Sunday, April 27, 2014

Technology in Warhammer 40,000. 4: Control Systems

As might be expected, the control systems in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe contains a blend of systems ranging from the advanced to the familiar.

Rogue Trader describe 4 readily available controls systems, the first category of which is "archaic" -- at least in relative terms. However, this is the obvious one: levers, buttons, visual display units and analogue computers.

Then it gets interesting. The next one is "Pure Crystal Technology". These are described as stacks of atomic chains, presumably some kind of quantum computation (my interpretation there). Visually, they are large black slabs, recessed in to desks, or floating on a suspensor web on the command deck of a starship. They could be activated by voice, touch, or coded transmission. Either way, its pretty much a graphic user interface for the operator to control heaps of systems with.

The next one is "Holographic". This is exactly what it sounds like. A projection device encloses the user and wraps around like a three dimensional video screen. With a flick of a hand, the user activates engines or diverts power from life control systems across vast distances.

The final one is "Mind Impulse". This is exactly what it says on the tin as well, but correspondingly rare. The most common type of this is a dreadnought command system where the remains of a marine is hooked up to a control system where his thoughts activate whatever system (legs, guns, etc.) they wish to do so. The mechanicum use this regularly: with implants hooked up to their minds they could open and close bulk heads at will in their foundries. Or, rarer still: a headband that detects the so-called brain waves of the user and acts accordingly. Considerable training required!

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