Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Flexi-Paper and 3-D Printing: The Science of Over the Edge

In the Over the Edge universe, characters use things called "flexi-docs" that are essentially plastic sheets that display writing and short videos. This sort of document isn't a new idea in fiction. In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling's characters had newspapers and stand alone photographs in which, by the power of magic, the images moved, repeating short loops. I think Philip K. Dick has some characters employing something similar.

In Over the Edge flexi-docs are used for everything from news magazines to business accounting reports to fiction. And essentially resemble the document featured in this YouTube video: Polymer Vision Rollable 6-inch SVGA display

In the Over the Edge universe 3-D printing is a fact of life. Characters employed as "Artificers" use 3-D printers and other manufacturing capabilities to duplicate or fabricate anything needed and lots of things desired. In Give Her the Stars, Artificers copy a Cadillac Escalade and give it some fine "after-market" upgrades.

The "facsimile" appears frequently in the series. This is a document, not unlike a fax, sent from one location to another, but the document the recipient prints is identical to the original, right down to the fibers in the paper. In the novels, the facsimile machine recreates the document from a molecular level up so that it even retains the fingerprints and oils from the creator's hands.

In Give Her the Stars, Lendar fabricates a dress for Elise using a 3-D printer to manufacture the fabric and sewing robots to put the garment together. Also, featured in that story is mention of using muscle cells to create cuts of meat rather than having to grow an animal and butcher it. This idea isn't new either, it's been around for awhile. See: Test tube hamburger. This author has no comment on meat produced in this manner other than the reminder that if one is hungry one will eat things that are normally rejected.

In the Over the Edge universe, starship captains are fitted with a device that essentially makes them the controlling component of their spaceship, if they so desire, or at least in touch with its every function and able to observe whatever it can observe. Through a device called a "kaldeskop," characters are able to use mind-control to operate their ship or any device on their ship remotely by thought.

The cyborg idea is not new at all. In truth, eye glasses, contacts, canes, even shoes are cyborg items. Here's an article on a cyborg ear, not unlike some accoutrements found in Over the Edge which readers might find interesting: The Six-Million Dollar Ear

The Bionic Woman, Jamie Sommers (Lindsay Wagner), using her bionic ear for the first time on the show.
More articles on 3-D printing:

3-D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution...

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