Robotics Overview

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In modern times, there presently stand a plethora of complex automated machines intended to fulfill a vast variety of goals. Over the some five hundred years of history in computing and robotics, Humanity has refined it successfully into a science unlike any other. After reaching its pinnacle in the late 2300s, countless designs were simply lost to the test of time. Many of the most prominent robotics today owe their own image to those lost and now obsolete. This page revolves around the specific recurring designs and history of both synthetics and generalized robotics.

IPCs

The “IPC,” or Integrated Positronic Chassis came to fruition as a cheap and highly dexterous means of commercialized smart androids. Not bound by laws, IPCs operate in many ways independent of synthetic advancements and have many unique traits to separate them from the more varied lawed designs.

More information on IPCs can be found here.

Bound Synthetics

Bound synthetics differ in shape, size and function drastically contrarily to the newly invented integrated positronic chassis. Being lawbound entails a much greater degree of trust placed in the synthetic’s operations, and thus they are granted vital roles across the board. Lower priced synthetics can often be seen as small, tiny maintenance robots while more expensive ones can reach larger, more intricate shapes and sizes and carry a vast assortment of responsibilities. Here are some examples of relevant designs, and their histories.

More information on general synthetics can be found here.

Goliath-type Earthmovers

Creation: 2364

A diagram of an immense Goliath-type excavation synthetic, used for heavy-duty landscaping and demolition work.

A technological marvel, the Goliath-Type “Earthmovers” are a long-lived series of mainly tripedal excavation robots meant to quickly displace hundreds of tons of material at a time. These twelve-meter tall powerhouses are mostly used for mining, landscaping and demolition duties and see extensive usage by planetside officials to carry out extraordinary works. Some of these Goliath-types have been converted into museum pieces in the dozens across the Alliance while the vast majority have ended up being scrapped. Several thousand of these occupy a portion of Mars’ “Metal Dunes,” discontinued due to their immense handling costs and simply tossed away because of the effort required to fully scrap them. Today they are sparsely seen in working order and remain relics of the past.

Automated Combine Refinery striders (A.C.R.)

Creation: 2299

It is easy to forget that with true automation comes the complete lack of need for Humanity in many once-essential lines of work. One of the most important of these, on Earth at least, would be the introduction of a synthetic workforce to assist in food production. Enter the Automated Combine Refinery units, affectionately referred to as the A.C.R. by its users. These are assemblies of several synthetics working wirelessly in unison to carry out the complete process of harvesting and refining crops in hydroponics fields. They are tall, thin but sturdy quadrupeds able to delicately and quickly control the growth and distribution of conflicting crops to various facilities without harming the yield whatsoever. Units like these are generally symbols of societal progression in any given circumstance, with simplistic and cheap versions spreading like wildfire in the Frontier worlds.

P.E.M.A.A. (Precision Electronic Medical Assistance Android)

Creation: 2401

Precision is a necessity in the operating room, and robots are quite precise. The usage of robots in surgical fields rose in the 2300’s when more exact and comprehensive ways of motion could be explored by continuously advancing servos and joint motors. One of the final designs of multi-purpose surgical robots was the P.E.M.A-A (Precision Electronic Medical Assistance Android), later becoming a frequent sight in hospitals across the Alliance. These units were known for their quirky personality modules, cited to assist with bedside manner more than anything else. They are effective at their true purpose - precision surgical assistance - to such a degree that no successor model has yet been made since.

Simple Robotics

Simplistic robotic fields generally cover things like mechs, exosuits, RIGs and exoskeletons or any sort of powered, piloted mechatronic assistance. These are far from simplistic whatsoever, but the term was coined to match the level of intelligence of these assisted robotics in comparison to smarter synthetics.

RIGs

H.N.I.S. (Hazard Neutralization and Interdiction Hardsuit)

Hazard.png Creation: 2425

Designed to be a cheap alternative to much larger and more intricate mechs that populated the majority of NanoTrasen’s security forces, the H.N.I.S. was conceived in 2425. The suits were renowned for their ease of use and relatively straightforward interfaces permitting the most untrained security personnel to achieve military grades of protection with cutting edge resistance to any environment. Very quickly were these models discontinued due to rampant malfunctions and operational dangers, but the ones that exist to this day are frequently placed in heavy armories or secure areas for usage by NanoTrasen authorities when the time comes to eliminate really, really big hazards.

Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals “Rescue” Response Hardsuit

Rescue.png Creation: 2451

The latest in a long line of highly mobile and resistant medical response hardsuits, the “Rescue” suit is the vague name given to the most successful series of hardsuits produced by Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals. With a modest price tag and the incredible ability to carry hundreds of pounds lifesaving equipment on the move, these suits would go on to be found widespread throughout Human space. They would be used in excess in all possible environments, from underwater rescues to saving lives in hard vacuum.

