Questions tagged [technology]

For questions about the creation, use, and application of all types of technology.

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31
votes
16answers
7k views

Is there a precedent for inventing a new technology many years before anyone else?

History shows that most inventors of groundbreaking new technologies, for example, the light bulb or the telephone were not actually the first to invent this technology and that there were actually ...
31
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13answers
10k views

How “advanced” can a stone age society get?

I'm working on a world where, with very few exceptions, metalwork is not possible/unwanted, and I'm trying to figure out what major differences one might see in daily life, and what would be necessary ...
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16answers
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Why would precursors create devices that can survive and still work after hundreds of years? [closed]

In many stories, there are precursor artifacts that often have miraculous powers. Often, those artifacts are hundreds, if not thousands of years old. But, looking at our own technology, most of our ...
31
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9answers
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What would modern IT look like if Silicon Valley had been completely destroyed in 1985?

In the 1985 movie A View to a Kill, James Bond discovers--and then foils--a plot by to destroy Silicon Valley, in a manner that makes it look like a natural disaster. The plot for doing so is a bit ...
31
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10answers
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Would using thick glass wall be better than electric fence for my dino theme park?

My company has perfected its gene modifying technique.We can create life-sized hybrids of dinosaurs, with the exact appetite and behaviour as the original species (at least according to our advice ...
30
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17answers
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How could indestructible materials be used in power generation?

Background: In this scenario assume technology is initially equal to our own, but a method is discovered to render material indestructible. The affected material is treated as requiring infinite or ...
30
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12answers
9k views

What would be a credible way to design a watertight membrane that still allows large organisms to pass through?

I am currently building a world where the majority of the population is some kind of amphibian species. My question is : Is it possible to design a kind of membrane that is completely waterproof but ...
30
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18answers
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What do fairies wear and how can they evade detection by our cameras?

Set in the modern day; fairies are tennis ball sized humanoids with wings residing within the dense rainforest throughout the world. Local human populations consider them to be guardians protecting ...
30
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19answers
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Is it realistic that an advanced species isn't good at war?

A non-human society is engineering minded by nature and is extremely advanced, to the point where they (with wide-scale community effort) have learned how to create wormholes and have practical space ...
30
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16answers
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Cooking underwater

How would an omnivorous civilization of merpeople prepare food? Their diet would be like humans', but naturally seafood-centered. They would have typical medieval technology. How would they "fry" or "...
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14answers
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Can two civilizations on nearby stars develop independently but be at a similar technological level?

One thing that a few science fiction films seem to get wrong: it is extremely unlikely for two civilizations to evolve completely independently and yet be within a few hundred years of each other ...
30
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11answers
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Long-abandoned, yet still working ancient technology

A staple of both fantasy and science fiction literature is the long-vanished Ancients, who left nothing but their buildings (or devices) behind. Somehow, these (usually) decrepit structures still ...
30
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4answers
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What color dyes would be available to the average person in a medieval world?

I am a farmer or perhaps a slightly successful merchant in a medieval world. What types of clothes dye would be available to me? Purple is often discussed but would only be available to the wealthy, ...
29
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12answers
7k views

Enforcing a speed limit in medieval times

The Emperor has decreed that the speed limit for horses and horse-drawn vehicles within city limits is to be 5 leagues per hour. As usual he has left the implementation details to his Scientific ...
29
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19answers
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Design a non-computerized biometric door

Nowdays we have biometric doors that can scan your eye, palm, fingerprint, ear, etc, etc... But all of them rely on electronic readers and computers to match the sample against the stored pattern. ...
29
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14answers
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Would 'cheap' FTL make powerful telescopes obsolete?

Imagine we have a faster-than-light drive which costs ~$250,000 USD per drive and can propel an ISS-sized craft at 1000 times the speed of light. It is reliable and has safeguards that stop it from ...
29
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29answers
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Why would an alien race have developed space travel and yet not have other technology?

