In 1966, Kit Pedler, a medical scientist, created the Cybermen for the TV program Doctor Who, based on his concerns about science changing and threatening humanity. The Cybermen had replaced much of their bodies with mechanical prostheses and were now supposedly emotionless creatures driven only by logic.
Isaac Asimov's short story "The Bicentennial Man" explored cybernetic concepts. The central character is NDR, a robot who begins to modify himself with organic components. His explorations lead to breakthroughs in human medicine via artificial organs and prosthetics. By the end of the story, there is little physical difference between the body of the hero, now called Andrew, and humans equipped with advanced prosthetics, save for the presence of Andrew's artificial positronic brain. Asimov also explored the idea of the cyborg in relation to robots in his short story "Segregationist", collected in The Complete Robot.
In the novel Man Plus by Frederick Pohl, an able-bodied astronaut, Roger Torraway, is surgically altered in order to augment his fragile human body and allow him to function in the harsh climate of Mars. The result is both "monstrous" (he has bat-like wings, infrared sight, an enhanced brain capable of processing all the new sensory inputs) and "freeing" (his cyborg body is more "naturally" made for Mars, as opposed to his all-human colleagues on the Mars mission). Torraway's cyborg character is reprised in a 1995 sequel, Mars Plus.
The 1982 film Blade Runner featured creatures called replicants, bio-engineered or bio-robotic beings. The Nexus series—genetically designed by the Tyrell Corporation—are virtually identical to an adult human, but have superior strength, agility, and variable intelligence depending on the model. Because of their physical similarity to humans a replicant must be detected by its lack of emotional responses and empathy to questions posed in a Voight-Kampff test. A derogatory term for a replicant is "skin-job," a term heard again extensively in Battlestar Galactica. In the opening crawl of the film, they are first said to be the next generation in robotics. The crawl also states genetics play some role in the creation of replicants. The original novel makes mention of the biological components of the androids, but also alludes to the mechanical aspects commonly found in other material relating to robots.
The 1987 science fiction action filmRoboCop features a cyborg protagonist. After being killed by a criminal gang, police officer Alex Murphy is transformed by a private company into a cyborg cop. The transformation is used to explore the theme of resurrection and identity. There are cyborg kaiju in the Godzilla films such as Gigan and Mechagodzilla.
Although frequently referred to onscreen as a cyborg, The Terminator might be more properly an android. While it has skin and blood (cellular organic systems), these serve mainly as a disguise and are not symbiotic with the machine components, a trait of true cyborgs. The endoskeletons beneath are fully functional robots and have been seen operating independently, especially during the future segments of the Terminator movies. The T-1000 (which is said to be made completely of a liquid metal) of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is definitely an android. The Terminator Cameron Phillips seen in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is of a previously unseen model, and is once again referred to on screen (including once by another Terminator) as a cyborg. Terminator Salvation introduces Marcus Wright, a death-row convict who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems, who was later revived as a one of a kind Terminator with his original brain and heart placed into an endoskeleton which was then covered by a copy of his original organic tissue.
Cyborgs have also been present in real-time strategy video games. The "Command & Conquer" video game series had cyborgs as a part of its plot – specifically Cyborgs created by the "Brotherhood of Nod" via Tiberium Infusion experimentation. They were frequently used for anti-personnel, though the Cyborg Commando proved to be useful in most situations. Cyborgs were brought back by the AI named LEGION, (a successor to CABAL) under direct orders from Kane. The 'Marked of Kane' units also contain Cyborgs.
The Metal Gear Solid series of video games has a recurring character known as Grey Fox or the "Cyborg Ninja" who is a person wearing a cybernetic exoskeleton (either worn as a suit or grafted directly to the character's body) and wielding a high-frequency blade.
The cyborg ninja suit has been donned by multiple characters, most recently by the character Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. He became the newest incarnation of the Cyborg Ninja after he was captured by The Patriots after he stole the body of Big Boss for the Paradise Lost Army. His body was heavily experimented on for the purpose of creating the ultimate soldier and the only remaining organic parts of his original body are his head and spinal cord. His cyborg body is composed of artificial muscle, organs, bones, and blood( a "white" artificial blood that the PLA substituted for his old, nanomachine primed blood). His cyborg body was optimized for war and enabled him to fight on a superhuman level and withstand what would normally be considered fatal injuries.
