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View Full Version : need help making futuristic doohickys and the like



briannasealock
06-29-2014, 09:09 AM
Okay, so my mafia story is almost to the half way mark and I am finding that I have made my city slightly futuristic. But, I have normal every day stuff and I don't think that's a bad thing. To me, I kinda think things would change slowly over time.

The only thing I've basically explained in details is Hover Transportation, but there are still roads and cars because it's old school and "cool" to have those things. But public transportation are hover buses and the police use it because it's easier to get suspect that run away and stuff like that.

But, I cam across a problem. I used iPad as a stand in, but can I get some help developing stuff like iPads? I don't mind normal cell phones, or lap tops and computers as we think of them now. But I just don't think Apple will appreciate product placement and I'm not sure if I can use Tablet.

So any musings and help will be gladly appreciated.

ClareGreen
06-29-2014, 09:41 AM
Nothing wrong with 'tablet'. Or 'datapad', 'digipad' or similar such terms. (I don't think 'digipad' has been used yet, so you can use that one from me.)

I would definitely avoid iPad, though. That's a specific name with a specific meaning, not a generic term.

briannasealock
06-29-2014, 06:53 PM
Nothing wrong with 'tablet'. Or 'datapad', 'digipad' or similar such terms. (I don't think 'digipad' has been used yet, so you can use that one from me.)

I would definitely avoid iPad, though. That's a specific name with a specific meaning, not a generic term.

Thanks. :) I may use digipad. iPad is just a place holder until I could find something else to use.

Telergic
06-29-2014, 07:57 PM
I'm afraid that just making up futuristic names for things without having some sense of what they afford that is different from today's equipment (and why people use them) will seem fake or uninspired. In the very near future it's true there's no great need for all kinds of flashy new things -- antigrav for your hovercars might be a breakthrough next year for all we know -- and for that reason I think you might as well not invent things without some idea what they actually are used for.

milkweed
06-30-2014, 12:12 AM
John Scalia has something he refers to as a brain pal in his books where the computer is embedded in the human brain that the human has instant constant interaction with the computer. IIRC he trademarked that term brain pal.

Seems to me if you really want to up the anty on today's current technology by say about 20 or so years then you need to integrate it with the human body somehow or another.

PeteMC
06-30-2014, 12:36 AM
Wearables are the next big thing, supposedly. Look at Google Glass and extrapolate freely. Mobile tech is advancing at a prodigious rate at the moment - prototype digital paper, holographic projection displays, etc. I think "tablets" are going to be old hat long before viable hover cars hit the streets.

amergina
06-30-2014, 01:33 AM
John Scalia has something he refers to as a brain pal in his books where the computer is embedded in the human brain that the human has instant constant interaction with the computer. IIRC he trademarked that term brain pal.

Seems to me if you really want to up the anty on today's current technology by say about 20 or so years then you need to integrate it with the human body somehow or another.

John Scalzi. :)

milkweed
06-30-2014, 01:44 AM
John Scalzi. :)

thank you, my bad.

SamCoulson
06-30-2014, 01:55 AM
Definitely wearable. I have something along the lines of Google Glass in my book that i use as a translation matrix (though it looks more like a video-game with words hovering over the speaker). I'm also a fan of wrist-projected tactile-manipulated hologram type stuff.

Really, at this point, readers will accept anything even close to that arena because they can imagine that it's just around the corner for us these days (which a lot of it is). When it comes to naming the tech, I think back to how much of a joke the "iPad" was when they released the name. That's not something you would have predicted 5 years before.

Really, you could name it ANYTHING as long as you have an interesting backstory--it can be a few throw-away lines--but it will add some depth to your story. Personally, I like to take any opportunity to allude to the broader world and history. for instance..

Tech is usually named after it's creator, or in a schema (like the iPad). You name a holographic wrist watch a "Dukie" after the designer (Duke Kingston) who made it famous at the end of the 22nd century. (Horrible example. I'm almost done with my Rum cocktail, but the concept is there).

SamCoulson
06-30-2014, 01:59 AM
Another "depth" element you can run off of is to make wearable tech illegal... some surge of accidents after google glass type tech went public so they regulated the hell out of it.. that may add some interest.

zanzjan
06-30-2014, 02:32 AM
John Scalia

Scalzi :)

LAgrunion
06-30-2014, 03:58 AM
Really, you could name it ANYTHING as long as you have an interesting backstory--it can be a few throw-away lines--but it will add some depth to your story. Personally, I like to take any opportunity to allude to the broader world and history. for instance..

Tech is usually named after it's creator, or in a schema (like the iPad). You name a holographic wrist watch a "Dukie" after the designer (Duke Kingston) who made it famous at the end of the 22nd century. (Horrible example. I'm almost done with my Rum cocktail, but the concept is there).

I would like to echo Sam's points.

I'm reading Niven and Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye" now (an excellent scifi), and the authors use the names "Alderson Drive" for a machine that allows a spaceship to jump across far distances and "Langston Field" for a protective shield around a spaceship. The authors don't really explain the names those things are named after.

So you could do something like that. I'm thinking of doing the same for the technologies in my WIP--using proper names. You could be as creative as you want and the names would sound unique. Also, like Sam said, it'd be interesting to weave in a little backstory about the names. You know, just a few lines or a short paragraph to give them some context about the origin or the creator. Little details like that can really add to the worldbuilding and make a more colorful story.

Once!
06-30-2014, 09:36 AM
Apple aren't the only people making tablets at the moment. I don't expect that to change in the future.

As to near future tech, there are a number of things which are nearly upon us that seem quite likely to have a big impact on the way we live - the internet of things, 3D printing, the human genome project leading to improved medical treatments leading to longevity.

As for cars, most of the major manufacturers are working on semi or full driverless systems and electric or hybrid power. I don't know of anyone working seriously on hover technology - there are disadvantages in both fuel consumption and safety.

4burner
06-30-2014, 11:00 AM
Hovercars, not so much. Personal fliers, that'll happen one day. When the robots are driving, anyway. And power systems are sorted out.

Interesting effect that'll have on international borders when everyone can just fly over them with impunity.

One of my favorite things to do in regards to thought experiments and such for writing is to take a current tech/social/whatever trend and push it to the Nth degree. Tablets -> Wearables -> embedded into the body -> swarming nanocloud clothes... etc etc

Fertile ground, extrapolation.

Anyway with names, I think that's gotta come from within your world. Look at the existing naming conventions in your WIP, and go from there. Helpful post is totes helpful I know.

briannasealock
06-30-2014, 10:04 PM
Thanks for all the help? I dunno how the scifi elements snuck in but they did. I just needed a thing for a vid to be watched on that wasn't Star Wars and stuff. :) you've all given me great things to think about for the story. I really appreciate it.

yttar
07-03-2014, 06:55 AM
If you want ideas for near term future tech, I'd recommend Visions and Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. Both books do a good job at examine current tech and experimental tech and then giving a rough timeline of when such technologies might be in play.