I have a race of humanoids who live on two planets in a binary system. This planet is mostly a water world, with some swamps and about three Australias. The other planet is very dry. But, I have a ...
29
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18answers
23k views

A method to cause maximum pain to a human

I am currently searching for a new execution method to be used in my fictional psychotic dictatorship. After introducing methods such as decompression, boiling, surgical torture (being dissected alive ...
29
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8answers
6k views

Is my plasma cannon concept viable?

I’ve developed a concept for a plasma cannon, and I need it reality-checked. The cannon would gather ammunition by pumping air into the gun through an external fan. The air would gather inside a ...
29
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7answers
5k views

What city and town structures are important in a low fantasy medieval world?

I've been working on a procedural map generator that draws cities and towns on continents and islands and I've gotten to the point where I'd like to add lists of structures to the settlements. I know ...
29
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12answers
3k views

Computer that lasts for centuries?

So, somewhere around one hundred years from now, a terrible - and unexpected - disaster strikes Earth, most of humanity dies off, yadda yadda yadda. Luckily, secret-lab-dwelling scientists had ...
28
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16answers
8k views

How do I make a server of a virtual world indestructible?

Imagine if we would hit a point in time where we would accept that living in a virtual world is better for being happy and would make us near immortal. And then we would build something like the ...
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14answers
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Would the US government of the 1960’s be able to feasibly recreate a modern laptop?

So, I time travelled back to the year 1969. I messed around back in time for about a week before leaving. But, me being forgetful and everything, I leave behind my modern laptop ( it’s an Apple ...
28
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9answers
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The Anti-Santa: Dealing with the Naughty List

Old Nick is Saint Nicholas' elder brother. He sees his brother's good work at Christmas and wants to help in his own way, and sees a gap in the market (he really can't compete with spreading good). ...
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8answers
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How do massive starships levitate?

This scene is commonly seen: A huge starship levitates over the surface of a planet or a moon, staying effortlessly in one place, or moving slowly around at the fixed height. But how? Required ...
28
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12answers
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How can spacecraft manufactured on the moon be powered?

Background: The moon has been selected as the base for human space exploration. Rather than ship tonnes of material out of earth's gravity well, interplanetary spacecraft and space stations will be ...
28
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1answer
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How could Golems best be used to defend a modern day city of Prague?

The Situation: The year is 2014 and the city of Prague is under siege. Cut off from supply, the city prepares to defend itself with whatever is at hand. The Jewish community offers the services of as ...
27
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19answers
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How can you build cities without cement?

Modern cities are built from concrete with steel rebar because it is abundantly available and provides enough tensile strength. Concrete requires cement. Cement is made from limestone. Limestone is ...
27
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28answers
13k views

Way to prove you are human when the Turing test is not sufficient

In a story I am working on there are 5 AI on a space station of varying levels of social, image recognition and general intelligence. At least one is good enough to pass a Turing test and do image ...
27
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21answers
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How to limit magic mirrors so they're not overly powerful?

Based on a set of questions by Pavel Janicek about how to address and then monetize magic mirrors in today's modern world. The short version of these magic mirrors is that any one magic mirror can ...
27
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12answers
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Is there any way to truly hide a spaceship?

Space is two things: empty and (mostly) dark. This makes it really, really hard to hide in it, because to do anything in it, chances are, you'll be shining a big bright light through it. Even if you'...
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5answers
3k views

Medieval Vacuum

Given a Medieval or Middle Ages level of technology - leather bellows, etc how close could craftsmen come to achieving a near total vacuum in an enclosed space. In context, I'm trying to create a ...
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3answers
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Can you forge a sword using just one piece of metal?

I thought it might be visually and thematically interesting for a character to have a sword made from just one piece of steel, like those knife sets you can buy. Something like this, but obviously ...
27
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12answers
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What would be the most extreme form of a surveillance state? And what would living/working in it look like?

