28th aug, 2011

When science catches up to imagination

 Artists doing comics or books have to have a good imagination and often envision things not possible in the real world – time travel, transporter beams and super hero powers.
Every now and then the science actually catches up to the imaginarystories years later making them real (or more real)
The classic example is the Donald Duck story “The Sunken Yacht” by Carl Barks. Hedre Donald Duck Raises a sunken ship using ping pong balls. Some years later a Danish Inventor also named Carl (Kroyer) patented the same method using a different type of lightweight balls. The story goes that the Donald Duck story was used to invalidate the patent.
The most recent example is from the ongoing Samsung vs Apple battle. Here Samsung has submitted a sequence from the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey” as prior art. In the moive the astronauts use a tablet at breakfast to browse the news. The tablet has a few more buttons it seems but could just as well be an Ipad. So the movie could be used to argue that Apples design was not new.

I wonder if the next big thing will be cataloguing stuff invented in books, comics and movies to use for prior art? An a related subject NASA just made an agreement with TOR (book publisher) to collaborate on a series of sci-fi books using NASA knowledge.

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