Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction
The innovators behind objects like the cellphone or the helicopter took inspiration from works like "Star Trek" and War of the Worlds
- By Mark Strauss
- Smithsonian.com, March 16, 2012
Operations Specialist Seaman Recruit Alexander D. Rumpf monitors a radar console in the combat information center of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a detect-to-engage exercise. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Casey H. Kyhl / Released)
In the 1930s and ’40s, E.E. “Doc” Smith delighted readers with his “Lensmen” novels, chronicling the adventures of a futuristic Galactic Patrol. In a 1947 letter, sci-fi editor James W. Campbell informed Smith that the Directrix—a command ship featured in his series—had inspired a U.S. naval officer to introduce the concept of combat information centers aboard warships.