Hitchhikers Guide – Fiction Becomes Fact

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Predictions

A look at some of the technologies mentioned in the radio series, and how we’re seeing them in today’s life

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy contained a number of important ideas that started life as fiction, and are now becoming fact. Here are just a few bits of Hitchhikers Science

We’re hoping to add some more soon – any suggestions?

The GuideConnected PDAThe Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first aired in 1978, one of the central concepts being that Ford Prefect, a roving reporter, carried an indispensable guide – an electronic book that contained online reviews of people, places and things.

A few years after HHGG appeared on BBC Radio, we saw an early version of the electronic book, in the form of the Psion Organiser (with an amazing 8k of memory!). Now, in 2005, PDAs and smartphones are all around us. Handheld computers with a GPRS connection to the Internet, and enough storage space hold a whole stack of books in a variety of Ebook and PDF formats.

Add to that, the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide itself is online – in the form of h2g2, the online encyclopedia. Below, there’s a screenshot of us browsing the online guide on a connected Windows Pocket PC…

H2G2 on a connected PDA

Cyrius Cybernetics Corp SystemsRinspeed SensoArthur Dent versus the computer systems on the Heart of Gold – we’ve all been there! From Fit The Ninth…. “Why’s the floor shaking? You keep filling the air with cheap perfume! Turn the soothing music off”

In 2005, a new car, the Senso from European manufacturers Rinspeed, put in an appearance at the Geneva Car Show. This car, likened to Knight Rider’s KITT, uses sensors to measure vital statistics such as eye movement and pulse, and if it detects tiredness or stress, can generate soothing colours, sounds, smells, as well as making your seat vibrate. Sound familiar? Doesn’t dispense tea though.
Share and Enjoy!

Brantisvogan Megalycee teaching methodA computeach is heard testing a pupil on the Shoe Event Horizon (where every shop becomes a shoeshop), and uses a teaching method that sends a tingle to the pupil when he gets a right answer.

Today: vibrotactile is about to find it’s way into a new mobile phone from Samsung, that allows you to send and receive touchy-feely tactile messages to stimulate the recipient. For more, see the New Scientist story

The AsteroidIn May 2001, an asteroid was formerly named after our favourite hero. Check out the Wikipedia entry on 18610 Arthurdent
The ScienceScience of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxySo what of the science referred to in Hitch-hiker’s? For an investigation into the scientific and technological discoveries invented by Douglas, take a look at this book, published in May 2005.

The Science of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a light-hearted and informative tour of the real cutting-edge research behind the corner-stones of the H2G2 Universe, such as space tourism, parallel universes, instant translation devices and computers with GPP. Available from Amazon.co.uk.

TowelsOK, so Douglas can’t take the credit for this one.
” Was God a Marks & Spencer sales assistant?”

 

Hitchhiker’s Guide Versions

A quick summary of the various incarnations of that wholly remarkable concept, that we know and love as The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy:


Radio Series CD

The first book

Tertiary Radio Series

DVD

The Movie

The various versions of The Guide, all of which are available from our friends at Amazon

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