Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

All you need to know about spore technology

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Spore tech is most notorious for its military uses (q.v.), but is much more common in ordinary industry or research. It is frequently used where environments are hazardous and the risk that an individual unit or individual will be destroyed is high. Extreme heat, particle radiation, or strong kinetic energy such as an orbit within a planetary ring system or placement in a stormy atmosphere or hydrosphere are just a few examples of such environments. Spore tech is also used when a large number of bots, neogens or vecs is needed in very short order; in such cases they are “seeded” in large numbers into the appropriate environment. The resulting units usually produce additional spores when they are mature, usually with a very short generation time. The effect of sporetech in any case is that the population is either stable in difficult circumstances or else grows and spreads rapidly from a small number of initial units, according to the design of whoever deployed the devices in the first place.

A “spore” is a biotech, dry nanotech, or syntech device (more rarely, a picotech or femtotech device) that is extremely small but is capable of “growing” into a full sized bot, vec or neogen. The result may be anything from the equivalent of a simple plant or semi-sentient machine to a sentient but non-sophont bot or organism or even a full fledged person. Most spores preserve the programming or (if applicable) the mind-state of the parent model. Spores are usually as small as the local technology allows, and are extremely resistant to whatever hazards the spore-bearing unit is most likely to encounter. Spores with extra protective layers and a significant “start-up” package of materials are sometimes called seeds instead. If the spores or seeds receive the proper signal (or, in some cases, cease to receive such a signal) and are in contact with a suitable substrate, they will begin to grow a new unit. In the case of nanotech spores, the developing body will search for appropriate elements, either by developing a “larval” form and moving about or by growing extensions resembling fungal hyphae, or by growing some other collecting and or harvesting device. Energy for continued growth is gathered in a variety of ways appropriate to the environment: anything from solar panels to generators that exploit movement in the atmosphere or hydrosphere, tether tech for orbits around planets with magnetic fields, to whatever else may be appropriate. Once it has grown large enough, a spore device may even grow/assemble a small fusion plant. The developing body may be camouflaged (in the case of military or surveillance spore bots) or may be otherwise protected from hostile beings or a hostile environment until it is fully developed. The pace of growth varies considerably according to the purposes of the designers. Some spores are designed to develop rapidly, either so that they can to accomplish a task quickly or so that they can overwhelm an extremely unfavourable environment or some form of sophont opposition. Others may “lurk” half-developed until an appropriate time and then take action, sometimes en masse.

Spore technology is widely used in the initial stages of terraforming, and of course biotech spore technology is essential in the later stages. It is also used in the more hazardous sorts of mining operations on rocky bodies. Sporetech balloon devices are used to harvest elements and compounds from the more turbulent gas giants. A sporetech swarm of synsects is often used to gather information where the mortality rate for individual units is high. Security devices often use sporetech, since if somehow an intruder destroys the original units their descendants will survive to report whatever they have recorded and possibly to take other appropriate action.

Spore tech release in orbit

Spore tech release in orbit

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Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

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