Glossary/Dictionary of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions
( 3316 Inventions Available)

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Device Name Book/Story Author Date
D-9 Motherspinner
An enormous genetically engineered spider used to create large structures in space.
The Golden Globe Varley  1998
Daily Schedule (DS)
The DS was an artificially intelligent day planner, a schedule keeper with voice recognition features; it also talked back when necessary.
The Dosadi Experiment Herbert  1977
Dainties
Flavor spheres artificially grown.
Prelude to Foundation Asimov  1988
Dark Vapor Bubble
A kind of field that keeps an alien base provided with an atmosphere.
Man-Jewels for Xothar Wells  1936
Darkdawn City
An entire city that is tuned to be played by the winds.
Dying of the Light Martin  1977
Darkness Bomb
A small bulb containing a vapor that causes darkness to occur.
The Mightiest Machine Campbell  1934
Darknet Farm
A farm that uses computer networked information systems to achieve sustainable agriculture in a community.
Freedom Suarez  2010
Dashboard TV
A television placed in the dashboard of your car or similar vehicle.
The Chromium Fence Dick  1955
Data Goggles
Eyewear connected to a computer provides total immersion in the matrix.
Snow Crash Stephenson  1992
Data Haven
A place where data that cannot legally be kept can be stashed for later use; an offshore web host.
Islands in the Net Sterling  1988
Data Space
Computer storage and processor time rented by the user.
True Names Vinge  1981
Data Tiles
Transparent panes that contain data and programs.
Minority Report (Movie) Spielberg  2002
Datacase
A portable suitcase, containing useful electronics for the mobile business-person.
Heretics of Dune Herbert  1984
Data-Net
An early mention of the idea of a nationwide data network.
The Shockwave Rider Brunner  1975
Datapack
A compact device for carrying data.
Dune: House Harkonnen Herbert  2001
Data-Retrieval Mode
A system for getting the thoughts and images out of a person's mind; recovering the data from a brain storage device.
The Shockwave Rider Brunner  1975
Data-Retrieval Programs
Programs that searched the Net for specific information.
Earth Brin  1990
Dataset
A portable computer with multiple screens and capabilities.
A Fire Upon The Deep Vinge  1992
Dattoo
A data exchange device worn on the skin like a tattoo.
Mariposa Bear  2009
Datumplane
The workspace of console cowboys - the matrix.
Hyperion Simmons  1989
DC Mini
A therapy tool that allows a psychotherapist to enter a patient's dreams.
Paprika Kon  2007
Deadman's Device
A device implanted beneath the skin of an operative who is to be sent on a hazardous mission.
Shadowspeer Clayton  1990
Death Bath
A suicide chamber.
The Revolt of the Machines Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Death Projector
Wide angle Ray of death!
The Stolen Mind Staley  1930
Death Star
The logical endpoint of a galactic empire.
Star Wars Lucas  1976
Death-Beam
Ravening pale beams of light used in space battles.
Crashing Suns Hamilton  1928
Death-Rattle
A device that sends a signal upon brain death of the user.
The Unreconstructed M Dick  1957
Death-rattle File
A cache of information set to destroy itself upon the death of its owner.
The Zap Gun Dick  1965
Death-Ray
A thin ray of electric light that melts flesh away from the bone.
The World Masters Griffith  1903
Death-Reversal Equipment
Brings you back from losing a duel.
The Age of The Pussyfoot Pohl  1966
De-atomizing Ray
Beam of energy causes matter to fly apart.
Crashing Suns Hamilton  1928
Deceleration Chambers
Stressed, the ship breaks apart into parts that may survive.
The Storm van Vogt  1943
Deceleration Paste
Antidote for deceleration trauma.
Schismatrix Sterling  1985
Decibel Alarms
Alarms that would go off if the noise in public gathering places was rising to riotous levels.
A Bridle for Pegasus McCaffrey  1973
Decorative Implant
Small devices that can be implanted subcutaneously in the body and then controlled consciously.
Babel-17 Delany  1966
Deep Thought
The second-largest computer ever made.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Adams  1979
Deep-Radar
Device to image within large objects, even within mountains.
Ringworld Engineers Niven  1980
Deep-Space
Typically refers to the vast empty regions of interstellar space.
Triplanetary Smith  1934
Deflector
A means of pushing aside asteroids that get in the path of your space ship.
On Board the Martian Liner Breuer  1931
Deflector Shield
A energy field used to shunt the energy of offensive weapons aside.
Star Wars Lucas  1976
Defuser
Electroshock cellphones to keep unruly individuals under control.
