in Death technology
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
Nora Roberts (under her pseudonym J. D. Robb)'s In Death novels begin in the slightly futuristic setting of 2058, and mostly take place in New York City. While many things remain the same, the author has created several inventions that are considered commonplace in this society.
AutoChef: A countertop device that prepares any food or beverage programmed by the user. References are made to Eve Dallas having stale bagels in hers (while she's still single and living alone); Roarke giving a menu to Summerset; various police personnel coveting the special coffee available from Eve's AutoChef once she's married Roarke. (Being extremely rich, he can obtain genuine organic foods such as beef, chocolate, and real coffee, rather than the typical soy-based substitutes.) It seems one must have the ingredients present in order for them to be prepared by the AutoChef, which differs from the replicator introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Glides: Glides seem to be the 2060 equivalent of escalators. They are never presented in much detail, but are frequently referred to as an alternative to elevators.
Glide carts: Street vendors, much the same as those in use today. Vendors stake out their own 'territories.' Cart quality and content tend to match the surrounding neighborhood. They often cater to vehicles stuck in traffic as well as pedestrians. A majority of the food is vegetarian (such as soydogs and veggie fries).
Enhancements: Cosmetic surgery is also common -- everything from breast implants to permanent makeup. Clients going to a day spa get "skin enhancements," which probably involves facials and exfoliation. Tattoos and body piercing are prevalent. Mavis is known to change her hair color and style, not only in every book, but in almost every scene.
Recyclers: Nearly everything is recyclable at this time--fabrics, food, plastics, metals, etc. Recyclers are available nearly everywhere such as on the street, in offices and in private homes.
NYPSD weapon (or stunner, or laser): A weapon like a stun gun, it releases an electric charge into the target's nervous system. The level can be adjusted from "stun" to "terminate" (the word used most often instead of "kill"). As explained in Naked in Death, guns are unknown to everyone except licensed collectors and other "history buffs"; one teenage murder victim thought a gun was a toy, right before she was shot with it. Knives (switchblades in particular) are commonplace in crime-ridden neighborhoods, and are called "stickers."
Anticancer vaccine: A man named Drake (for which the Drake Center was named, as per Conspiracy in Death) found a cure for cancer; anyone diagnosed with the disease can get treated and healed with the vaccine. The only people who would likely succumb to it are those who do not seek health care. If there are any diseases left, they all seem to be treatable via vaccine.
Master: A police-issued computerized skeleton key that allows the user to open any locked door, security barrier, etc. without consequences. When Eve is suspended from the NYPSD in Conspiracy in Death, she must rely on Roarke's extensive lock picking skills to continue her investigation.
Seal-It: A spray can (with an unpleasant odor) that is apparently standard issue in the field kits of NYPSD personnel investigating crime scenes, particularly murder. The spray is used topically on the investigating officers to prevent fingerprints, footprints, etc. from compromising evidence at the scene.
CompuGuard: A future equivalent of Total Information Awareness that tracks nearly all computer and internet usage. Roarke often uses his "unregistered" (and illegal) system to hack into various government databases.
Telelink (or 'link): An advanced videophone, in various sizes and applications. Characters have various 'links mounted on the walls in their houses or offices, on the dashboard in their vehicles, or hand-carried smaller devices. They are not only used for conversation, but characters can transfer data and make log files of their transactions. Eve has often checked the 'links of her victims (that is, asked Feeney to check them) to get more information about their activities before their deaths.
Virtual reality goggles: The wearer can program a virtual reality experience, anything from a trip to the beach, to a pornographic interlude, to the re-creation of a crime scene. The invention figures prominently in Rapture in Death, although almost everyone is said to own a set.
Droids: man-made mechanic replicas of humans that fulfill various functions. They can provide playback from their memory databanks when necessary, can be programmed to perform numerous functions and may, or may not be, anatomically correct. There are many types of droids in operation, including (but not limited to) action, combat, domestic, police/beat, pet, service droids.
Flying vehicles: Anything from cars, to buses, to skateboards, can be used for transportation in the air as well as on the ground, by engaging a "vertical mode." Eve often muses about the sky traffic and can bring her vehicle above it if she's in a hurry.
Soothers, tranqs, boosters, Sober-Up, etc.: Various drugs are condoned and assigned to police personnel. They can choose not to take them, but the drugs can change their energy levels with almost no side effects. They are taken orally with no noticeable taste or scent, and can be slipped into someone's food or beverage without their knowledge or consent. Sober-Up in particular is a brand name drug (which Mavis often carries in her purse) that cleanses alcohol out of the body within ten minutes, in case someone drinking at a party is called away on an emergency assignment.