Claytronics, Programmable Matter, and 3D Holographic Controls

From wayyy back in MegaTraveller, I always remembered the different kinds of fancy control surfaces available. From the MegaTraveller Referee’s Manual, page 60:

Computer and Control Panels: A computer is required to aid the operator or operators in controlling the craft’s functions. A computer multiplies the effects of the ship’s installed control panels if the control panels are of the “linked” type.

Several types of control panels exist:
Mechanical: Basic gauges, dials, and mechanical controls.
Electronic: Electronic gauges and electromechanical controls.
Computer: Computerized controls with detailed and informative flat computer displays.
Dynamic: Dynamically reconfigurable flat 2D controls. The operator may reconfigure the controls in a moment’s notice to fit preference or operating style. Limits the Tech Level reduction of a skill level to – 1
Holographic: Dynamically reconfigurable contoured 3Dcontrols with tactile feedback. The operator may reconfigure the controls similar to dynamic controls. Limits the Tech Level reduction of a skill level to – 1

And for the Tech Levels..

TL  Type
5     Basic Mechanical
6     Enhanced Mechanical
7     Electronic
8     Electronic Linked
9     Computer Linked
10   Dynamic Linked
13   Holographic Linked

So, when I saw this mockup of claymation…

Or, perhaps, programmable matter…

My mind went right to those TL 13 Holographic Controls…

…which would be a misnomer here: there is a clear difference between holographs (projected light fields, to create a 3D image) and programmable matter (which includes claytronics).

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About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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