Moxyland Beukes  2008
Dekon Type DCQ
Decontamination foam.
Subspace Explorers Smith  1965
Delayed Action Stereoscopic Principle
Distinguishing far off space craft by relative speed against the fixed stars.
Methuselah's Children Heinlein  1941
Deliverator Car
The vehicle for edgy pizza delivery.
Snow Crash Stephenson  1992
Delphi Pool
A large group of people used as a statistical sampling resource; even if the correct answer is not known, responses tend to cluster around the correct answer.
The Shockwave Rider Brunner  1975
Demagnitizing Ray
A beam of radiation that makes even the strongest steel as brittle as chalk.
The Lord of Labour Griffith  1911
Dental Switchboard
A control device tied in with teeth and nerve endings.
The Stars My Destination Bester  1956
Dentata
An anti-rape device.
Snow Crash Stephenson  1992
Depilatory Soap
A labor-saving combination of soap and a agent that removes hair.
Gravy Planet Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth)  1952
Deposition (3D Printing)
A method for creating any object, molecule by molecule.
Assassin Hogan  1978
Dermadisk
A means of quickly administering drugs directly through the skin.
Neuromancer Gibson  1984
Dermal Spray
A color coating for the skin, applied as a jet of vapor.
Dr. Futurity Dick  1960
Dermal-Mist Spray
Very refreshing for suburbanites.
Prominent Author Dick  1954
Desert Cabbage
A giant plant that regulates its internal temperature even on Mars.
Red Planet Heinlein  1949
Designed Bacteria
Very early reference to the idea of bacteria designed to wipe out a particular species, and no others.
Seeds of Dusk Gallun  1937
Designer Eyes
Genetic designers create better-than-perfect eyes for replicants.
Blade Runner Scott  1982
Desk (Personal Computer)
A computer for students.
Ender's Game Card  1985
Desk Secretary
A desk with a computerized secretary built into it.
The Long Result Brunner  1963
Desktop Flat Panel Intercom
A small desktop screen intercom system.
The Shape of Things To Come Wells  1936
Desktop-TV
Video available worldwide, prepared by everyone.
Factoring Humanity Sawyer  1998
Detectophone
First use of the idea of a voice-activated machine.
Ralph 124c 41 + Gernsback  1911
Deviatoscope
A device that registered how much your course diverged from what you intended.
The Emperor of the Stars Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Device Replication
Manufacturing devices from a template to save space on space craft.
The Man in the Maze Silverberg  1969
Dew Gatherers
Devices used to gather morning dew as a source of drinking water.
Dune Herbert  1965
Dewlog
A drug with the side-effect of virtually eliminating hunger.
The Traitor von Rachen  1941
Diabological Armory
A set of verbal tools based on a higher form of reasoning.
Diabologic Russell  1955
Diagnostat
A device able to diagnose and treat most human ailments.
The Man in the Maze Silverberg  1969
Diagnostic Sleeve
Worn on one arm, it diagnoses and adminsters medications.
Gripping Hand Niven (w/J. Pournelle)  1993
Diaheliper
Offers delivery of diapers by air.
The Morning of the Day They Did It White  1950
Diamagnetic Levitation
Levitation accomplished using magnetic field's interference with the motion of electrons orbiting the atoms or molecules of a material.
The Currents of Space Asimov  1962
Diaspar Memory
The city's memory could store works of art, and reproduce them upon request.
The City and the Stars Clarke  1956
Dictatel
A thought-based dictating machine.
God Emperor of Dune Herbert  1981
Didge-Ital
Islands in the Net Sterling  1988
Digger Worm
A robot shaped like a fat snake, or worm; used for mining.
With Friends Like These Willis  1985
Digital Ink License Plate
License tags that can change both state and number in the blink of an eye.
Daemon Suarez  2009
Digital Paper Pad
Just one molecule thick, it flips bits by flipping molecules.
KOP Hammond  2007
Digital Running Shoes
Shoes with a digital readout showing performance.
Islands in the Net Sterling  1988
Dime Disk
A very small data storage medium.
The Best of all Possible Wars Niven  1998
Dimensino
An alien entertainment center that provides the ultimate in immersive experience.
Time is the Simplest Thing Simak  1961
Dimension Shifting Apparatus
Achieves faster than light space travel by moving into a different, parallel dimension.
Cosmic Quest Hamilton  1936
Dimensoscope
A telescope for peering into other dimensions.
The Fifth-Dimension Catapult Leinster  1931
Diptray
A hovering tray of drinks, used for parties.
