Questions tagged [technology]

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

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5answers
1k views

Why would civilizations with advanced technology still use castles?

Despite being awesome marvels and once incredibly important, ever since explosives became a thing, castles have become obsolete. Until now... Imagine two equally advanced civilizations at war. Both ...
43
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14answers
9k views

Can the Aztec Empire learn and reuse Conquistador technology?

In this alternate history, Christopher Columbus makes landfall in Central America, after passing south of Florida and sailing through the Gulf of Mexico, arriving right on the doorstep of the Aztec ...
1
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0answers
125 views

Creating a world run by corporations [closed]

Recently, CDPR Projekt Red released a trailer featuring a dystopian cyberpunk world more or less run by corporations. To give an example, the most powerful (and expensive) medical services group will ...
10
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3answers
491 views

How Long Would Artifacts Last Under the Moon's Surface?

How Long? In the 1960s, unknown to most, the United States set up a secret base on the moon manned by an "extra" aboard each Apollo lander. NASA architects decided that the base must be built into ...
1
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1answer
163 views

Tanks in medieval age [closed]

If people of the medieval age or 14th century had knowledge over steam engines and decided to make tanks out of it, how would it work and how effective would it be? Since they would be big and heavy, ...
1
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2answers
123 views

Trains and light bulbs but no guns? [closed]

Would it make much sense in a sword (and possibly sorcery) world to have trains and light bulbs but no guns?
7
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13answers
4k views

Could machine guns be produced in the 14th century? [duplicate]

Could light machine guns such as the Madsen be made during the 14th century? And since materials may be scarce only a few would be produced for use by a single soldier in a unit. Lets say their ...
8
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11answers
2k views

Could a 19th century setting support horse-propelled non-steampunk tanks?

Is it actually possible in a 19th century setting to build horse-propelled, non-steampunk tanks? This would mean armoured carriages with gatling guns and artillery on them, with several people ...
7
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7answers
580 views

How could carbon nanotubes help me build supertall skyscrapers?

It is the near-future. Breakthrough, mass produced carbon nanotubes have been invented and are relatively cheap. These nanotubes have the properties that we would expect, and are manufactured in '...
22
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11answers
6k views

How long would it take to nuke an alien spaceship in orbit?

Some gigantic, and presumably evil, alien spaceship has taken up residence in LEO. This spacecraft is ominously blocking all satellite communications, and launching smaller flying saucers towards the ...
6
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5answers
588 views

Could a 19th century space gun be of any use today in space exploration?

In 1869 a giant space gun was built, with the intent of firing a projectile at the Moon, just to prove that they can do it. Of course, the ludicrous idea to put people inside it was never even taken ...
33
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19answers
7k views

Why would a magic world be stuck in medieval times?

This is related to Must magic be tied to medieval tech?, but not the same. So the setup: There are two worlds, one is Earth, as it is now, with all its history. The other is a magic world, with an ...
3
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2answers
119 views

Could the gatling gun of the civil war be made smaller for individual use?

Could the gatling gun used during the civil war which was heavy and large be made into a smaller variant with perhaps 3 barrels for individual use? What challenges would be faced and how can they be ...
7
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3answers
170 views

On a world of sapient anthropoid felines, can fur pattern be used for recognition?

On a world populated by sentient anthropoid species evolved from Terran felines, both big and small cats, could the local authorities use the fur patterns and colors the same way that we used ...
5
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6answers
314 views

What would need to happen for solarpunk technology to exist in the 1920's/30's?

Solarpunk, for those who are somehow unaware, is a subgenre similar to that of steam/cyberpunk that instead depicts a future running on advanced renewable energy-powered technology. It usually depicts ...
8
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4answers
629 views

What torch-ship engine requires the least complex control system?

A side shot from my series on a computer-less future; see here, here, and here. Project Rho defines a torch-drive as an engine with both high acceleration and high exhaust velocity. A torch-ship is a ...
23
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12answers
8k views

How does a super-power salesman not get shut down for legal reasons?

