Again, just for fun:
Every spacer needs an old buddy that has dozens of these critters scurrying around. Some are busy doing small repairs with their dexterous legs stabbing back and forth; others are crawling on the ceiling, keeping an eye on the passengers; and a few are on guard duty, capable of spitting out a few shots from a laser-beam eye, or doing a quick jump and jamming a set of poisonous fangs through clothing or light cloth armour.
Of course, all should be able to do a mob attack and jam their legs (or aim a light laser) into the eyes of hijackers in an emergency.
[If you really like your military sci-fi, imagine what warfare is going to be like in 2100. Between these guys, the invisible mechanical monkeys with self-aiming sniper rifles, and hoverbot machine guns, life is going to be extremely interesting (and very short) on the battlefield. Nevermind the drones – some the size of planes, others the size of explosive dragonflies – or the new and improved IEDs (waves to the Google Car)… ]
Emptyheads being Emptyheads, the majority of civilians who board a ship and see these black critters moving about are going to instantly decide that they are unholy abominations, and get his pistol going BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! before you blink twice. Maybe they’re superstitious fools, as most Imperial Core types will claim – or maybe they’re just ahead of the curve.
(Waves to Virus.)
The 3Doodler is a fun toy now, in 2014.
In 2025, it could easily become a serious high-tech tool, capable of handling difficult design work and even some basic, light manufacturing. I can definitely see some ship engineers swear by their 55th century version of it!
The main limitation is the unsteady nature of the human hand and arm: but braces can go a good way to resolving this.
Or, perhaps, a machine-mind interface.
Hmmm…. how long will it take for a computer to match the information capacity of the human brain? By 2050 at least, maybe sooner by a decade or two? And in 2051, the computer’s capacity will double that of the brain – and in 2052, double it again…
We have already seen 3D printing create several types of human tissue, most notably liver tissue which is currently being used in drug toxicity testing. With that said, there is still one major hurdle to get us from the tiny sheets of 3D printed organ tissue, to that of entire 3D printed organs, which could one day be created by a patient’s own stem cells, and transplanted to save their life. That hurdle is the vascularisation of those organs. Every cell within a human organ, such as the liver, kidney or heart are within a hair’s width of a blood supply. This is an incredibly complex setup, one which up until now, researchers have found to be a nightmare to overcome when dealing with bioprinting. Without an adequate vascular network, the cells would be starved of oxygen, as well as a means to excrete waste, causing them to die and making the printed organs worthless.
And yes, a viable way to leap that hurdle has been found.
I am looking forward to the future – and planning to stay out of the battlefields!