Science Fiction Roundup: Hunger Games for Robots, Cloning Mammoths, AR Glasses, and a Parrot

Hello everyone! I know last week I promised an analysis of the writing mistakes in the ending of Mass Effect 3, but seeing as I haven’t quite finished it yet (Spring Break wasn’t quite long enough), I thought I should probably save that for next week. So, instead, here’s a roundup of a bunch of sci-fi-related articles that are both great story material, and stuff I thought was pretty cool.

The Hunger Games Arena, Now With Robots

With the new Hunger Games movie coming out this Friday, it’s not surprising that this article coming from LiveScience made the comparison of the US Navy’s recently opened Laboratory of Autonomous Research and the sadistic death arena of Suzanne Collins’ bestseller. The facility, a multi-environment testing center complete with wave beach, forty-one foot deep ‘ocean’ tank, jungle, and desert areas, is designed as a testing center for robots and soldiers alike (although the story claims these are strictly not pitted against each other in a battle to the death). Check out the link for more details, and some less-than-thrilling pictures. Honestly, couldn’t they have at least painted the walls or something?

Navy Opens ‘Hunger Games’ Arena for Military Robots (LiveScience)

Cloning Baby Mammoths ‘Jurrassic Park’ Style

mummified baby mammoth

Picture courtesy of Singularity Hub

Ok, so the mammoth-mummy is kind of creepy, but cloning an ancient breed of enormous prehistoric elephants couldn’t possibly be a bad idea, now could it? Some Korean scientists don’t think so! It’s actually a joint venture with a bunch of different groups, all attempting to figure out a way to fertilize the egg of a modern-day elephant with the DNA of the extinct variety (to what purpose I have no idea, except SCIENCE!). Check out the link below for more details!

Korean and Russian Scientists Trying to Resurrect Mammoths (Singularity Hub)

Augmented Reality Glasses Are A Thing Now

Augmented reality, the superimposing of computer-generated images and information on the environment, is one of my favorite technologies, much more so since Google’s recent project came to light. Well, it seems a few other companies aren’t willing to let Google take the consumer AR market for themselves, as Microsoft has recently filed a patent for their own prototype, a device that actually fires low-powered visible lasers into the retina of each eye to form the images. It might sound scary and dangerous, but it’s actually a very clever way of getting around the focusing issue of having a screen so close to the eye, since the image will now be in the eye. Also, it seems a year ago Sony had a prototype 3D tv headset at the CES, which they are developing for movie and videogame entertainment. Not actually AR, but I just know someone’s going to stick a Kinect on that thing and turn it into a proper setup. Check out the links below!

Google’s AR Glasses Expected by Year’s End (PC World)

Microsoft Patents Laser-Based Display Technology (Ars Technica)

Sony’s Head-Mounted 3D Display (from last year, Ars Technica)

The Parrot AR Drone 2: Twice the Fun and None of the Molting

I’ve talked about how drones are likely to become very common in both military and civilian life, but before now there haven’t been any practical and affordable civilian drones available. The original Parrot drone, in fact, was too expensive and far too fragile to be reasonable, but since the quadricopter’s recent reboot, I’m betting there will be a new market surge of competition. The Parrot AR Drone 2 uses four propellers and a specialized balancing setup for stability, making it easy for even novice pilots to control with their iPhone or iPad (sadly, no Android devices), and a built-in camera that sends a live feed through a 3G internet connection to the controlling device. Check out the link below for more information!

The Parrot AR Drone 2 in Action (Singularity Hub)

That’s all for now! Next week I’ll have my analysis of Mass Effect 3’s writing issues. Until then, how well do you think the AR glasses popping up will actually do once they’re on the market? Are we looking at another 3D tv non-craze in the making? Let me know in the comments below!


About erikthereddest

I'm a Masters student in English, and I love technology and Science Fiction. I am refining and enhancing my (admittedly novice) writing talents under the sage advice of my friends here at Lantern Hollow Press, and with the great many books I am reading from the best authors I can find.

Posted on March 21, 2012, in Erik Marsh, Inspiration, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Roundup, Suzanne Collins, Technology, The Hunger Games, Writing Hints and Helps and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I am fairly obsessed with the mammoth cloning project. I know I probably should have learned the lesson from Jurassic Park, but I say damn the consequences, I want to pet extinct species. I love the idea that we could correct human mistakes in overhunting and bring back species that we are responsible for their extinction. Certainly evolution has started filling the empty niches left by the passenger pigeon or dodo but we have done truly great work bring back buffalo and other species from the brink and I’d love to see some extinct megafauna roaming the wilderness of Northern Canada.

    • I do wonder if there would be an ecological place for them now, however.It seems to me we might just end up with a bunch of interesting zoo exhibits, and that’s about it.

      • There isn’t really a biological niche for them that needs filling, but there certainly isn’t anything of that size in North America that is filling the niche. From what I’ve read their extinction seemed to correspond to other herbivores’ populations and ranges expanding and to a change in diet for Native American hunter/gatherers.

  2. What we could learn from a live mammoth–we have no idea. Not exactly the same hubris as creating an island full of velociraptors. Even that, if it had been a carefully controlled experiment and not a them park . . . maybe it’s fortunate don’t really have the option when it comes to the raptors! But I would love to see this mammoth. On the other hand, we should be trying just as hard to preserve habitat for the pachyderms we’ve still got.

    • Mammoths may have been herbivores, but to me having an island full of them would be just about as terrifying. Ever heard of feral elephants? Coming soon: feral mammoths! Twice as big and twice as ornery!

    • The great thing about a mammoth though is that its evolved to live in cold climates unlike African and Asian pachyderms. There are huge swaths of unused and/or protected land in the Northwest and in Canada that should be suitable for them (provided it doesn’t get too much hotter; next year I’d like an actual winter in New Jersey). And if their populations grow fast enough they might provide a new (old) food source for artic predators that are slowly being threatened more and more by the change in their environments and for Northern tribes that still practice subsistence hunting.

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