I am in trouble: my boss, a multi-millionaire, has just come up with a scheme, but it has problems and he wants me to solve them. The whole thing started when he saw this picture: This gave him an ...
9
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5answers
1k views

Could people of the 14th century create an inline engine for use in aircraft and vehicles?

If an expert of some kind travels back in time to the 14th or 15th century with modern tools and machines that don't require power to work and if he were to past on the knowledge of modern technology ...
7
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6answers
2k views

How can you build a secure, pre-digital distributed ledger?

A distributed ledger is a 'database' without a central administrator or central storage. Instead, each copy of the database replicates and saves an identical copy of the data and updates itself ...
1
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3answers
206 views

How do I build an ancient moisture vaporator?

Let us suppose a world that exists under a harsh red sun. The entire planet, which may once have been fertile, is, in its current state, covered with desert. The civilization living there, which may ...
1
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9answers
283 views

How would a steam powered machine in one place provide power to towns that are far away?

I am building a work in which steam plays a vital role. I would like to include the idea that much of the power for the people is being provided by a central machine that is isolated in one place but ...
18
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9answers
971 views

Compressed air lighting?

So I've got this civilization that doesn't have electricity, but does have municipal power distribution via compressed air lines. Now, you can do a lot of useful things with compressed air. Even in ...
4
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6answers
414 views

Sentient trees. Can they develop technology?

Flying insects are the only moving animals in this world - they take care of pollination. Adult trees (over 10 years old) are rooted to the spot with very wide-spreading root systems. Trying to ...
7
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6answers
832 views

Time Travellers And The Roman Empire, Part 1: Transport and Control

I am a time traveller from the not so distant future. I have gone into the past to the Roman Empire (specifically the Nerva-Antonine period) and via -handwaving magical mumbo-technobabble- have become ...
16
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12answers
5k views

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
53
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24answers
12k views

Wooden sticks are the only allowed weapons in a technological society - how far would these weapons have progressed by now?

Imagine that the inhabitants of Earth all follow a religion that allows only wooden weapons. How would warfare look nowadays? Commandment 37. 37a) Thou shalt make weapons only from the wood of ...
9
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11answers
937 views

Would it be possible to fly through a rain of missiles?

I'm trying to setup a non-real scenario that doesn't break suspension of disbelief too much past the original idea. But so long as things keep consistency it should be fine. So you are flying a ...
8
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2answers
2k views

What might today's society look like without (addictive) social media?

What characteristics of society/culture might change if we would not have developed social media? or, if we had developed it, but it was somehow not as addictive as it is... Would this generation's ...
5
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12answers
546 views

How to limit the growth of a magic item that eats other magic items to gain their abilities?

I'm trying to design a magic item that can eat other magic items to gain their abilities. However, I keep running into a problem. Eventually, the magic item becomes semi-omnipotent as the abilities ...
31
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16answers
4k views

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 ...
11
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9answers
2k views

What form of anti-gravity is the most feasible?

Many sci-fi words use anti-gravity or artificial gravity to manipulate the weight of their ships making flight much easier. Wikipedia even has an article on it which discusses several attempts to make ...
37
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12answers
11k views

Can we build a world in 1,000 years?

We have a fleet of sub-light speed generation ships and associated engineering devices/ships. Their original world can no longer support their species, and they must move to survive. The fleet of ...
21
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18answers
4k views

What's the ideal era for harvesting resources by an advanced society?

It's 2100-ish and we're experimenting on our new time travel device, or let's say time travel bunker. What we gathered of information so far are: We can't really go back in time, literally. Every ...
5
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2answers
277 views

3-Level Roadway Engineering

I'm the city designer for a new city we're calling Morrowville. Having some of the worlds top minds, flying cars have been invented, but can only fly a few feet (2-4) from the ground and not everyone ...
0
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3answers
376 views

TOP SECRET: How long before new technology becomes declassified?

