When I was nine years old, I read my first science fiction book, The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, and I was hooked. Still am. Over a span of mega years, I’ve collected and consumed more than 400 SF (fans don’t refer to it as sci-fi) books. My shelves hold works by notable authors such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Brian Aldis, Frederik Pohl and, of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have all of Gene Roddenberry’s works (you know, Star Trek), but also works of authors who are known only to aficionados of the craft, such as Kenji Siratori.
Some of us SF fans thought by now the world would be like The Jetsons cartoon. There would be flying cars and a robot in every house obeying our every command.
It’s not quite like that but we are getting closer every year. And a fully automated self-storage facility in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is as futuristic as something found in Star Wars (without the fighting). RoboVault is a building that thinks. The secret is a system called a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that lets users interact with the computer system to create specific commands. The building can create its own energy, and “morph” or change its configuration almost as well as a Transformer. Storage units can be retrieved at the touch of a button.
Even if bad guys could “beam aboard,” they would have a tough time getting into this place. The facility knows who is inside its walls. It reads your palms (er, fingerprints), hears heartbeats and looks into your eyes. Visit YouTube to watch this building at work.
OK, thinking and talking buildings are comforting—just as long as they are not fans of The Terminator. We don’t need Skynet telling them what to do.
“Ah’ll be back.”