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
The Argonaut, an early experiment in submarine design, has three wheels to draw it around the bottom of a river, lake, or sea. The design was not successful. | Located in: Mariners' Museum. (© The Mariners' Museum / CORBIS)
Known as the father of the modern submarine, American inventor Simon Lake had been captivated by the idea of undersea travel and exploration ever since he read Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Lake’s innovations included ballast tanks, divers’ compartments and the periscope. His company built the Argonaut—the first submarine to operate successfully in the open ocean, in 1898—earning him a congratulatory note from Verne.