Welcome to the first week of this online magazine-like publication. Beyond Infinity will be written about whatever Sci-Fi, fantasy, scientific innovation or discovery I find interesting this week. If any of the readers wish to add a topic, feel free to email the site and suggest one. I hear that the beginning is a good place to start so let me open with the creation of modern technology and how our beloved science fiction had an impact on its development.
I don’t believe that all modern technology, whether physically or conceptually, comes from one source. I do however believe that some of the people behind the creation of our modern devices were influenced by science fiction.
For example, the MRI concept could have been the result of an attempt to create something similar to a Star Trek tricorder. Someone somewhere probably thought of using some sort of device that would be able to scan a patient’s body and help in diagnosis. Of course, this was during a time where exploratory surgery and x-rays were really the main methods of diagnosis of uncertain conditions. I’m willing the bet the thought process went from trying to scan a body to finding what substance could be used to do the actual scanning (radio waves and magnetism) and then on to the actual physical creation of the machine. The ability to scan objects was actually a phenomenon discovered sometime in the 1930s and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy worked off the principle that in a magnetic field, radio waves would cause atoms to give off distinct radio signals. Until the 1970s, this process wasn’t considered for use on living tissue. Raymond Damadian found that different types of animal tissue emit response signals that vary in length, and that cancerous tissue emits response signals that last longer than non cancerous tissue. A phenomenon found in the 1930s coupled with a conceptual idea a few decades later lead to the MRI machine we all know and love today.
There are many more inventions, innovations, and contraptions that had their conceptual conception in science fiction. Another great example was the Star Trek communicator, leading people to think about how to use wireless communication via some sort of cellular phone. I think the resemblance is quite fascinating.
And the wonderful diver’s array of hyposprays that seem to cure everything do have a real life counterpart known as the jet injector; although we don’t have such a wide diversity of things to inject with them. Even the term “robot” came from the Czech playwright Karel Capek, in his 1920s hit play Rossum’s Universal Robots. The list goes on. I’m certain that if you were so inclined you could Google a list of technologies influenced by science fiction. The point of writing this is not just to point out all the neat things were conceived by Sci-Fi writers and later made real. I was going to bring up the idea that although it seems that many things in fantasy are just fantastical, they may be possible or even common place not so far into the future. So the moral of today’s column is that innovation to deal with real word issues can be found in the not so realistic plain of fiction.