Replacement Body Part
- The earliest forms of artificial replacement body parts were prosthetics... Later high technology replacements can actually recreate or replace the real thing.
Library Data Referral Tree
There are four major classes of RBPs:
- Bionics are mechanical body parts that are individually custom-designed replacements, with greater functionality than the original body part. Bionics are the most expensive type of replacement body part, available at TL-9+. Note that bionics also refers to a science concerned with applying data about the functioning of biological systems to solve engineering problems. The term cyborg is sometimes applied to a person with bionics.
- Cloning involves taking one or more cells from the donor and growing a replacement body part (not an entire clone) in an artificial womb. By TL-13, new body parts of any kind can be selectively cloned from the DNA of any body cell. Once grown, the new part is surgically attached to the donor. Cloning costs about the same as regrowth during the growing period, but surgical re-attachment of the new part is more expensive than any of the other options.
- Regrowth is a method of replacing body parts involving stimulating the body to regrow its missing part. At TL-9, missing limbs can be regrown, and at higher tech levels damaged non-vital organs can be regrown in place. Regrowth is more expensive (and time-consuming) than prosthetics, but is generally cheaper than cloning and bionics.
- Prosthetics are mechanical body parts that are mass-produced, functional replacements. They are surgically installed by a medical professional, and are the most economical type of replacement body parts, available at TL-9+.
At the earliest tech levels, all sophonts, with the exception of Hivers, devise ways of replacing limbs lost to either accident or violence with simple prosthetics. These devices are minimally helpful until TL-9 at which time they can come close to restoring the original limb’s functionality. By TL-12, it is possible to design robotic limbs, and even internal organs, that have capabilities superior to the original body part, classifying the replacements as bionic rather than prosthetic.
By TL-9 most sophonts also pursue parallel biological technology that enables regrowth or cloning of simple organs and limbs. The exceptions to this were the Vilani, who did not have an advanced medical technology until their contact with the Solomani. At TL-11 the Vilani were still making relatively crude prosthetics to replace limbs, and had no concept of replacing or even transplanting organs.
At early tech levels, a newly generated or cloned body part takes many weeks of growth and therapy to be useful. But by TL-13 these are rapid procedures with few drawbacks. By this tech level, using a bionic or prosthetic is a matter of personal choice.
Sophonts who have had a significant amount of their body parts replaced by prosthetics or bionics are considered to be cyborgs. While there is no legal definition for a cyborg, there are social implications to the label, and different societies and cultures may treat cyborgs as lower-class citizens or even as machines. In the Third Imperium, there is a strong stigma against obvious bionics, especially if they are deemed to have been installed voluntarily for personal enhancement rather than to repair injury. In the Solomani Confederation, a popular quasi-religious Society for the Sovereignty of Man Over Machine has a disdainful reaction to Humans with mechanical parts. In the Sword Worlds, anyone with even a crude prosthetic is treated as a social outcast.
Despite the stigma associated with them, all branches of the Imperial military services are known to use bionics to augment service members who are wounded in combat, both as an economic expedience and to enhance their capabilities. Upon leaving the service, some members choose to have their bionics replaced, and some do not. 
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