The Top 10 Cyborg Upgrades
By Marissa Meyer
There was a time when fictional cyborgs were a rather wimpy bunch—observe the Tin Man from Oz. But over the years, writers and artists have latched onto the awesome potential of combining man and machines. From classic villains, like Darth Vader and the Borg, to modern-day heroes, like Inspector Gadget, cyborgs have developed some seriously envy-worthy upgrades over the years.
Here are my top ten.
1. Long Battery Life. Who needs sleep and food when you can keep chugging along like the Energizer Bunny? In Terminator 2 we learn that the futuristic assassin can run for 120 years on a single power cell. How’s that for stamina?
2. Hive Brain. Sure, the Borg from Star Trek are supremely eerie, but there’s something admirable about how they tirelessly strive to assimilate all knowledge into a single shared brain. It’d be kind of like having constant access to Wikipedia.
3. Steady Supply of Useful Gadgets. Growing up, I was in awe of Inspector Gadget for solely this reason. Whether you’re in need of a can opener, a screwdriver, or a grappling hook, your resident cyborg is bound to have just what you need, just when you need it.
4. Photographic Memory. Never experience blank-mind syndrome again. With a photographic memory, you’ll ace every exam, recall every name at a cocktail party, and always know exactly where you put your keys.
5. Volume Control. The great thing about a lot of cyborg abilities is that they’re adjustable. Super sensitive hearing is great and all, but gosh, wouldn’t it be great to turn the noise down sometimes? No more blaring rock music from your siblings or screaming arguments from the neighbors. Pure serenity.
6. Concealed Weaponry. Fancy weapons are a staple in the cyborg genre, and with good reason, as cyborgs have a knack for getting into loads of trouble. Whether it’s an arm that transforms into a machine gun or something as simple as a retractable knife in the finger, every cyborg should have a trick or two up their metaphorical sleeve.
7. Superhuman Strength. Despite his survivor guilt, even Detective Del Spooner from I, Robot (yes, even Will Smith is in the cyborg club) would have to admit that having a bionic arm is pretty sweet. At least, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have survived all those superhuman-robot attacks without it.
8. Bionic Eye. Superhuman strength aside, the Six Million Dollar Man would have been a bumbling bulldozer without his bionic eye. It had night and infrared heat vision, was a targeting device, a zoom lens, a camera, and it could see objects that were moving too fast for a human eye. Heck, it probably had X-Ray vision too, he just didn’t want the ladies finding out about that.
9. Mechanical Skills. Cyborgs and mechanics go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that we see plenty of cyborgs who take pride in fixing the unfixable, such as Jet Black who’s always tinkering with his spaceship in “Cowboy Bebop.” Never having to make another appointment for an unexpected car repair? Priceless.
10. Programmable Dexterity. Some cyborg limbs are seen as cumbersome and unwieldy, but sometimes there’s an elegance to how these bionic parts function, with perfect coordination, agility, and grace. With your brain telling your limbs precisely what to do—and the limbs responding—who’s to say you couldn’t learn tap dancing overnight, or scale mountains, or break an egg with one hand like they do on the Food Network? Okay, maybe no one else shares my egg-cracking envy, but still, the possibilities are endless.
Of course, being cyborg could have its downfalls, too. Say, going through metal detectors. Or swimming. But for the most part, fiction and science combined are well on their way toward making bionic human limbs with some jaw-droppingly awesome abilities.
What would you want upgraded if the technology were available?
Marissa Meyer is the author of The Lunar Chronicles, in which Cinderella is re-envisioned as a teenage cyborg! (Did you see that coming?) Follow Marissa on Twitter (@marissa_meyer) or her blog (http://www.marissameyer.com/blog).