Model 551 “Sheridan” Sol Military Hardsuit

Military.png Creation: 2441

The Sol Navy’s model of the M551 Military Hardsuit, manufactured by Necropolis Industries in 2441, is the child of decades of experience and knowledge. Following in the footsteps of many previous hardsuits utilized by the Sol Navy, especially the Sol Marines, this hardsuit has exceptional protection against nearly any form of damage. Renowned for its reliability, it is relatively rare for it to have weapons mounted to it, being considered “merely an additional failure point,” by the design competition that produced it. The Navalized version is modified especially for use in vacuums and space combat.

Robotics History

Exosuit and RIG History

The rise of Human robotics in the late 21st century would lay the groundwork for much more than a definitive synthetic “workforce.” Entire fields would now owe their immense growth to the exploitation of smart mechatronics throughout the years, with technological marvels such as exosuits and mechanically assisted labor becoming a common sight in daily life. With this came the advent of the first true powered exoskeletons in 1992. These were tiny, form-fitting and focused on utility and usage in prolonged heavy lifting, with short battery life and many dangerous operational hazards. The usefulness of these powered tools was very apparent, and those involved quickly distributed and saw frequent updates to the utility and safety of their products. As time went on, the designs improved. Exoskeletons began to more closely resemble small vehicles in 1994, when the private military company Samuel’s Grey Feathers fielded the first true “exosuits” in Iran against Soviet troops. Known as the CES (Combat Exoskeleton Suits), they were initially produced in small numbers due to cost. Their fielding in combat set a new standard of warfare, with infantry now blurring the line between what is and is not an armored vehicle. From the CES, a myriad of new designs would form and it is seen as the precursor to the modern RIG.

One of these designs were the original heavy lifting industrial units of the early 2040’s, more akin to cars that operate as suits with the ability to effortlessly move several tons of whatever would fit in its clamps at a time. These were the precursors to the now widespread “APLU” units, and their function was much the same. Simple high-end moving work was all they were built for, and little has changed in their designs since. Another is what is known as the OMNI-SAAS, the omni-environment self-sealing automatic assistance suit. Designed in the early 2050’s, it was designed for absolute protection against the elements and compatibility with any environment on Earth. Its design was praised by explorers and the military alike for its incredibly robust nature, capable of wading effortlessly through extreme water pressure or standing on the very edge of a molten lava flow. More specialized exosuit designs would crop up in the years to follow, from pressurized firefighting suits to swift and effective medical exoskeletons.

In 2259, the now Zavodskoi Interstellar would find itself riding on the wave of success from the first true RIG - built for combat by their own hands. Expensive and unwieldy, these were hardly efficient in any way, however they set in stone a new standard for vacuum-proof exosuits. These were wholly retractable with a basic skeleton to every limb with a central control unit on the operator’s back capable of extending and sealing armor tightly over their body at will. These would allow for industrial-grade strength and durability with all the necessities one could possibly want from such a device, from integrated medical equipment, to leaping actuators or even high-caliber weaponry.

Mech History

In a related field was mechanized armor meeting an intimidating rise with the assistance of these developments. In 1997, Samuel’s Grey Feathers fielded the all-terrain bipedal tank known as the M5 Highlander armed with a prototype laser cannon. This was hugely expensive, but extremely mobile and capable of surpassing near any obstacle that a typical tank could not. With their introduction came an entirely new arms race - this time, for enormous mecha constructs. These would develop much slower than their exoskeleton counterparts, namely due to material and time constraints heavily limiting what could truly be done at the larger scales. Normal metals and composites could not stand the forces exerted by such immense units until 2180, where the first true combat mech labelled the “Skirmisher” was fielded in the thousands to supplement armored divisions of the young Sol Alliance.

The Skirmisher was an eight-meter tall bipedal battlemech wielding two large laser cannons on each arm and an immense ballistic rifle atop its right shoulder. Its unique digitigrade legs eased the majority of the stresses the lower body would experience in a full sprint, permitting its construction after the most recent advancements in material technology. It was loud, large, and incredibly heavy - permitting it to travel over most any terrain no matter the ambient condition. The development sent shockwaves once more throughout military strategy, with yet another powerful weapon able to see use in the field. Still, many issues remained with the Skirmisher’s design - its immense profile served to only limit it, as lower profile armored vehicles could easily land consistent and hard-hitting shots no matter where they made contact. As a result, the change in warfare posed by the Skirmisher would be a matter of pedantics, as the tracked armored vehicle would almost always be comparable and cheaper in a traditional conflict.