One of the most famous cyborgs is Darth Vader from the Star Wars films. Vader was once Anakin Skywalker, a famous Jedi turned to the Dark Side. After a ferocious battle with his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin is left for dead beside a lava flow on Mustafar, and is outfitted with an artificial life support system as well as robotic arms and legs. General Grievous, Lobot, and Luke Skywalker are the three other most prominent cyborgs in the Star Wars universe.
In the manga and anime series Ghost in the Shell, the protagonist Motoko Kusanagi is the fully prosthetic leader of an anti-terrorist force, who lives in a future Japan where the majority of adults are cyborgs and can connect wirelessly to the Internet for real-time communication and data research. The most common augmentations in the series are partly artificial brains called cyberbrains.
Bruce Sterling in his universe of Shaper/Mechanist suggested an idea of alternative cyborg called Lobster, which is made not by using internal implants, but by using an external shell (e.g. a Powered Exoskeleton). Unlike human cyborgs that appear human externally while being synthetic internally, a Lobster looks inhuman externally but contains a human internally. The computer game Deus Ex: Invisible War prominently featured the Omar, where "Omar" is a Russian translation of the word "Lobster" (since the Omar are of Russian origin in the game).
In the Brain and Brawn series of novels series by Anne McCaffrey and others, beginning with The Ship Who Sang, a "brainship" is a human body, usually one that could not develop normally, encased in the strongest materials available in that universe, and mentally connected to the controls of a spacecraft. Later novels link the brainship to fully functional humanoid androids.
Gaston Leroux, the author of The Phantom of the Opera, wrote a 1923 story titled La poupée sanglante – La machine à assassiner (translated as The Machine to Kill in the English edition) in which the brain of a guillotined murderer is inserted into a "clockwork man".
The Mi-go aliens in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, first appearing in the story "The Whisperer in Darkness" (1931), can transport humans from Earth to Pluto (and beyond) and back again by removing the subject's brain and placing it into a "brain cylinder", which can be attached to external devices to allow it to see, hear, and speak.
Deirdre, a famous dancer who was burned nearly completely and whose brain was placed in a faceless but beautiful mechanical body, in C. L. Moore's short story of 1944, "No Woman Born". Collected in "The Best of C. L. Moore" in 1975
Jonas the (star) sailor in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun novels. His near light speed ship had been gone so long that on its return to Urth, there were no space port facilities any more, and it crashed. Other crew members patched him up from available parts. (However, he started out as fully robotic, and was repaired with human parts, rather than the more usual reverse).
Professor Jameson, a cyborg pulp hero by Neil R. Jones, and his allies and benefactors, the Zoromes.
Marge Piercy's He, She and It presents a rather feminist view on the cyborg issue with Yod who, however, is provided with some male attributes.
Anne McCaffrey wrote short stories and novels known as The Ship Series (1961–) where otherwise crippled humans live on as the brains of starships and large space stations.
The genetically engineered and prosthetics-ready warriors of the planet Sauron in the CoDominium series of short stories and novels initiated by Jerry Pournelle and also written by guest authors.
In Martin Caidin's novel, Cyborg, a test pilot named Steve Austin is rebuilt after a horrendous crash, given new "bionic" limbs, and becomes a superspy. Followed by several sequel novels and also adapted as the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.
Rat Things in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. They are attack-programmed guard dogs whose long hairless tails make them look less like dogs and more like rats. They are powered by nuclear engines that will fatally over-heat if they stop. Technology invented by Mr. Ng and, evidently, made exclusively for the defense of the franchise Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong.
In William C. Dietz's Legion of the Damned the Legion is made up of a combination of humans and heavily armed cyborgs.
Kage Baker has written a series of novels about The Company in which orphans from various eras (who fit certain physical requirements) are recruited by a time-traveling corporation, augmented and turned into immortal cyborgs, and trained to rescue valuable artifacts from history.
Linda Nagy, aka Ellen Troy, who has wetware in her brain, spines in her fingers (for linking with computers) and an antenna that lets her shut down machine remotely from the Venus Prime series by Arthur C. Clarke and Paul Preuss
Jessamyn 'Krokodil' Bonney, protagonist of ||Kim Newman||'s Demon Download series was extensively augmented by Dr. Simon Threadneedle, also a cyborg.
