Filed under: Connections, General Musings, NPR, Science, Science Fiction, Star Trek, tech, Writing stuff | Tags: augmented reality, blogging, Diane Rehm, jim downey, Morning Edition, NPR, predictions, Samsung, science, Science Fiction, smartphone, St. Cybi's Well, Star Trek, technology, tricorder, writing
Seriously. It’s a common thing for me. Usually I shower while listening to Morning Edition or The Diane Rehm show, picking up on the news or some interesting topic of conversation. The combination of engaging my brain while relaxing my body seems to prompt intuitive leaps and interesting insights. And I had an excellent one this morning.
From back in December:
He turned the hand-held on, did a quick check to make sure it had the software and apps he’d asked for. Everything was there. He’d pick up a burner phone later, and swap the SIMM card into the hand-held.
Compare it to this passage:
He turned the hand-held on, did a quick check to make sure it had the software and apps he’d asked for. Everything was there. It was a model with a ‘super stylus’ – one end for working on the screen like any stylus, the other which had an integrated camera and microphone system wirelessly tethered to the phone. With the range of applications available, this damned near made the thing a proto-tricorder. He’d pick up a burner phone later, and swap the SIMM card into the hand-held.
No big deal, right? Just two additional sentences. What constitutes a minor tweak, right?
Actually, it’s the first major revision of St Cybi’s Well. Granted, I’m only about halfway done with the first draft, so calling it a revision might seem to be a bit much. But it’s not.
Consider what you could do with such a change to our current technology. My present smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy Note II. It’s a great phone, with an amazing range of applications available for it. If you added a resident decent camera and mic to the end of the stylus, combined with the right software, this thing really would be almost like a tricorder. Particularly if the quality of the camera were such that it could pick up a wider range of EMR than just normal visible light, and the mic(s) were sensitive to a wider range of sounds. You might need to add in something like an IR or UV “flash/laser” on the phone body, but doing so would allow you to do a wide range of diagnostics well outside the usual range of human vision and hearing. Just off the top of my head it would be capable of:
- Checking surface temperatures.
- Night vision.
- Motion detection.
- Blood oxygenation & glucose monitoring.
- Pulse/heart monitor.
- The ability to look around corners or over walls, into small crevices/holes …
- The ability to listen to distant sounds and to estimate location of same.
You get the idea. And pretty much all that should be possible with our present level of technology (both hardware & software), just brought together in some slightly different ways.
So yeah, just two sentences dropped into the “Prelude” to the actual novel, but which sets the stage for me to allow my characters to know and do more throughout the whole book.
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