Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Science Fiction Comes to Life

One of my favorite authors is Vernor Vinge, who explores how the evolution of technology impacts future societies.  Vernor is a former professor of computer science, so it is perhaps no surprise that his tech focus appeals to me.  The novel The Peace War imagines a post-apocalyptic society that is recovering from a world war that was prompted, in part, by a new force field generating device (called the Bobbler).

There are all kinds of futuristic technologies described in this book, which is typical for Vinge's literature.  In one scene, the protagonist is about to be ambushed by a group of bad guys. He hands a gun to his teenage companion, who takes out the bad guys without hardly aiming the gun.  The trick is that the gun has computer-guided bullets, which the protagonist directed using his laptop.

This sounded like standard sci-fi tech fantasy until I heard about the self-guided bullet that has been developed by Sandia National Laboratories.  Mashable has a fun video describing the work (see Yahoo News).  Although I work at Sandia, the team working on this didn't invite me to the test range.  Perhaps I'll get to help test out the Bobbler.  ;)

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