Are We There Yet?

I love it when something I have read about in Science Fiction is brought into the real world. I’ve dreamt about a flying car for a long time, along with a great deal else.

Often there are false starts that the newspapers and website announce, but after reading past the sensationalist headline, the reality is less than I was hoping for.

The way my brain works is often like a giant check-list.  I write in a outlining manner too, which is mostly due to creating so many training and technical manuals. So I can keep up with where we are, I have decided to create a structured check-list of the various items I come across. Feel free to send me items too, I would love that.

This is where my Scientific Logica brain takes over. So as to determine how close we are to these common Science Fiction nirvanas, I’ve created a scale to help judge: “Are We There Yet?”

This is the scale and what I loosely determine the value is:

  1. Written about in Sci Fi
  2. Translation of idea into a research proposal / hypothesis
  3. Research into subject is reported
  4. Minor research success / breakthrough
  5. Major research success / breakthrough
  6. Partially working prototype
  7. Test product / Beta / pilot
  8. Innovative full product released (innovators)
  9. Item is used by some people (Early Adopters)
  10. Item is in everyday use (Early Majority)

The scale is not yet definitive and I will probably tweak it as I go along.

The following are the general Categories that I will start to fill up:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Materials
  • Transport
  • Physics and Big Ideas
  • Weaponry & Defence
  • Fringe

Whilst compiling the scale I came acros a number of different classification schemes that I have either used as a basis for my scale or have stole from outrageously.

The Technology Readiness Scale on wikipedia, whilst Nasa has a nice simple explanation of this.

I also like the “ruler for advancement” from the Glenn Research Centre, which boils an idea or technology down on to a simplified five point. This is an easy visual indicator of where they think a technology currently lies.


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