Much more compact examples would appear in the 2300’s, and with the rise of synthetics came the rise of even more advanced mechs. The iconic “Durand” would first be designed by Hephaestus Industries in 2395, followed shortly by the “Gygax” designs in 2405. These two designs became staples of how far exosuits had progressed, with incredibly accurate movements and automatic terrain adjustments to maintain high speeds for hours at a time under normal circumstances. They would be employed mainly by corporate security, with much larger mechs akin to the Skirmisher still seeing service in the militaries of the Orion Spur. Building off of these were designs like the Dominian “Warhorn” mech, another bipedal vehicle first encountered in 2457. Standing at 10 feet tall and capable of wielding abnormally large weaponry for its size, it rarely sees use outside of the most elite shock units like those of Task Unit Spear.

Combat Robotics

Overview

In the modern age, artificial intelligences have grown to become a universal presence among even the most niche in militaristic fields. Where there are interstellar empires, there are robotic, intelligent bounds that oversee and assist with a wide array of fast-paced and demanding routines. From tactical data analysis on a galactic scale to battlefield weapons control systems, little in warfare finds its way without some form of automation. In a more independent sense, individual combat robots have seen prolific use in history and have rapidly lost traction in recent years. Special materials, expensive commodities, and extensive labor used to fabricate and maintain complex individual combat chassis continue to dwindle, leaving them best utilized for high-end automated defense for only the most prized assets. Despite the decline, combat robotics had provided massive sway during the Interstellar War, nearly putting an end to what would now become the strong Frontier Alliance.

Most, if not all excluding the obvious (such as the Jargon Federation or the Empire of Dominia) star-faring entities utilize central intelligences of varying complexity to control internal ship systems, with weapons being of note here specifically. Space combat can sometimes be extremely taxing on organics mentally and physically. The usage of central intelligences to control weapons systems across vessels in this manner to render organic input obsolete won’t be covered here.

Traditional independent combat robots themselves, while expensive and difficult to maintain, are still well within the reach of megacorporate players such as NanoTrasen or Hephaestus Industries. With their ability to field these dangerous weapons posing a constant threat to governments such as the Sol Alliance, the construction of robots purpose-built to wage war are heavily regulated. In 2458, the Republic of Biesel attempted to bypass this heavy regulation, and the results were a year-long blockade from an Alliance fleet led by the 33rd fleet’s Admiral Frost. The events related to that are covered here.

The advent of the positronic brain is by no means budging the foundation of combat robotics, however their ability to sustain themselves indefinitely by their afforded rights in Tau Ceti poses an interesting favorable dynamic. It is suspected that IPCs remain a secret tool of power to the Republic of Biesel, with the ability for megacorporations to provide themselves with a relatively self-sustaining robotic military presence in the form of free positronics. These waters have long been tested by Hephaestus Industries and Terraneus Diagnostics, who secretly (but pretty obviously) use military-grade positronic chassis to quite some success since the brain’s creation. Figures such as the Hunter-Killer chassis secretly used by the Synthetic Liberation Front and taken from Hephaestus are good examples of these and their functions. Whether or not the megacorporations intend to maliciously raise a force of IPCs is unknown.

History

The original combat applications of robots in the Jargon Federation hundreds of years ago have long since been forgotten, all traces of them mostly intentionally eradicated by the elite over time. However, in human terms, simple robotic creations have existed for as long as four centuries. They span back to the early 1990s -- when the first true industrial “exoskeletons” first came to be. The groundwork laid here would later be utilized in the creation of robots of all shapes and sizes -- but during the rise of synthetics in the late 23rd century, a horrible twist of events would occur during the Interstellar War.

What was once seen as a grand tool for the industrialization of Mankind now became one of their most fearsome weapons. Combat robots in their first true iteration appeared in the beginning portion of the Interstellar War, independent chassis capable of unleashing destruction in conventional warfare unseen. Mostly automated, these complex robots were unleashed by the Sol Alliance against Coalition forces. Were the war itself fought in any traditional way, the Coalition would have seen itself wiped out. The robots served undefeated in direct engagements, and the adoption of nonstandard battle techniques came to be the Coalition’s saving grace. The damage caused by the synthetics utilized by Alliance forces however is something largely disregarded and in some cases outright forgotten. Now, little remains of the mechanical threats of the past. Unreliable records state that the robots of old such as an infamous “terror-series” line utilized biological and atmospheric weaponry, while others say that weapons of mass destruction were seen as “acceptable measures” by unmonitored war-machines.

Without morality, brutally efficient and carrying out whatever purpose they were designed to fulfill, what is certain now that the war is long over is a fear of these synthetics from appearing once more.