Comics and manga[edit source | edit]
Jeremiah Gottwald from Code Geass becomes a cyborg when he barely survives the Battle of Narita and is turned into one when a team of government scientists operate on him experimentally. This results in a half-machine appearance. In R2, most of his mechanical parts are internalized.
Masamune Shirow's other major work, Appleseed also contains a multitude of cyborg characters, with one of the main characters, Briareos Hecatonchires, the mercenary Sokaku Tatara and his war buddies, and the Mumna Holy Republic diplomat Kainisu, from the fourth chapter, are just a few.
Cyborg of the Teen Titans comic book series is a superhero with massive implants and prosthetics. He also appeared in the animated TV series. Not to be confused with Superman supervillain Cyborg Superman, a technopathic entity who prefers cybernetic forms, who is occasionally referred to as merely "The Cyborg."
Many of the characters of Battle Angel Alita (also known in Japan as GUNNM) are cyborgs, including the lead, Alita (Gally, Yoko). Cyborgs are a major way of life in the GUNNM universe, with sports, such as Motorball (and crimes, such as spine-stealing), contributing to a culture of cyborgs.
Android 17 and Android 18, along with Android 20 from the anime-manga series Dragon Ball Z. Despite their confusing English dub names, they are indeed cyborgs. In the original Japanese version, these three (along with the rest of Dr. Gero's artificial creations) are referred to as jinzouningen, which is a blanket term in Japanese science fiction applying to robots and androids, as well as cyborgs. Jinzouningen is usually translated by fans to "artificial human". Frieza is also a cyborg after his defeat on Namek and is saved and rebuilt by his Father King Cold.
Franky (also known as Cutty Flam), of the manga One Piece by Eiichirō Oda, rebuilt most of his body with scrap metal after sustaining serious injuries. Giving him abilities ranging from (but not limited to) air cannons in his hands and rear end, guns in his wrists, and the ability to extend the front part of his lower body outward, making him look like a backwards centaur. However, as Franky did these adjustments to himself, only the front part of his body is cyborg. His backside (which he couldn't reach) is as vulnerable as any human back, rendering this his weak point. His cyborg abilities are powered by cola, stored in a refrigeration unit in Franky's stomach.
Henrietta, Triela,Rico, Claes, Angelica,Elsa de Sica, and Elizaveta from Gunslinger Girl are adolescent girls who are made into cyborg assassins to fight for the government. They have adults known as 'handlers' who train them for battle.
Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man injected himself with techno-organic virus "Extremis", which installed a computer interface into his nervous system and an Iron Man armor interface into his body. This allows him greater control of the armor. Stark can also remotely operate his armors (more than one Iron Man active at a time).
Several characters in Spriggan such as the Trident Corporation's agents (except Iwao Akatsuki), including ex-Machiner's Platoon agent Ironarm, have prosthetic limbs. These give them an advantage in combat since the limbs are outfitted with offensive weapons.
One group of major antagonists in the manga Blame! are Silicon Creatures, humanoids of a silicon base that are similar to cyborgs.
Transmetropolitan features many cyborgian ideas and characters. Spider Jerusalem himself is a cyborg especially when he takes the phone trait.
Pinoko from Black Jack is technically a cyborg; as a living Teratoma, she is mostly organs: most of her body was crafted by Blackjack from synthetic fiber.
The comic series Concrete (1986–) revolved around the life of an ordinary human whose brain had been placed in a large artificial stone body by aliens.
A Borg from the Star Trek series on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.
The Borg from the film Star Trek: First Contact. Interestingly, the android character Data is transformed into a cyborg in the film too by having organic components integrated into him (the reverse of the Borg, who were organic beings who had synthetic components made part of them).
Armitage in the movie Armitage III is a "Third Type" cyborg which was an all female line of cyborgs designed to have conscience, free will and the ability to procreate as a way for a Mars-colony to better sustain a population and thus be able break away from Earth. When Earth and Mars became more united, the Third Types were eliminated by a seeming psychotic so as to avoid offending the feminist-leaning Earth.
