Jul 10 2010

Where’s My Jetpack

I snuck another book in last night before I went to bed but was too tired to blog about it.  After The New Polymath, I felt like I needed something similar but different so I read Where’s My Jetpack by Daniel Wilson (CMU Ph.D. in Robotics).

It was hilarious.  Following are the chapter titles: Jetpack, Zeppelin, Moving Sidewalk, Self-Steering Car, Hoverboard, Teleportation, Underwater Hotel, Dolphin Guide, Space Vacation, Hologram, Smell-O-Vision, Robot Pet, Mind-Reading Device, Anti-Sleeping Pill, Invisible Camouflage, Artificial Gills, X-Ray Specs, Universal Translator, Robot Servant, Unisex Jumpsuit, Smart House, Food Pill, Self-Contained, Skyscraper City, Ray Gun, Space Mirror, Space Elevator, Cryogenic Freezing, and Moon Colony.

Wilson talks about the history of each invention, along with their original sci-fi source as well as the actual lineage of the invention in the real world.  It was surprising to me how many of these almost got commercialized but then died for – well – usually pretty obvious reasons.

Of these, the three I want the most is a Jetpack, a Hoverboard, and a Teleportation Machine.  Actually, I’d like a portable teleportation machine that my jetpack fits in.  Smell-O-Vision – not so much.