Cybernetics Skill and I guess bionics skill too

jedion357's picture
December 27, 2010 - 5:02pm
as per a request to the managment:

. what is the difference between cybernetics and bionics? I think the 2 different skills will
just inserted into the unfinished zebs rules as place holders which no one ever got around to
fleshing out. as such I'm uncertain that we need to make a big diferentiation in them and maybe
just do cybernetics

2. I would propose that it be an advanced skill like the KWs skills requiring levels in other skills before
it could be taken as a skill. that said level 6 is a steep hill to climb in med skill so I'm in favor
 of something like in that Spacer Skills Revisited article where level 1 cybernetics requires Med 2 and
robotics 1, level 2 cybernetics requires med 3 and robotics 2 and etc.

3. implantation requires major surgery subskill of med skill (the one you use for amputating a limb etc)
and its a multi stage process- one surgery to remove organic material and implant robotic interfaces
after a recovery period a robotics subskill of install new equipment is rolled to attach the new "stuff"
(note: this might not be the exact process for all cyber implants)

4. what are the various subskills: identify cybernetics used much like identify robot is used; what else
might be an appropriate subskill? surgery and installation should fall under med and robotics skills,

5. What other sorts of considerations should be written into the cybernetic rules?

What's your thoughts?

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
March 22, 2017 - 10:10am
I am looking into this subject for my project to try to bring all the various combat rules into one document -- water combat, Tanks a Lot, Here comes the Cavalry, exoskeletons, powered armor, characters in space (though not Knight Hawks' ship combat), etc.

I just think of the roots of the two subjects.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
March 22, 2017 - 10:11am

The word cybernetics was first used in the context of "the study of self-governance" by Plato in The Laws to signify the governance of people. The words govern and governor are related to the same Greek root through the Latin cognates gubernare and gubernator. The word "cybernétique" was also used in 1834 by the physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) to denote the sciences of government in his classification system of human knowledge.  

The first artificial automatic regulatory system, a water clock, was invented by the mechanician Ktesibios. In his water clocks, water flowed from a source such as a holding tank into a reservoir, then from the reservoir to the mechanisms of the clock. Ktesibios's device used a cone-shaped float to monitor the level of the water in its reservoir and adjust the rate of flow of the water accordingly to maintain a constant level of water in the reservoir, so that it neither overflowed nor was allowed to run dry. This was the first artificial truly automatic self-regulatory device that required no outside intervention between the feedback and the controls of the mechanism. Although they did not refer to this concept by the name of Cybernetics (they considered it a field of engineering), Ktesibios and others such as Heron and Su Song are considered to be some of the first to study cybernetic principles.

The study of teleological mechanisms (from the Greek ????? or telos for end, goal, or purpose) in machines with corrective feedback dates from as far back as the late 1700s when James Watt's steam engine was equipped with a governor, a centripetal feedback valve for controlling the speed of the engine. Alfred Russel Wallace identified this as the principle of evolution in his famous 1858 paper. In 1868 James Clerk Maxwell published a theoretical article on governors, one of the first to discuss and refine the principles of self-regulating devices.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
March 22, 2017 - 10:14am
While a National Geographics story on bioncs notes:


Etymology: from bi (as in “life”) + onics (as in “electronics”); the study of mechanical systems that function like living organisms or parts of living organisms


Kitts is one of “tomorrow’s people,” a group whose missing or ruined body parts are being replaced by devices embedded in their nervous systems that respond to commands from their brains. The machines they use are called neural prostheses or—as scientists have become more comfortable with a term made popular by science fiction writers—bionics. Eric Schremp, who has been a quadriplegic since he shattered his neck during a swimming pool dive in 1992, now has an electronic device under his skin that lets him move his fingers to grip a fork. Jo Ann Lewis, a blind woman, can see the shapes of trees with the help of a tiny camera that communicates with her optic nerve. And Tammy Kenny can speak to her 18-month-old son, Aiden, and he can reply, because the boy, born deaf, has 22 electrodes inside his ear that change sounds picked up by a microphone into signals his auditory nerve can understand...

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
March 22, 2017 - 10:18am
So in Star Frontiers, or Gamma World or Alternity:

Bionics would be the field of prosthetics -- to replace damaged organs and limbs -- with electronic/mechanical devices that duplicate what was lost due to wounds or diseases. It might include some enhanced capabilities, but that is not the goal.

Chris Donovan's recent posting about bionics: “The Million Credit Man/Yazarian/Vrusk/etc.: Bionics in the Frontier,”

most closely follows that idea.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
March 22, 2017 - 10:23am
Sci Fi cybernetics would be more like Robo Cop, the Universal Soldier, Star Trek's borg.

Instead of replacing damaged tissue with a prosthetic that mimics real life, cybernetics is an effort to "improve on the species" or even replace the species.

The Sathar use this technology to create their attack creatures. The UPF tries to use it in a more benign way to suppliment its artificial intelligence technology.

But there would be the "Shadow Run" class of people who want cybernetic/bionics to do more nefarious things or just to be "better" than their normal Frontier citizens. They'd view the "blending of the organic and the synthetic" to be an ideal way to cheat the degradation of old age and death.
Joe Cabadas