Science Fiction Round-up: Video Games Driving Technology, and Cyberflippers
Posted by erikthereddest
Hello everyone! Last week I went on about media and important differences between them (etc. etc.). It was a thorough and in-depth article, and this week I was supposed to dive right back into it.
Well, I think we need a quick break from that. So instead, this week, I’ve compiled another Science Fiction Round-up for your reading pleasure. If you’re new, this is a series of articles I’ve scrounged from my own vast surveys of SF-related news sites and blogs (because I’m into that sort of thing) and pull them together for your inspiration. I get ideas from reading these things all the time, so I thought I’d pass them on to you. You’re welcome!
As I’ve outlined before, there is a unique, chicken-and-egg relationship between science fiction and technology. Many ideas in science fiction literature comes from actual science (obviously), however, many technologies are developed after being imagined by SF writers. Similarly, a lot of technological development is spurred by video games, either because the tech is useful to the gaming industry, or as a consequence of the games themselves.
Oculus Rift: Affordable Virtual Reality (Finally)
One example of this is the ever-sought (but rarely successful) niche of Virtual Reality. It’s interesting to note just how popular the idea of virtual reality is in popular media, but how unsuccessful virtual reality products have been historically. From Morton Heilig’s Sensorama to Nintendo’s Virtual Boy (which I actually own), virtual reality products have never really taken off. But of course, a certain quality vs. cost calculation has always been it’s bane (these products are always really expensive and never deliver much).
This is all changing, however, with the Oculus Rift, widely being touted as one of the first viable attempts to mainstream virtual reality. The system is intended as a display for video games, which have been the focus and driving force behind the technology in the consumer market, whereas simulations (such as aircraft and parachuting trainers) drive it in military and corporate markets.
In any case, this is an exciting development, but it mostly feels weird to me that we are actually going to have to integrate this technology into our lives in the near future. For instance, this article deals with thoughts on how to properly gain someone’s attention politely while they are using the Oculus Rift device, since you wouldn’t want to freak them out too badly in the process.
Soon You May Have An Excuse to Scarf That Snickers Bar
I can’t tell from reading this article if the creators of this project got the idea from Deus Ex: Human Revolution or not (the chicken-or-egg scenario again), but the connection is clear. In the game, protagonist Adam Jensen, a cyborg, has to eat powerbars to replenish his strength after he hits someone in the face. In the game, it’s a mechanic that keeps the player from pile-driving every single enemy. In real life, it could be a legitimate way to power internal implants. The idea is to use the resources already present in the body to generate electricity for devices in leau of a battery. In this case, the biocells take oxygen and glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and break them down to create a charge.
It’s unlikely that the researchers responsible for the bio cells actually got the idea from Deus Ex, but the idea has been floating around in SF and video games for years. It’s interesting to see that this appears to be not only possible, but a very practical technology.
Finally, Prosthetics for Quadruple Flipper Amputees
To end on a completely different note, apparently some Japanese researchers found it necessary to give artificial flippers to a loggerhead turtle. After being caught and mangled in a fishing net in 2008, the turtle lost its flippers. Scientists have been trying since to design prosthetic flippers to allow the critter to swim normally. It’s taken a lot of tries (this is their 27th iteration) but I think they’ve come pretty close:
I’m not quite sure about the general applications of this research, but I’m finding it hard to care. Daw.
Well, that’ll be it for this week. Next week I’ll get into the details of elements that transcend media. Until then, how much is too much for virtual reality? Since the push for mainstream VR is coming soon, do you think you’ll buy into it? Let me know in the comments below!
About erikthereddestI'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 February 20, 2013, in Erik Marsh, Inspiration, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Roundup, Technology, Writing Hints and Helps and tagged cybernetics, Oculus Rift, science fiction roundup, technology, writing science fiction. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.