Wednesday, March 18, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] inventions as fiction


for the question on inventions as fiction, there are of course many
points to discuss from impossible machines, useless machines,
to the way that certain scientists use imaginary machines to motivate
scientific work ( the proselytizing by Drexler on nanottechnology comes
to mind)= and also the fantastic machines that seem to come up time
again tied to the work of Tesla

see for instance the current static electicity installation of Grasso
and gacona at palais de tokyo in paris

there was an interesting study by the european space agency
advanced technology division where they did a study on ideas
for future inventions in the work of writers and artists- and they
looked do see which inventions turned out to be realised, and which
did not= they also funded some follow up R and D research on some
of the ideas they found in art and literature- ( for instance in the
area of bio mimicry)

the report can be found at


here is the intoduction

The idea that perhaps science-fiction (SF) literature contained
innovative technological ideas that could possibly
be brought to the point of development with either today's technology
or technology that is just around the corner
was the driving force behind a recent European Space Agency (ESA)
study entitled "Innovative Technologies from
Science Fiction" (ITSF).
The main objectives of the study were to review the past and present
science-fiction literature, artwork and films
in order to identify and assess innovative technologies and concepts
described therein which could possibly be
developed further for space applications. In addition, it was hoped to
garner imaginative ideas, potentially viable
for long-term development by the European space
sector, which could help in predicting the course of
future space technologies and their impact.
Those involved in the study (scientists, engineers,
SF writers, laymen) reviewed and brain-stormed on the
technologies in SF literature and came up with a list of
technologies which an expert team is assessing to see
whether they might be worthy of greater in-depth
evaluation. Some technologies might be judged
unfeasible, some might have already been tried before
and found not to work. However, new tools and
techniques are being developed all the time and what
was not possible several years ago might be possible
today. Indeed, the study has already suggested a couple
of promising areas for further investigation. Many of the
concepts, technologies and devices thrown up by the
study are contained in this brochure, together with
artists' conceptions of these ideas.
Science-fiction literature, artwork and films are full of
descriptions of space technologies and systems – often
just pure imagination, sometimes based on some
semblance of fact. Early science-fiction authors, artists,
and illustrators described space concepts and
spacecraft based on the limited scientific knowledge
available at the time, whereas more modern writers
generally portray the same basic systems as used in
real-life space flight in their literature and art, even
though artistic licence is often employed. It still gives
them the opportunity, however, to promote their ideas,
which may not otherwise be possible through more
formal scientific evaluation processes.
2 Introduction

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