Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well, That's Interesting: Claytronics

One of my daughters is 'way ahead of me. I've started to write quite a few stories, she's finished so many that I've lost count.

Which is fine by me: her example may get me fired up to actually finish one of my bright ideas.

Years ago, I jotted down a few notes about a nifty far-future technology: material that could form itself into many different shapes. It's not a particularly new idea. The heavy in one of the Terminator was 'living metal.' Extremely mutable creatures and devices are an old gimmick in science fiction - including a sort of assassin robot that disguises itself as a section of floor to let an unsuspecting guard walk over it. Just like in Terminator 2: where the scene is such a close match to the old story that I have to assume that it's a tribute.

I'd give title and author of the story - but, despite cudgeling my mind: I can't recall. Mars is involved, as I recall - but that doesn't narrow the field by much.

With my luck, I'll remember at 3:00 a.m. and get jerked awake by the part of my brain that was in 'search' mode.

Wrenching myself back on-topic.

My contribution to the notion of mutable technology, if I'd gotten past the note-making stage, would have been using it for control interfaces. The idea was to have a slab of material that could be, as needed, a keyboard, a control yoke, tuning knobs, whatever.

Which I assumed - this was around the turn of the century - would be a hundred or so years out.

So, Tuesday, I read about claytronics:Among the applications for this still-in-the-concept-stage technology: control systems.

I really doubt that it'll take a century to get claytronics ready for consumer tech.

A decade, maybe.

This is hardly an original thought: but one of the challenges for creators of speculative fiction is to imagine 'future technology' that won't be available in department stores in a year or two.


  1. Mmm, sounds interesting. I sometimes have science fiction type ideas, but I figure I might get a bit stuck if I go with it, sincce I'm not very technically minded.

    So I stick to fantasy and I thought that you and your kids might be interested in my YA fantasy novel, 'Lethal Inheritance'. You can take a look at ch1 of at
    I'd love to know what you think.

  2. Tahlia,

    Thanks for the ch1 URL. No guarantees made or implied, about getting back with a review any time soon - like today - I got around to this blog's comments rather late (for me).

    You seem to be associated with the Kit Courteney writes blog? I like that blog's description: "~It's short. It's simple. But it happens to be true~"


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