A common trope in sci-fi is the idea of humans reverse engineering alien technology which results in breakthroughs in our own technology. My question is this: If a military/governmental organisation ...
4
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8answers
767 views

Losing Knowledge

Is it plausible to create a world in which the people who live inside it developed technologies like the ones we had in WW2, but after their progress came to a halt they forgot their knowledge. ...
0
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3answers
170 views

Immediate differences between 1898-2018 [closed]

I have a story where two characters from 1898 apear in the Texas hillcounrty, on a disused ranch. Neither are familiar with ranches, and they come from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds. What ...
1
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6answers
553 views

Why would spaceships still have acrylic/glass windows when force fields are cheap and reliable?

Force field technology has come a long way. The latest energy-efficient engines can guarantee stable energy output in any situation, making force fields extremely reliable and very cost effective ...
9
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3answers
1k views

How early can transparent glass windows be easily available?

TL;DR: How early can windows made of transparent glass (can look through) be readily available (not a rare luxury) to "common" citizens (at least top 10% of population)? Disclaimer: I know very ...
7
votes
6answers
367 views

Realistic hovering mechanism for my sci-fi drone

What realistic mechanism could be utilized to allow my drone to hover and move around in a visually pleasing and non distracting way? I am currently working on a short sci-fi film, which, among other ...
3
votes
4answers
144 views

How could an AI be in the real world organically and humanely (not in a robotic body)? [closed]

Say I have some artificial intelligence characters in a virtual reality world that my human characters have bonded with in ways of friendship, romance, etc before they find out they're AI. How would ...
-1
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1answer
122 views

How long would it take for rebooting current technology level on a parallel earth given almost perfect information of our past roadmap? [closed]

In the classical dystopian future scenario, imagine Earth is doomed but somehow an alien benefactor race offers us the possibility of transporting a set of humans to an almost perfect replicate of our ...
1
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3answers
203 views

Ice Age Cavalry

The history of horse domestication, according to recent research, starts somewhere on the plains of eastern Europe 6,000 years ago. Since then, cavalry had become a major turning point in Old World ...
3
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5answers
2k views

If a space shuttle was going to crash during a botched landing back on earth, is there any way for crew to eject safely before impact? [closed]

If a space shuttle is going to crash during a botched landing back on earth, is there any possible way (emergency vessel, etc.?) for crew to eject and land safely away from the shuttle?
8
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2answers
270 views

How much medical information could we gather from a wrist-worn device?

Context I have been thinking about the Pip Boy device from the Fallout series of videogames. It is a portable, wearable computer that can gather a lot of data about the user. It looks like this: And ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

How do I make a rock with magical properties teleport people? [closed]

Thinking about it, you probably need more context than that, so here we go. Basically, in my Earth/Alt Universe world, there's this new magical rock, let's call it, stranglium! Stranglium, on touch ...
6
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4answers
332 views

How to knock down electronics on a large scale?

They say all is fair in love and war. When we plan to invade our enemy's planet, we don't want fair. We want to strike them while they're down. We infiltrated sleeper agents in key points of their ...
9
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4answers
537 views

How to not let magic advance the technology too fast?

So lets say that the level of the non-magic wielding species i.e. humans technology is at around the level it was in the early medieval times. I would then introduce magic to the rest of the world in ...
24
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11answers
3k views

What are the advantages of exposed bridge on spacecraft?

For most sci-fi movies/tv series ship bridge/main control room is exposed (external part of ship). Examples: Star Wars Star Destroyers Stargate Dedalus/Destiny/Atlantis(top of main highest tower) ...
2
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1answer
112 views

How would a different society learn to use our technology

I'm a long time lurker and while browsing this site, I just got a question: If all of us humans are replaced with a different set of humans with a different script and language right now, how long ...