Drones (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
One remote supervisor can drive a half-dozen drones, with some computer assistance.
2007 Cop Block (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A device that allows law enforcement officers to shut down the engine of a suspect's car or truck.
2007 Magnetic Levitating Bed (from Spook Country by William Gibson)
A bed that hovers above the floor, with no visible means of suport.
2007 Bubble-Gum Pylon (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
Device used to capture entire vehicles in car chases.
2007 Midge (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A very small flapping wing UAV that can be carried by a larger flying device.
2007 OSMO (Osmic Mobile Observers) (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
UAV with the ability to "smell" their human quarry.
2007 Orbital Weapon Lancet (OWL) (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A kinetic energy weapon placed in Earth orbit.
2007 Anemopter (from Finisterra by David Moles)
Special craft for journeys through the atmosphere of a gas giant planet.
2007 Airboarding (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
Typing in thin air to input characters into a computer.
2007 Blacknet (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
An antisocial networking site.
2007 CopSpace (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
A virtual location for police lifelogs, official communications, paperwork, informational databases and evidence of all kinds.
2007 Scanner Palm (from KOP by Warren Hammond)
A document scanner implanted in the palm of the hand.
2007 WAGD Germ Detector (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A hand-held biohazard analyzer.
2007 Remotely Operated Auto-targeting Gun (ROAG) (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A weapon able to pick out its own targets; it's action can be remotely initiated.
2007 SPOOKS (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
A live-action role playing (LARP) game that lets ordinary people play at being secret agents.
2007 Max Detention (Virtual Counsel) (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
A software implementation of a lawyer; an artificially intelligent legal advisor.
2007 Orphids (from Postsingular by Rudy Rucker)
Nanomachines replicate theselves from dust - and cover the Earth.
2007 Digital Paper Pad (from KOP by Warren Hammond)
Just one molecule thick, it flips bits by flipping molecules.
2007 DC Mini (from Paprika by Satoshi Kon)
A therapy tool that allows a psychotherapist to enter a patient's dreams.
2007 Tongueprint Verification (from Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven (w/E.M. Lerner))
A device that verifies the unique print of the tongue against a a database for identification purposes.
2007 Virtual World Theft (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
A method of stealing or reassigning ownership to items of value in virtual worlds.
2007 Lifelog (from Halting State by Charles Stross)
A life record made constantly.
2007 Weapon Sound Tracker (from Quantico by Greg Bear)
Locate an enemy by the sound of gunfire.
2008 Gait-Cam (from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)
A surveillance camera system that analyzes the unique way in which people walk, to identify them.
2008 Kinagram (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
Small print-size icons that presented a moving image.
2008 Headspace (from Flood by Stephen Baxter)
A virtual world in which a person could raise a virtual baby with full haptic realism.
2008 Angel Music Player (from Flood by Stephen Baxter)
A device that beams music directly into your brain, without wires.
2008 Ultimate Football League (UFL) (from The Sun Also Explodes by Chris Nakashima-Brown)
A football league without restrictions on human modification.
2008 Blithe (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
A plant engineered to produce a substance that brought out compliant behavior in those who consumed it.
2008 Homing Butterflies (from Moxyland by Lauren Beukes)
Butterflies modified to accompany a purchased bouquet.
2008 ParanoidLinux (from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)
A computer operating system that deliberately obscures the activities of the user.
2008 SchoolBook (from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)
A standard-issue laptop computer for school use.
2008 Photonomous (from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)
A program that strips out the digital noise signature from a picture file.
2008 Allswell (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
An organic compound found (or placed) in food that calms and mellows those who partake of it.
2008 Sky-Bike (from The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke (w/Pohl))
A human-powered floating bicycle built for use in lunar sports.
2008 Fuel Tree (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
Plants raised as fuel.
2008 Defuser (from Moxyland by Lauren Beukes)
Electroshock cellphones to keep unruly individuals under control.
2008 Spine-Clamp (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
A device that constrains the movements of convicted criminals.
2008 Photomnemonic Tablet (from Anathem by Neal Stephenson)
A device that both records and displays images with the same element.
2009 Controllable Drone Army (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
Darknet sorcerer uses gestures to control a network of drone servants.
2009 Laser-Induced Plasma (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
Shoots lightning from your fingertips.
2009 HUD Glasses (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
Integrated glasses and projector provides a portable heads-up display for augmented reality.
2009 Skin Computer (from Mariposa by Greg Bear)
A computer that looks like a tattoo, on a stretchable base.
2009 Third Eye (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
An output device that uses the skin of the user.
2009 Robobug (from The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks)
A cyborg insect.
2009 AutoM8 (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
A remote-controlled automobile.
2009 Websight (from WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer)
A way of visualizing the Internet internally.
2009 Dattoo (from Mariposa by Greg Bear)
A data exchange device worn on the skin like a tattoo.
2009 Digital Ink License Plate (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
License tags that can change both state and number in the blink of an eye.
2009 Razorback (from Daemon by Daniel Suarez)
Autonomous motorcycle weapons platform.
2009 EPR Phone (from Mariposa by Greg Bear)
Telephony that uses quantum effects for transmission - and is therefore the ultimate in anti-eavesdropping technology.
2009 Robot Snake Spy (from Mariposa by Greg Bear)
A small robot in the shape of a snake, used for field work by spies.
2009 Zip Paper (from Mariposa by Greg Bear)
Very thin display like a single sheet of paper.
2009 EyePod (from WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer)
A generic term for the external computing processing unit needed for eye implants.

1600-1899  1900-1949  1950's  1960's  1970's  1980's  1990's  2000's

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