Issue 8: 12 August 2013
Planet of the Daleks (1973) still

Doctor Who turns to 21st century technology to restore historic series

A team of Doctor Who devotees has for decades been advancing digital restoration techniques while recovering vintage episodes from some often obscure sources.

Stephen Baxter and Sir Terry Pratchett

For science-fiction aficionados the collaboration of Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter on a series of novels based on the multiverse is a dream come true.

Turner Spaceship (1991)

Chris Foss is, for many, the artist who brought science fiction to life with his vivid illustrations for book covers and film.

2001 space station

Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was an almost documentary vision of how engineers and scientists saw the future. As time goes on, more and more of Kubrick’s designs are becoming reality.

The sci-fi special
E&T cover image 0813

The sci-fi special: Doctor Who; sonic screwdrivers; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Sir Terry Pratchett; the question of engineering accuracy in sci-fi; predicting the technological future and more. .  

The E&T podcast: Clean Equity

Vitali Vitaliev interviews Innovator Capital's Mungo Park, one of the main organisers of the annual CleanEquity Monaco Conference.

Download the Clean Equity podcast now

The E&T podcast 2: Biotech manufacturing

Edd Gent hears how manufacturers are increasingly turning to the biotechnology industry for production of materials.

Download the biotech manufacturing podcast now

Also in this issue
Social media websites may have to share data

News analysis: Social media data security under the spotlight  ET arr

In 1999, Friends United first hit the social media radar, shortly followed by MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and most recently Snapchat and Vine. Initially designed for social interaction, social media channels now process other traits. 

Hacking code

News analysis: Calculating the true cost of cyber-crime  ET arr

While governments state that cyber security is now one of their top national challenges, the overall cost-impact cyber security is incurring – both in terms of necessary investment and damaging outcomes following an attack – is far from clear.

Civil engineer Phil Borowiec and structural engineer Kayin Dawoodi survey their work after completing the bridge

Bridging the divide: simple software combats isolation in the developing world  ET arr

Charities frequently talk about building bridges with the developing world, and one NGO has been building bridges for them since 2001. But thanks to a new software tool designed by young engineers in the UK the time is in sight when they will no longer have to.

Terry Hill

Q&A: Terry Hill, former Arup chairman  ET arr

E&T talks to former Arup chairman Terry Hill, who was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s President’s Medal in July 2013 in recognition of his significant and far-reaching contribution to the sector

Business smartphone

5G mobile model challenged by 'spectrum crunch'  ET arr

Experiments in so-called 5G mobile communications have begun, but early indications suggest that it's going to be a fundamentally different kind of cellular network that emerges.

Blade Runner (1982)

PhotoEssay: the built environments of SF movies  ET arr

Makers of science-fiction TV and movie entertainment have used both imaginary and real-life built environments to inspire their visions of what our future architecture will look like.

Star Trek: Into Darkness still

Engineers and scientists in film - an accurate portrayal?  ET arr

Love it or hate it, sci-fi has a major influence on the way the general public perceives engineering and technology - so is it possible to be at all accurate?

Matt Smith

Engineers race to create real sonic screwdriver  ET arr

There could be some real-life applications for this fictional device from the Doctor Who universe.

Ray gun

Technology of the future - predictably unpredictable  ET arr

Throughout the years predictions for the technology of the future have abounded in everything: from reports by government think-tanks to science-fiction.

US drone

Autonomous cyber weapons no longer science-fiction  ET arr

The actual development and deployment of Autonomous Intelligent Agents and their cyber space variations are just around the corner.

A giant 'mirror-ball' camel

Book Interview - Christopher M Schroeder, 'Startup Rising'  ET arr

It's tempting to think that the politically unstable Middle East is a risky environment for technology. We talk to one author who considers the East as the new West in terms of tech startups.

A close up of an eye

Biometric authentication is reality not fiction  ET arr

Biometric authentication is finding more and more parts of the human body to prove we really are who we say we are. But will it ever fulfil the promise of so many sci-fi representations? And will it ever be worth pursuing in preference to simpler checks?

A picturesque canal

Can a complex canal system solve Britain's water woes?  ET arr

Can a radical spin on the water grid save the nation from drought and slash the cost of long distance power transmission?

Firewall defence illustration

Firewall vendors revisit core technologies to win market  ET arr

Firewalls should still be an integral part of any enterprise's cyber security strategy, and vendors of the hardware variety are redoubling their R&D to win more market share.

Tom Cruise in the Minority Report

How to deliver on design aspiration  ET arr

Does design mimic the movies or is pioneering design an influence to film-makers? The truth lies somewhere in between.

Geminoid-F on display

How human should a humanoid robot look?  ET arr

Sci-fi films such as 'Terminator' and 'AI' presume robots should look and act like humans, but a natural human response to be creeped-out by the not-quite human means robot designers will have to think again.

Cricketer at Manchester

Sports technology - cricket  ET arr

The new Merlyn bowling machine from Bola has prevented England from getting in a spin during this summer's Ashes series.

José Cordeiro

José Cordeiro: a singular vision of the future  ET arr

According to futurist José Cordeiro, advances in neuroscience, nano, bio, and information technology are pushing mankind into the post-human age.

Debate

So does sci-fi really deliver the goods?

For

Works of science fiction do offer inspiration to scientists and technologists in the real world

Professor of cybernetics

Profile: Kevin Warwick

Kevin Warwick is professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, where he carries out research in artificial intelligence, control, robotics and biomedical engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IET. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 research papers and has written or edited 27 books.

ET Vs

Against

Works of science fiction do not offer inspiration to scientists and technologists in the real world

Writer, broadcaster and filmmaker

Profile: Chris Riley

Chris Riley is a writer, broadcaster and filmmaker specialising in the history of science. He makes frequent appearances on TV and radio, broadcasting on space flight and astronomy. He is a veteran of two Nasa astrobiology missions and is the author of the ‘Haynes Apollo 11 Owners’ Workshop Manual’.

Science fiction offers inspiration to scientists and technologists in the real world

Please log in to contribute to this debate.

Agree 94%
Disagree 6%
 
 
The big picture
New York City's railway-line park
Big Numbers
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GameStick console

“The world’s most portable TV games console”, due in August, puts Android games on TVs

Bose QuietComfort QC20

Bose’s first in-ear noise-cancelling headphones join the range of sound-squashing gadgets

Sage by Heston Blumenthal

Michelin-starred chef Blumenthal’s new range

Samsung Galaxy NX

The NX features a 20.3MP APS-C sensor and Android 4.2 OS with major app compatibility

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The “slimmest and largest full-HD smartphone display”

Wahoo Fitness KICKR Power Trainer

The world’s first iPhone-powered bike trainer

 

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