The Kaalium from Moontrap. They are scavenger pods that build bodies and spaceships for themselves from both mechanical and biological components.
In The Colossus of New York (1958), a father transplants the brain of his recently-deceased son into a large robotic body.
Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation, who was born blind and uses optical implants combined with a removable unit called a VISOR, to see. The VISOR was twice replaced temporarily with biological eyes and, in the films, permanently replaced with ocular implants.
Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, whose natural heart was irreparably damaged in a bar fight when he was younger and replaced with an artificial heart, which was later replaced twice due to defect or damage. However, the artificial heart is not a major part of his identity and is seldom mentioned, so that most viewers would not consider him a cyborg. He was also at one point briefly conscripted into the Borg (see above).
In Neon Genesis Evangelion the Evangelionmecha are not robots but clones of aliens outfitted with cybernetics to allow their human pilots (or a backup computer, as in the Mass Production Eva series) to control them.
Similar to above mentioned Edward Elric, Folken Fanel from the anime series The Vision of Escaflowne has a prosthetic right arm based on an unnamed technology of the Zaibach Empire.
Kidou Keiji Jiban, a metal hero show in Japan, was influenced by RoboCop. The main difference is that Naoto Tamura can transform between his detective identity and his Jiban/Perfect Jiban identity on his own.
Simulants from Red Dwarf, as well as Kryten, whose brain is part-organic. Dave Lister has his arm replaced with a cybernetic prosthesis in 'Epideme' and at least one future version of Lister appears with a cybernetic and arm (one finger on the hand of which serves as a built-in bottle opener).
"Riders" from the "Ishinomori era" of the Kamen Rider franchise.
In the cartoon series Biker Mice from Mars, Modo has a cybernetic arm, Throttle artificial eyes and Stoker a cybernetic tail, all the product of Doctor Karbunkle's experiments. One of the villains, 'Lectromag, was also a Cyborg.
In the anime series Afro Samurai, Afro's childhood friend Jinno returns years after his "death" as Kuma, a cybernetic samurai with a teddy bear mask.
Kondoru no Joe (Joe Asakura) in the anime series Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman, who is mortally wounded during the final battle of the first Gatchaman series and rescued by the mysterious Dr. Rafael, and returns to the team as a cyborg in the early episodes of Gatchaman II.
In Smallville the character Victor Stone is an incarnation of the comic book superhero Cyborg, appearing in two episodes.
Technically, the entire Exofleet personnel in Exosquad were cyborgs, as special cybernetic implants were necessary to pilot combat E-frames. More extensive cybernetic enhancements were also seen in the series (e.g. James Burns in episode 2.18).
In the Trapper Keeper episode of South Park a cyborg named Bill Cosby is sent back in time to prevent Cartman's Trapper Keeper from taking over the world. Also Chef like Vader was rebuilt into Darth Chef.
Cameron Phillips, a new-model of Terminator featured in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a 2008 television series, is explicitly referred to on screen several times as a cyborg, although it has not yet been made explicit that she has livingtissue over her roboticendoskeletons like other Terminators. A human version of Cameron is seen in one episode but it is not indicated how much if any of her biological make-up went into the Terminator version.
Mr. Kat from "Kid vs. Kat". In the "Nip/Duck" episode an X-ray reveals that the alien cat is mostly mechanical, apart from his two brains and his three lungs; it's not clear if his paws are mechanical or not, but they probably are since Mr. Kat has a lot of robotic gadgets inside his hands.
Jeremiah Gottwald, a character in the anime series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, is enhanced with extensive cybernetics after being grievously wounded in battle. His body ultimately comes to feature a highly reactive neural interface and blades in his arms, among other features.
In the anime Towa no Quon, there is the cyborg army WTOC, which consists of 5 human beings who have gotten operations to turn their bodies into cyborgs.
Video games[edit source | edit]
The Deus Ex videogame series deals extensively with the near-future rise of cyborgs.
The Mass Effect series contains countless cyborgs; Reaper troops, Reapers themselves, Commander Shepard (certainly after resurrection involving "bio-synthetic fusion"), the Illusive Man, all human biotics (via biotic amplifier implants), Kasumi Goto, Kai Leng, etc.
The Syndicate series deals with a similar theme of people cybernetically enhanced and forced to serve the syndicate.