This Immortal Zelazny  1966
Dirac Transmitter (also Tranceiver or Communicator)
A device that provides instantaneous communication anywhere in the galaxy.
Cities in Flight Blish  1957
Direct Interface
A form of computer interface that inputs text into a computer by thinking.
Steel Beach Varley  1992
Directed Cars in Tunnels
Self-driving vehicles.
The Lord of Tranerica Coblentz  1939
Directional Ticket
A ticket that also has the property of glowing while you are going toward what you bought.
Foundation Asimov  1951
Directrix Z9M9Z
A control center ship for a vast space armada.
Gray Lensman Smith  1942
Dirigible Space Armor (Working Space Suits)
Heavy-duty space suits for mining work on asteroids.
Collision Orbit Williamson  1941
Dirt-Farming
An archaic method of food production.
The End of the Line Schmitz  1951
Dirtside
The surface of a planet.
Starman Jones Heinlein  1953
Disabler
A device that drains power quickly from an electric vehicle.
The Human Blend Foster  2010
Discorporaphone
For speaking with the electronic dead.
Babel-17 Delany  1966
Discorporate Sector
An electronic afterlife.
Babel-17 Delany  1966
Disease Circuit
A feature of robotic animals which indicated a need to repair by emulating animal sickness.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick  1968
Disintegrator
A device that causes objects to burst into molecular pieces.
Edison's Conquest of Mars Serviss  1898
Disintegrator Plate Ray
Ray cuts through metal like butter.
The Revolt of the Machines Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Disintegrator Ray (Dis Ray)
A device that projects a beam reducing matter to nothingness.
Armageddon: 2419 A.D. Nowlan  1928
Disinto
A disintegrating ray.
Robot AL-76 Goes Astray Asimov  1941
Diskoid
A huge flying saucer.
Slaves of Mercury Schachner  1932
Disney Therapy
Letting people retreat to a simpler time, for their mental health.
Steel Beach Varley  1992
Dispensing Tooth
A device shaped like a tooth that dispenses gas.
Dune Herbert  1965
Disperser
Device that gives an electric shock to anyone who touches a vehicle.
Sagramanda Foster  2006
Displacement Booth
A teleportation portal.
Flash Crowd Niven  1972
Display-Induced Epileptic Seizure
A computer program that flashes a computer display to induce an epileptic seizure in the user.
Press Enter Varley  1984
Disposal-Safe
Device to store and, if necessary, destroy documents.
Exploration Team Leinster  1956
Disruptor Bomb
A bomb with a very special purpose; when detonated in space, it makes it impossible to detect the center of the explosion from the dispersion of the fragments.
The Man in the Maze Silverberg  1969
Disruptor Tube (Disruptor Ray)
A device that interrupted the very bonds between atoms.
The Emperor of the Stars Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Distrans
Device produces a temporary neural imprint on the nervous system of Chiroptera or birds.
Dune Herbert  1965
Ditto Blank
A mentally unformed android, upon which a personality could be impressed.
Kiln People Brin  2002
Diveskin
Special wetsuit that allows a diver to function at extreme depths.
Starfish Watts  1999
Diving Apparatus
Equipment used to go for walks on the sea bed; the direct ancestor of modern scuba diving equipment.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Verne  1875
Dixon Pump
An temporary mechanical heart to circulate blood.
Dr. Futurity Dick  1960
DNA Music Storage
Encoding music in junk DNA.
Year Zero Reid  2012
DNA Publishing
Encode a poem or story in DNA, then multiply.
Spiral McEuen  2011
DNA Swab Palate
Adheres to the palate, and provides false material for DNA swabs.
The Breach Hill  2020
Dog Pod Grid
A swarm of quasi-independent aerostatic devices.
The Diamond Age Stephenson  1995
Dog Suit
A disguise worn by an alien detective, allowing him to look just like a domestic canine.
Doorways in the Sand Zelazny  1976
Dolphin's Hands
Digital prosthetic for dolphins.
Handicap Niven  1967
Domed Mapviewer
Illuminated hemispherical map display.
Dorsai! Dickson  1960
Dominator
Device implants a psychological block.
The End of the Line Schmitz  1951
Donnersprache
A hypnotic transceiver that enhances the charisma of speakers.
Silent Thunder Ing  1991
Doorseal
A portable plastic seal used in temporary camps to keep moisture from escaping from dwelling places.
Dune Herbert  1965
Dope Mule Robot
A metal sphere that propels itself with a single piston-like foot.
