It's not just the far-flung future, either, that this is the case. I remember reading recently that the spy gadgets we were amused by on the TV series GET SMART were the source of inspiration for the real-life CIA. The CIA scientists would see something on the show and try to figure out how they could make a variation for their own uses. (But no cone of silence, as far as I know. After all, on GET SMART, they never could get the cone to work!)
The book I have coming out in July, ECHOES OF PASSION, has a control device that's smaller than a paperback but a little thicker than a sheet of paper, easy to pocket and easy to overlook. It's a coin, basically; distinctively shaped and integral to the plot. Because The Hub works at a mint (where they design coins), I got a chance to see how intricate coins could be, and that was my inspiration.
But once I thought about it, it's not new at all. I have something about that size, something distinctive, a control device. You probably do too. Got a garage-door opener?
Eilis Flynn, www.eilisflynn.com
83 days to ECHOES OF PASSION! On sale at Cerridwen Press at 7.02.09