In Warzone 2100, cyborgs can be built once the "Synaptic Link" technology is researched.
In the video game Quake III Arena, many of the characters feature 'Cybronic Implants'.
Several characters in the G-Police series of games.
A special perk in Fallout 3 allows the main character to become a cyborg. As well, in a subplot, the character can acquire the Wired Reflexes perk from a scientist named Dr. Zimmer, which is implied to be a cybernetic enhancement.
MegaMan.EXE from the Megaman Battle Network series, also known as Hub Hikari (Hikari Saito), brother to Lan. He was born human, but converted into a NetNavi form by Yuiichiro Hikari, due to his human body having the incurable HBD ailment. This would make him a data-based cyborg, as opposed to the standard machine/organic composite.
Volkov, from Command & Conquer: Red Alert, is a cyborg supersoldier, integrating a large hand cannon in his arm as primary method of attack. He also has a cybernetic animal companion, the cybernetic Attack dogChitzkoi.
Lieutenant Jean Razac, commanding officer of Roughnecks in CGI animated television series Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles has a prosthetic arm. A few other minor characters are also shown with mechanized prosthetics.
In Space Siege,the player has the option to enhance his body with cybernetic augmentations and become less human and more machine till he is 5% human and 95% machine. also the Pilot had turned the people in the space ship to cyborgs. In one of the end options you can chose to go with pilot and turn all the people to cyborgs.
Many Space Marine and other characters in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are given bionic limbs and eyes to replace those they lose in battle, culminating in almost entirely cybernetic bodies, or entombment in Dreadnoughts, combat mecha with life support sarcophagi and cybernteic controls. The members of the Iron Hands Space Marine chapter receive an arm prothetic upon induction, and look forward to more amputations and prothetics.
Iron Tager in the BlazBlue series for having magnetically-charged hands.
In Xenoblade Chronicles, the character Fiora returns in the later stages of the game as a cyborg due to an event that left her mortally wounded earlier.
In the game Anarchy Reigns, most of the characters are cyborgs, even those who only have robotic limbs. The characters that are cyborgs are Jack Cayman, Blacker Baron, Mathilda, Big Bull, Leonhardt "Leo" Victorian, Nikolai Dmitri Bulygin, Durga, Douglas Williamsburg, and Maximillian Caxton.
Music[edit source | edit]
Psychotron, a part human, part computer killing machine from Megadeth's song Psychotron.
The "Cybernetic Queen" from the song of the same name by Iron Savior.
The Sex With Strangers album The Tokyo Steel contains a narrative concerning cyborgs.
The Cyborg Noodle replica that appears in artwork from the Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach.
Games and toys[edit source | edit]
Mike Power, Atomic Man, a G.I. Joe version of Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man
In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, various races make use of bionics and prosthetics, chiefly the Imperium of Man. It is not uncommon for Space Marines and Imperial Guardsmen to be given artificial limbs and/or organs to replace those lost or irreparably damaged in battle, enabling them to continue their service to the Imperium. Members of the Inquisition sometimes acquire bionics for the same reasons, or adopt them voluntarily for various reasons. In particular, members of the Adeptus Mechanicus – the cult of the Machine God – make extensive use of bionics, often to the point that very little of them can be defined as "human". Adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus revere technology above all things, and believe that machines are vastly superior to human beings. The high level of bionics and prosthetics common in Tech-Priests has led to Imperial Guardsmen coining a number of slang terms for them, chiefly "cogboys". The name not only refers to the fact that Tech-Priests are mostly machines themselves, but is also a reference to the icon of the Mechanicum, a golden machine cog with an augmented skull emblazoned upon it.
In The Mechanoid Invasion (1981–), the Mechanoids are a race of formerly biological organisms with psychic abilities who have had their brains placed in mechanical bodies. They have since become genocidal towards all bipeds.
The Riftsrole-playing game makes extensive use of cybernetics in many Occupational Character Classes. Cybernetics are divided into normal cybernetics, realistic-looking bio-systems, and deadly, combat-oriented bionics. It also organizes Cyborgs into two categories: Partial Conversion, where most of a person's limbs are all that are replaced, and Full Conversion, where the entire body, save for the brain, spinal cord, and a few other organs are replaced by bionics.