Science fiction authors make their living by conjuring up fantastical technology and exploring the worlds that would result from such developments. The real world, however, is full of technology that could walk right off the page of a novel by Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein.
While we don’t yet have spaceships that can travel faster than light or robot servants that cater to our every whim, much of the technology we do have is no less fantastical.
Check out these real-world technologies that seem like science fiction.
The Teenager Repellant
As we age, our ability to hear sounds at high frequencies gets worse. Clever researchers used this phenomenon to design a device that emits a noise that irritates and annoys the young, while leaving those over the age of 25 oblivious to its presence.
Called the Mosquito after the high-pitched whine of those annoying insects, it is used to prevent loitering and other anti-social behavior. This kind of social manipulation and crowd control wouldn’t be out of place in any dystopian novel!
The Heat Ray
Heat rays were used by the Martian invaders in H.G. Wells’ classic novel ‘The War of the Worlds’. The US military may have been inspired by this novel when they developed the ‘Active Denial System’.
Using electromagnetic radiation, the device works somewhat like a microwave oven, but rather than being used to heat up food, it is used to heat up the outer layers of human skin. The immediate and intense pain is used for crowd control, and unlike the Martians weapon, the US military maintains that no lasting damage is caused.
The Artificial Pop Star
Many sci-fi movies and books have android news readers or robot musical sensations. In Japan, this has become a reality.
Hatsune Miku is an artificial pop star whose voice was created from samples taken from a voice actress. This would not be very unusual if she was only responsible for videos and recordings, but Hatsune Miku has performed live in front of large crowds by means of a 3D projection.
The Designer Baby
Brave New World is just one of the novels that examined how control over reproduction and genetic makeup could affect our society. More recently, the movie GATTACA explored how our growing knowledge of the links between genes, health and accomplishment could lead to discrimination and a host of other problems.
While we are not yet at the point where we are creating human beings from a blueprint, we have seen donor eggs used to create children with three genetic parents, as well as the selection of embryos with a particular genetic makeup in order to create a donor sibling for a sick child.
This is a guest post by James who blogs on technology including devices like the Mosquito and internet news.