The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Cyberware Optical Blast Shades
There seems to be a renaissance taking place in the creation of new and exciting materials. Some of which have the potential to catapult human / organic and machine-based technology into the realms of science fiction and pseudo-sorcery.
But skip away from the cold logic of science for a moment, into the hot fizz of fashion. Chromic Phenomena is the advancement of colour and light manipulation within materials based on concepts used in nature. Media artist and fashion designer Rainbow Winters is pushing, stretching, warping and blurring the boundaries between material technology and high-end fashion to create some remarkable “wearable works of art”. I hear the tough London drinker in “Withnail and I” shouting PONCE but this stuff is going to percolate down into street style and today’s cyberculture sooner than later.
The future is stretchy, elastomeric and electronic
Metallic microlattice, aerogel, aerographite, there’s a steady march along the paths of micro energy storage, strong shape-memory, and electrical conductivity with low thermal conductivity. The fusion of these various aspects will lead to the creation of some truly revolutionary tech and brings to mind some of the items I’ve been weaving into my sci-fi dark fantasy novels for the last few years.
Nanomech refers specifically to dense clusters of nanobots working together in a highly flexible and adaptive relationship, to create larger structures, including computer devices, sentry systems, drones and reactive armour (such as Bronson Arms Flash Armour) and adaptable living quarters in a few orbital residences and many deep space habitats (typically only the wealthy).
The nanobots are composites of chemical polymer molecules and advanced metal alloys. It is predominantly a non-organic technology.
Nanomech can be bought pre-configured; “ready-made” to fulfil a particular function. Or it can be bought or made in a raw un-configured state; developers then write or download templates to get the Nanomech to behave in specific ways – essentially allowing you to create flexible technology that can evolve from one shape and function to another.
Nanomech technology is relatively recent development on Earth. Part of the backwash of advanced technology coming from deep, deep Space and the Borgendrill Enigma.
The risks of weaponised Nanomech being developed and used by terrorists has led to some draconian laws about the classification and legality of certain types of Nanomech. In summary, Nanomech is legal so long as it does not possess the ability to disassemble other matter in order to replicate itself or create new compounds.
Disassembling and replication (DisRep) is constrained to specialised nanotechnology units, called nubs; creation and distribution of DisRep nubs is tightly controlled, and licensed. Misuse of DisRep nubs or being in possession of unlicensed units carries severe punishment by authorities across the board, from UTOC to the UDP.
– From Yellow Dawn Free Download Supplement: Nanomech and Synthetic Biology
- Further reading about Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, and about the Borgendrill Enigma
- I first used Nanomech in the post-apocalyptic horror novel The Black Lake
I’ve also been concept-storming complex materials used by robotic machines and cybernetic characters in the novel Rise of the Iconoclast (still in development). Graphene, which has been about for years provides a good launch pad for next-gen electronics. Add Synmov, a flexible, immensely strong and non-organic alternative to muscle, combined with other materials to provide machine-like chassis for the cast of protagonists who fly around in a beaten-up old military FOP resupply vessel. Each character is unique, as is the chassis they’ve installed their minds into, creating a range of power / strength / stealth and endurance ratios that can be challenged within the story arc. I started the novel summer 2012 but paused after several chapters to write The Black Lake (only took me 7 weeks) and then focus on The Social Club (currently in final edit – due for launch later this year).
You can read the first three chapters of ROTI here. Very much work-in-progress and you can see they need a lot of work but I’m happy with the underlying story and character development.
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