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Science Fiction Happening Now

Bionic people? Yeah, we’re working on that.

Check out the book I’m reading, We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time by Kara Platoni.

We Have the Technology by Kara PlatoniI’m on the third chapter, Vision. Platoni starts the chapter with the man who has “the Model T” eye. He’s one of a few people in a medical clinical trial with an electronic eye implant that helps him see. He only sees black, white, gray, and flashes of light, but that’s more than he could see for the prior 17 years.

Since I’m not in the field, I didn’t know a fifth taste had been identified and added to the four I knew. Besides sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, we also have umami or savory. (School kids may know this now, but the newest sense became official long after I got out of school.) That’s in the Taste chapter. Platoni has chapters on the five basic senses, then moves on to what she calls the Metasensoory Perception – time, pain, and emotion.

Her final section, Hacking Perception, moves firmly into the world that once was only in science fiction. She discusses virtual reality, augmented reality, and new senses. People have augmented their senses for centuries with devices – glasses and watches are a good example. Here we will find the people who go further – watch out for those bionic people I mentioned.

I’m only about a quarter of the way through this, but We Have the Technology is fascinating. If you want to see science fiction becoming real science, read Kara Platoni’s book.

(And yes, I do read some nonfiction.)

Link to Amazon.com Books

Turning Science Fiction Into Science – Really

 

Physics of the Impossible by Michio KakuAfter finishing up Physics of the Impossible, I still have all those possibilities in my head. Here’s one from medicine that fits right into the science fiction realm but is in early testing phases. How would you like to have your wounds healed by spraying new cells right onto them?

Inkjet-Like Device ‘Prints’ Cells Right Over Burns

Turning Science Fiction Into Science

 

Physics of the Impossible by Michio KakuIt was impossible for me to ignore a nonfiction physics book with a picture of the Tardis from Dr. Who on the cover. So I borrowed a copy of Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku from my public library. It’s fascinating.

Kaku’s main focus is to show how physics is moving into the realm of “impossible” science fiction. In the process of showing the reader what could happen, we learn what is happening or how it is happening. For example, in his discussions about phasers and light sabers, Kaku describes how computer chips keep getting faster and are able to hold more on them. Then he mentions how some studies into storing data on crystals are developing into reality. I know computer crystals rather than chips has been a science fiction staple for decades.

Right now I’m listening to Brightness Reef by David Brin in the car. One of the six alien races living on the planet Jijo moves around on wheels. I kept trying to picture how that would work, even with bones in sockets, etc. Then I learn in Kaku’s book that nature on Earth has already mastered atomic machines in some tiny creatures – so the possibility that larger creatures could work similarly is not a far stretch of the imagination. Brin’s characters could work after all.

Obviously science and science fiction work together. Science fiction takes imagination of what’s possible from what we know. Science can then turn that science fiction into reality. Then science fiction will take the imagination further. Then science will add to reality. Etc, etc, etc.

Cool.