I have always loved to hear about things from SF that become real life tech.
It is an extra thrill when it is something from one of my books that somebody has come up with. I watch with glee every time a familiar SF tech becomes reality, or comes a step closer, and yes there have been one or two that I have spoken of in my books that have since become reality, which is awesome.
The latest of these gave me a smile this week. If you are one of the many who have read “Dance of Nevermind” you will remember the fabricators used in constructing the buildings, and Freeman’s Road. Essentially these were a massive 3d printer, that allowed the colonists to “extrude” architectural elements from the machine, feeding whatever local materials (soil, rocks, gravel etc) were at hand.
Many of you loved the idea. At least one bemoaned it as “unlikely and thus unrealistic” to which I replied “why?” and got no answer.
Well, Check this out: http://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/building-a-lunar-base-with-3d-printing/
The general idea is, using a special type of machine, you will be able to fabricate architectural elements using the local materials. A wonderful idea, and somebody is actually making it happen. I got a thrill to think that the fabricators from Nevermind might actually be on their way to reality, thanks to the ingenuity of these wonderful innovators.
But it is not just space exploration that could benefit. Imagine a poor community in a desert somewhere, without sufficient housing, if the country could invest in one of these and take it around to such places and build structures for the benefit of those communities? Imagine the low cost housing that could result in time, as the technology becomes cheaper to manufacture? After all, no building materials would need to be shipped in for many such locations. A gravelly cliff nearby could become the walls and roofs of a village.
There are any number of awesome things being developed by our wonderful scientific community every day, and this is only one of them. But with only a tiny amount of imagination, you can see how each and every one of them could be world changing. And to have such a thing come true after describing it in a book? Well, that is a thrill that never gets old, no matter how much some of the ideas might be predictable or common.
If we keep our eyes open to the news our media refuse to give, we can find so many of these advances, happening all the time, that it can not help but instill in me a sense of hope for the future of our species, and of our home.