Deus Ex: Human Revolution – A Short Look at the Tech

Hello everyone! I’m writing here from Scotland after a long arduous journey which was characterized by an unfortunate lack of both compatible electrical outlets and internet. Sorry for the delay! Here’s my final look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a quick overview of the technology of the game’s world:

Augmented Reality

Think about what wouldn't be in this image if you were looking at the scene yourself- what information do you think you would find useful?

I’ve talked about augmented reality before, and how excited I am by this technology, but it wasn’t until I played Human Revolution that I got to see it worked out in a fairly realistic way. In the world of Deus Ex where you can pay to have certain body parts replaced with more effective mechanical ones, you can get your hands on an Eye-Know Retinal Prosthesis, an implant that interfaces with other brain implants and computers to impose important information and images onto the users’ vision. While I’ve seen actual projects in the works to design a contact lens that does basically the same thing without requiring surgery, the retinal prosthesis that attaches directly to the optic nerve and retina has the advantage that it can’t be dislodged accidentally, and has the potential for a better image without the need of an external power source.

In the game, this implant gives Adam typical video game information; a health bar,

The Eye-Know Retinal Prosthesis doesn't actually replace the eye-ball, but this is the image given for the augmentation.

weapons selection, and other things that you need to play the game. However, it also shows a miniature map with a top-down view of his surroundings, information readouts on locations, and computer-generated highlights of people, doors, and other interactive objects. While I don’t see much practical use for a health bar, being able to see live GPS directions, google-goggle-type readouts about movie times and menus, and other useful stuff like that would be enough for me to go under the knife for this augmentation.

Glass-Shield Cloaking System

Deus Ex Human Revolution Glass Shield Cloaking SystemCloaking is cool and all, but like I said in this post, it will help marines and commandos more than it would help a spaceship. I explained in my post that one method for rendering an object invisible was to use metamaterials to create electromagnetic fields that bend light around it. Well, in the world of Deus Ex, Adam Jenson has had threads of these materials embedded in his skin. The result? A personal cloaking device, known as the Glass-Sheild Cloaking System.

While it’s a long way from being practical in our own world, Deus Ex’s version isn’t too shabby, and given the time and resources, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar system pop up within the next several years (or maybe it has already… it’s not like we could see it!)

Combat Nano-Ceramic Blades

Deus Ex Human Revolution Combat Nano-ceramic BladeOk, I admit it, this one isn’t really practical at all, and as far as I know, there are no research and development teams bent on inserting retractable swords into the arms of soldiers and secret agents- but dang is it cool! The blade itself (as far as I can gather, the game has surprisingly little notation on the weapon other than “press ‘E’ to perform a takedown attack!”), is of a ceramic material that is both lighter and stronger than steel, with an edge sharpened to the nano-scale. If such a blade existed, it could easily carve through most materials with little resistance, and certainly prove as deadly a close-quarters weapon in real life as it is in the game.

But like I said, this is not necessarily practical. Bullets do the job swords used to do nowadays.

deus ex augmented reality spoof
Yeah, this is probably closer to what we would get in our version...

Anyway, that’s a short list of a few technologies that appealed to me personally, and there’s far more from where that came from. If you want to take a look at the kinds of tech that are built into to world, the best way is to pick up the game for console or PC! It’s a lot a fun, and a great example of both good writing and excellent worldbuilding in a science fiction universe!

Melissa will be picking up my post next week since I’ll be making the long trip back to the States, but until then, what cybernetics could you see yourself getting, if they were available? Super-strong arms and legs? Extra memory banks so you can remember where you parked your car at the mall? Let me know in the comments below!