Heavy Weather Sterling  1994
Dormancy Switch
Essential device 'switches off' your cyborg animal, causing it to quickly drop off to sleep.
Sparrowhawk Easton  1990
Dornier
A small surveillance drone capable of hovering in midair.
Mona Lisa Overdrive Gibson  1988
Double-Door Vestibule
A special doorway leading from the interior of a spacecraft leading out into space which maintains the air pressure within the craft.
A Journey In Other Worlds Astor IV  1894
Doublethink
A mental discipline that is an exact contradiction to the basic principles of scientific inquiry.
1984 Orwell  1948
Dozer
A person with extreme susceptibility to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Earth Brin  1990
Dr. Smile
A suitcase-sized analyst; a machine that served as a psychotherapist.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Dick  1965
Drafting Dan
The first computer software drafting program (Computer Aided Design - CAD).
The Door Into Summer Heinlein  1956
Dragonfly Sky-Bike
An ultralight human-powered flyer.
Rendezvous With Rama Clarke  1972
Dray-Fish
Large fish trained to be harnessed to large houseboats.
The Moon Moth Vance  1976
Dream Console
Device allows a therapist to enter and create dreams in patients.
The Dream Master Zelazny  1966
Dream Park
A vacation theme park in which the visitors participated fully in the different environments.
Dream Park Niven (w/S. Barnes)  1981
DreamTime Scleral Contact Lenses
Full-size contact lenses that can provide an augmented reality view.
The California Voodoo Game Niven (w/S. Barnes)  1992
Dressing Machine
A robotic device to serve as a mechanical dresser.
Roll Out the Rolov! Anvil  1953
Dressing Machines
Semi-autonomous guided devices that could dress a person in ordinary clothing.
The Revolt of the Machines Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Drinking Bulb
A small container, used for drinks.
The Warriors Niven  1966
Driverless Car
A car that drives itself; an autonomous vehicle.
The Living Machine Keller  1935
Driverless Drones
One remote supervisor can drive a half-dozen drones, with some computer assistance.
Halting State Stross  2007
Driverless Taxi
A taxi that does not require a driver.
The Living Machine Keller  1935
Droid (First Use)
Contraction of "android".
Robots of the World! Arise! Wolf  1952
Droid (Star Wars)
A contraction of "android", it actually describes one of a variety of robots.
Star Wars Lucas  1976
Dromozoa
Life forms that cause the human body to bud new parts for harvesting.
A Planet Named Shayol Smith  1961
Drone Floater Camera
A one-foot square aerostat capable of hovering with a camera to transmit images back to a base station.
Runaway Crichton  1985
Drop Shaft (Neutralization of Inertia)
An 'elevator shaft' in which the user can fall at the speed of gravity, then be stopped without inertia (i.e., instantly).
Galactic Patrol Smith  1937
Drop-Capsule
Minimal spaceship.
The Man in the Maze Silverberg  1969
Dropshaft
An elevator shaft with no elevator - the "lift" is from gravity or suppressed inertia.
Deeper Than the Darkness Ellison  1957
Droud
A transformer to step down house current for the wire providing current directly to the pleasure center of the brain.
Death by Ecstasy Niven  1969
Dumb Matter
Ordinary matter, with no nano-value added.
Accelerando Stross  2005
Dumbler
Half-sentient spores of the whistle thistle.
Hothouse Aldiss  1962
Durachrome
Very hard alloy for tanks.
Honor of the Regiment Laumer  2002
Durasteel
More durable than steel?
Sunward Flight Zagat  1943
Durite
Super-strong material used to counter reaction-blasts.
Misfit Heinlein  1939
Dust-Cruiser
Specialized lunar transport able to negotiate dust-filled craters on the Moon.
A Fall of Moondust Clarke  1961
Dustmice
Tiny robotic sensors that police could set loose in a crime scene, looking for tiny clues.
Queen of Angels Bear  1990
Dustmote
A tiny sensor device that could also form networks with other motes.
A Deepness in the Sky Vinge  1999
Dustplug
A cover specially made to protect one's microsoft socket; a tongue retainer for your brain.
Count Zero Gibson  1986
Dust-Ski
Special vehicle adapted for quick travel over powdered lunar soil.
A Fall of Moondust Clarke  1961
Dutch Clock (Time Machine)
A tall Dutch clock with hands that move... backward.
The Clock That Went Backward Mitchell  1881
DVD/VCR (Entertainment Player)
A device that accepts stored moving picture entertainment and makes it available for viewing.
When the Sleeper Wakes Wells  1899

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Science Fiction
in the News

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