|This article is about Cyberware in general. For other uses, see Cyberware (disambiguation).|
Cyberware is the term used to describe cybernetic technology which is grafted in or onto a living body. Even though cybernetic prosthetics were originally developed for practical and medical purposes, they've since become a matter of lifestyle choice. Cyberware has become as commonplace as tattoos and jewelry. The reasons for installing it are many and varied, including simple tech upgrades, combat enhancements, and even fashion statements. The possession of trendy cyberware has become an integral and defining part of Night City culture. Uniqueness is just another form of currency. To make it big, you need to look the part. Style is everything.
Cyberware is any cybernetic technology permanently installed into the body, especially technology that interfaces with the central nervous system. All Cyberware is artificial. Biological enhancements are considered a separate category, collectively referred to as Bioware. Cyberware generally refers to technology that interacts with (or acts in place of) the nervous system. People with artificial hip joints or pacemakers are not generally considered cyborgs, even though part of their body is artificial.
Cyberware is commonplace in the cyberpunk world. It is a post-human society, where your meat body is little more than a tool to enhance for functionality or appearance. Cyberfashion (sometimes referred to as Fashionware) is its own thing in the cyberpunk world; enhancing your own body for no other reason than looks. Beside status, cybernetics are most often desired for practical applications. For most people, the main concern with cybernetics is simply being able to afford it.
While cybernetics are still expensive, they are affordable by most of the middle class to some degree, and even by the poor in some situations. The working class, especially professionals, often have two or three implants of some kind. Cyberoptics are useful for recording meetings. Cyberaudio with boosted sensitivity could be useful for eavesdropping on gossips in the executive lounge. While the world of Cyberpunk is a much more violent society, there are plenty of non-violent everyday uses for Cybernetics that make them desirable to almost everyone. Installing cybertechnology is generally considered a major purchase (like buying a laptop, TV, or car), but is still within the means of most people.
Cybertechnology can be acquired almost anywhere. Some installations are trivial, and can be done with a walk-in visit. There are many chain stores that can perform these (Bodyshoppe, Fashion/Fusion, Parts'N'Programs, etc.). These shops can also upgrade, repair, or tune existing cyberware. Other installations will require an actual hospital, and involve recovery time. As in the real world, the quality will depend on what you're willing to spend. Mall stores are considered middle of the road. Specialist clinics can deliver much higher quality installations. And for the desperate or the criminal, there are ripperdocs.
Ripperdocs are underground medtechs that can perform installations cheaply, but with a serious cost in quality and integrity. Ripperdocs do not follow the medical codes and procedures of the mall stores or clinics or hospitals. This can lead to complications such as additional pain. Ripperdocs are also used by the underworld for installing cyberware that is otherwise illegal.
Cyberware installation involves the use of nanotech to establish an interface between the module and the nervous system in the body. There is no limit to how much of the body can be modified. Full body conversions involve replacing virtually everything except the brain. It is difficult (some would say impossible) to avoid cyberpsychosis in such a situation however, so full body conversions are rare.
These are high tech exoskeletons, that resemble contoured body armor. Think Iron Man, but actually grafted to your body. These frames go past the limitations of conventional cyberlimbs, because the frame does not rely on the meat body to brace itself, allowing for truly superhuman feats (like lifting small cars or bending steel bars in your hands). They have some limitations: you cannot swim in them, and they will slow your reflexes. Also... you are going to be wearing body armor the rest of your life, all the time.
This involves grafting actual armor plates into your body. Unlike Subdermal Armor, this stuff is on TOP of your skin. But it is as permanent as any other cyber implant. Body plating can be installed in sections, or over your entire body. It can also be incorporated into Linear frames and other Cyberware.
The armor is more complicated than just slapping steel plates onto your skin... it has many layers and is porous (your skin still exists underneath, as does your meat body). From the outside though, you will resemble a robot. Body plating does not need to look especially robotic or ugly though... it can be styled like anything else. Many body plated women resemble the sexy robot pictures popular in the 70s and 80s. A good example is the image to the right. It can be styled in almost any way, including minimalist designs (do you want a basic reflective ovoid sphere for a head?) or fearsome and intimidating creatures from fantasy (would you like to look like a metal manticore?). Your imagination is the only real limit.
People who have body plating are basically immune to the trivial damage that the rest of us worry about (cuts and scrapes and stuff). Body plating offers better damage resistance than even Subdermal Armor, and can be enhanced even further than that if desired.
Fully Body Conversion
The majority of full body conversions, the spine, brain and adrenal systems are transplanted into a fluid-filled support sack, in which nutrients are infused. The nutrients, infused via an IV that plugs into a port on the external shell, or derived from masticated food that passes through a "blender" into a separate digestive chamber and is routed to a processing food holder that routes the vitamins to the support sack.
Meanwhile, the actual metal body frame is powered by a rechargeable battery with a multi-day charge. The skin is chrome implanted RealSkinn similar to the type used on cyberlimbs; it's soft, warm, but hairless and shiny. There's a neural net that ties sensors in the skin to the brain--the tech is similar to what is used for things like the Mr. Studd sexual implant.
At the start of the 21st century, medical prostheses were mainly implants used to replace parts of the body, such as a teeth, facial bone, palate, or joints. Cyberware in the modern day was the evolution of prostheses. In order to save human lives medical science created artificial heart valves, extremities, or vertebras; this to allow the patients who suffered from severe body trauma to function normally in society.
During the First Central American War of the early 1990s, the development of cyberware increased significantly when thousands of American soldiers were coming home severely injured. Medical cyberware became more sophisticated and widespread as technology progressed. Japan and Germany were at the forefront of development and research as the medicine was evolving. However despite the amazing innovations in the medical field and how widespread the cyberware was becoming, it was still expensive. The first prosthetic arm didn't have any fingers, instead it had a crude gripper and the arm as a whole was heavy. These primitive designs of the 1990s are known as the Generation Zero designs.
The postwar medical cyberware prosthesis development helped to speed up the miniaturization process. Reinforced spines and joints were first designed for workers, air filters grafted in the upper respiratory tracts for those working in polluted environments. Cybernetic enhancements were also produced for warfare during this Industrial Cyberware Revolution during the 2010s. The first crucibles that were designed these combat implants was the Second Central American War, as well as the Second and Third Corporate War. In the US the megacorporation, Militech, enhanced their soldiers enabling their bodies to increase their carrying capacity and direct connections to personal motion trackers and range finders.
An arms race began between private armies that belonged to megacorporations such as Arasaka that still continue in 2077. Generation One cyberware is often found in black markets, usually found in the possession of poor citizens who can't afford anything better. Generation One is usually made of metal and plastic.
The cybermedical market started to boom after the wars. The same corporations that would take part in the wars now saw more opportunities to profit from their lines of medical implants. Cyberweapons were also developed during this time.
- BATYLDA, M. The World of Cyberpunk 2077. 1st ed. Milwaukie, OR; Dark Horse Comics, 2020.