features stories

 
Not too long ago, the interwebs were in a tizzy about Russian media mogul Dmitry Itskov's bold Russia 2045 project, which promised the human race immortality (through robot bodies) by the year 2045. Along with that proclamation came a dramatic video and a zealous timeline of events leading up to the human race's eventual death-proofing. Sometime between 2015 and 2020, the goal is the "birth of the avatar," a leap forward in robot/human interaction. Checking our calendars, 2015 isn't that far off for that magnitude of a change in the human experience, even for a project looking to bring about the birth of the "neo-human." So how close are we really to achieving it? Here are 10 robots, constructed and ready to transform society's skin.
 
Is it any surprise that sci-fi nerds love Lego? If they aren't going out on hot dates, they might as well spend their Friday nights recreating props, locations and scenes from the science fiction world using toy bricks. Kidding! These creations are enormously impressive, demonstrating superb engineering and creativity. With Danish toymaker Lego celebrating its 80th birthday this year, we figured we'd commemorate the occasion by highlighting fan creations. Given it's us, we decided to showcase ones with a sci-fi bent. Last week, we took a look at 11 colossal Lego starships. Now, here are 32 fan-built Lego tributes to science fiction, both famous and obscure.
 
So you wake up one day, turn on the TV… and it doesn't work. Fine. You grab your smartphone next — no service. Odd. You dig out the ol' reliable crank radio from your disaster-preparedness kit (you do have one of those don't you?), and that's when you find out: someone's finally gone and pressed the big red button. The world as you know it is gone, and the grid has gone with it. The last radio reports you hear, before they're cut off, are of roving bands of bandits heading into the cities to loot, pillage and generally cause a ruckus. Awesome. You live in the city. Your best bet on survival is to get moving, and to keep it that way. Never fear, chums: DVICE has you covered. Here are 12 mobile living concepts for your fabulous new nomadic lifestyle.
 
Li-Fi — that just-over-the-horizon wireless technology which could transform your everyday LED lighting fixtures into 10 Gbps wireless modems — has a lot of people talking these days. With a commercial product promised later this year and the tech already in beta, we might all be trippin' the lamplight fantastic real soon. But other than really, really awesome movie streaming speeds, what do we care? According to its inventor Harald Haas, Li-Fi offers a bundle of niche applications that regular Wi-Fi just doesn't measure up to. Here are a few of those unique benefits.
 
Here at DVICE, we sometimes like to take our eyes away from the cutting edge of technology and reminisce about what was and might have been. Often as not, things are invented that could have altered the course of history (for instance: the Tesla Coil), yet these attempts fall by the wayside. Whether that's because of an insane competitor (I'm looking at you, Edison!), lack of funding or just not reaching the tipping point of public approval, these inventions languish in the forgotten corners of history. Until, that is, we unearth them! Now — I could run on about Tesla, or the numerous failed flying contraptions we see every year in the Flugtag — and sure those are interesting — but why not take a gander at a subject with a bit more firepower?! I'm talkin' boomsticks, folks! These 12 maligned peashooters could have done things, they coulda been contenders! Yet here they are: 12 forgotten firearms with designs that are truly bizarre.
 
Finding great science fiction reads, especially in a sea of millions of available books, can be a daunting task. And if you want to support independent self-published authors, it can be next to impossible finding that perfect book to read. Fortunately, StoryBundle has decided to make this process much easier. The concept behind StoryBundle is a simple one: select a group of quality self-published books and offer them to the public for whatever price people are willing to pay. Similar in concept to many indie video game bundles (think HumbleBundle), StoryBundle is the brainchild of Jason Chen. Chen and his team read all of the titles themselves and then decide which ones to offer in the bundle. And the reader decides what price to pay. It's basically a win-win for everyone involved. In an interview with Chen, we discussed the benefits of StoryBundle to science fiction authors and readers.
 
It's no secret that science fiction stories have sparked imaginations throughout history. In fact, many of the technologies we currently possess originally started as concepts in sci-fi. From such common things that we take for granted — like cellphones —  to more complex technologies such as computer viruses and geostationary satellites, sci-fi still continues to provide us a map for future tech. Here is a list of 10 current technologies that were originally inspired by science fiction. Have a favorited sci-fi-derived gadget or gizmo you don't see on this list? Tell us about it in the comments!
 
Today, February 20th, is the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's orbital spaceflight. In 1961, Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth (three times!), which as far as I can tell, is why we're all taking the day off today. Such an achievement was one of the primary objectives of the Mercury Program, which preceded Gemini and Apollo. While Glenn was most definitely the first American to orbit, his mission (Mercury-Atlas 6) was the twenty-first Mercury mission. Before NASA was ready to launch a human into space, they had to make sure that the rockets were safe, the space capsules were safe, and that space itself was safe (since we had no idea). And NASA had to be absolutely, positively sure, because if they got it wrong, it would have disastrous implications for the future of space exploration. So. NASA tested everything out. Thoroughly. Before they ever sent a human to space, they had to get as close as they could get while not sending a human, and this means that the first American residents into space included two monkeys, two chimpanzees, and a robotic "crewman simulator." This is their story.
 
This is the second half of our article on the Gemini Project, featuring some incredible newly-scanned images that the astronauts themselves took in orbit, straight from the original film. Previously, we looked at the first batch of manned missions, Gemini III through VII, and now we've got the stories of Gemini VIII through XII, featuring the debut of Neil Armstrong, an emergency in space and one very angry alligator.
 
On every mission of NASA's Gemini program in the mid 1960s, the astronauts took Hasselblad 500c cameras with 70mm film and Zeiss 60mm lenses along with them. You've almost certainly seen a few of the more famous pictures that were taken on Gemini, but Arizona State has recently scanned in all of the original negatives (nearly 3,000 of them) and put them online in a high-resolution archive for the first time. We've looked through every single one and picked out the very best from each mission to tell you their stories.

Pages