For a story, I try to create a perfect Orwellian state with the current state of technology. The government controls every aspect of its citizens daily life via constant automated surveillance (CCTV,...
26
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19answers
11k views

Can I send S.O.S in space with just a conventional cellphone?

The year is 2109 C.E my friends and I were caught in a space disaster when the spacecraft we're in broke apart during a daring escape from a patrolling spacecraft. We stole an antique cellphone (from ...
26
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18answers
10k views

Building a bridge from one side

Your people have been displaced by war, and have wandered for many months looking for a new home. Yesterday, you came across something truly marvelous. You are camped at the edge of a huge ravine, ...
26
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18answers
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Can spacecraft defend against antimatter weapons? How?

Here is what we know: We have the means to create stable antimatter We can direct it in a beam It can travel nearly as fast as light with ease Antimatter and matter combine in dangerous ways: one ...
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9answers
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How can one empty a cesspit with medieval technology?

I'm building a town that only has access to medieval technology. Nevertheless, the town has its own sewage system that ends in a large cesspit. All inhabitants' wastewater goes into this cesspit. Of ...
26
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12answers
7k views

Could a civilization without access to computers have cryptography?

There's a person who has enough working knowledge of our current real-world methods of cryptography (e.g. knows how a few modern algorithms work and could implement one or two from scratch). That ...
26
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20answers
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How to prevent humanity from using alien spaceships and technology exclusively?

A long time ago, far far away, in the distant future of this galaxy, (don't think about that too hard) aliens created links between star systems enabling interstellar travel to occur within a day. Now ...
26
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17answers
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What could some alternative eating utensils be like?

I know it's not really all that exciting, but things like eating will be very prominent in the cultures and show up a lot in my story... In my world I want my race to have at least two different ...
26
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9answers
8k views

Why would alien vehicles be tripods?

In The War of the Worlds the Martian fighting machines are tripods. Aliens are also moving around in tripods also in The Tripods. Let's assume that there are good reasons to build legged vehicles to ...
26
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14answers
8k views

Is a land-based aircraft carrier possible?

Is it possible to have an aircraft carrier that travels on land instead of water? Assuming that the land aircraft carrier is the same size as a regular one the shape can be different but the overall ...
26
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18answers
6k views

How could ghosts be explained without an afterlife?

I've always loved well-done ghosts. However, I've always hated the afterlife-speculation that they engender if used in a story. So I need a way to get ghosts without the fluffy spiritualistic bits. ...
26
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11answers
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How to make the development and use of Steam Engines preferred over that of Combustion Engines?

Intro: I have gone some way to make airships more preferable over land-based transport in my beautiful conworld. E.g. making tunneling harder & making flying easier. Though there's plenty left to ...
26
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6answers
3k views

What are the feasible means of keeping a space station existing and operational for thousands of years?

In my space western setting, I went nuts with the time scale, so now I have a faction living entirely in space stations (with planets used for transit and agriculture, but that's irrelevant for now), ...
26
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7answers
4k views

How could a simple submarine be built using 100 BC technology?

I have some ideas, but I'd like my fictional Roman (100BC) General Mikey (ha) to build a submarine(s). This should be able to navigate in lakes and calm shores of the Mediterranean, succeed in ...
26
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17answers
5k views

What would make adventuring mainstream?

Setting: Generic medieval fantasy world, suited for a game Mainstream adventuring In the real world, adventurers appear during times of new technology. The most adventurous period on Earth was the New ...
25
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17answers
5k views

Is the concept of a biometric smart gun that will detonate when anyone besides its owner touches the weapon unrealistic?

This is basically an extension of the idea of the smart gun, a gun that will only fire when in the hands of its biometrically linked owner, but two steps up. The idea is that someone won't dare to ...
25
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21answers
5k views

Moving between levels in a gigantic tower-world?

In my sci-fi setting, people live in a gigantic metallic tower. For the sake of simplicity, let's say that each floor, or level, is a circle of around 200 km radius. Levels can be either empty, full ...

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