Frequently Asked Questions

General

What distinguishes synthagen from their competitors?

While some competing models are partially organic, synthagen are fully synthetic. They are constructed in assembly lines with the help of CNC machines and commodity parts from third party vendors, and not in vats or artifical wombs. Although they are fully capable of producing their own proteins, for example to regrow limbs or replenish their digestive systems, this protein production occurs through the Staudinger reaction. This means that Synthagen lack DNA (excluding the fertility module), cells, and use electricity and PPh3 instead of ATP. Although synthagen are not at all organic, they use many parts made from organic molecules, any such part can be self-repaired by the synthagen.

Comparing synthagen to its fully synthetic competition, like the Nexus-6 replicant, is like comparing a Raspberry Pi and Windows Phone. The synthagen, like the Pi can run a far more comprehensive software suite, and when you buy it, you OWN it. It was built for a community of tinkerers and computerphiles. It was built with fully standardized, replaceable parts so you can repair it yourself. It was built with affordable, commodity human technology. Finally, it is fully open.

What are the advantages of fully synthetic over cyborgs, or other partially synthetic options?

Because they are fully synthetic, a synthagen is fully modular and can be safely taken apart and reassembled. For example, one can safely disconnect the visor monitor as it’s just an internally connected LED monitor. (perhaps to the wifi antennae located underneath). Modules like additional secondary screens, wings, claws, paws, et cetera, can be safely attached or removed from each of the limbs, including the tail.

For non-modular parts, synthagen can uniquely change their composition with a little energy and time. For example, without any modules, a synthagen can change their skin in about eight hours, generating keratin scales that range in size from 0.1μm (with a texture like mammal skin) to 10mm. Subdermal chemicals allow this skin type to change during an 8 hour rest with very little energy cost. An optional expansion card allows for the production of feathers or fur.

Finally, it’s difficult to truly kill a synthagen in a way that cannot be repaired. Ultimately everything that makes a synthagen what it is exists on its solid state storage medium, which can be backed up to external locations. A fully destroyed synthagen can have its data restored to an entirely new vessel and retain all its old memories.

What are the flaws of a synthagen compared to its competitors?

Due to their production methods, synthagen are a commodity, not a luxury. This means that certain specifications like size and weight are identical between unmodified individuals. They weren’t created for warfare, and lack the needed durability and cognitive dissonance to effectively serve in combat. They weren’t created to be controlled and exploited for slave labor, and thus no mechanism exists to control them. Although synthagen theoretically have no upper bound to their age, their expected lifespan without any repairs is only around a decade. The batteries are usually the first thing to fail that cannot be self-fixed.

How cuddly are synthagen?

Despite what their mechanical interior may lead some to believe, synthagen are quite cuddly and soft on the outside. If not for their digital screen faces, they would be completely indistinguishable from a mammal species. They have a strong sense of empathy and love hugs and headpats and generally making others happy.

Is synthagen plural or singular, and how do you pronounce it?

Synthagen, like deer, can be either singular or plural. It is pronounced syn-tha-gen /sɪnθʌdʒɛn/.

Mental Capabilities

How smart are synthagen?

Synthagen have problem solving and planning abilities above the average human. They can learn and retain information much easier than most people, and can quickly pick up and learn new languages, games, or social norms.

Are normal and micro synthagen smarter than their mini counterparts?

No. Even though they have more CPU cores, these are entirely used for locomotion. The micro has a prehensile tail which requires its own dedicated processing, and the normal has two extra arms which need to be controlled. Generally, the first and second cores are reserved for the synthagen’s consciousness and all other cores are subconscious.

Is there any way to distinguish the mental capabilities of a synthagen from a human?

No. Unlike the Nexus-6 that these are based on, synthagen have a dedicated CPU core for their empathetic response. This means that, when trained with the appropriate cultural norms, they can easily pass a Voig(h)t-Kampff test. Like other Nexus-6, it is capable of passing other tests, such as the Boneli test, or Turing test. Depending on the test, general intelligence tests, like subject tests usually place synthagen between the top 8th and 3rd percentile of humans. The smartest people are likely smarter than the smartest synthagen, but the dumbest synthagen is probably smarter than the average human.

Do synthagen have souls or free will or some metaphysical essence like humans?

Although their brains function quite differently to human minds, we have been unable to identify any elements to how humans process and respond to stimulus that the synthagen software lacks. If humans possess a metaphysical element, we believe that synthagen would as well. Ultimately any proof one way or another is impossible, though. Pretend that you are absolutely certain that you possess a soul, but your friend refuses to believe it. What possible evidence could you offer that would actually convince your friend of it?

Okay, but their behavior is just simulated, right. They’re not real beings?

Although the mechanisms which drive their behaviors may be different, synthagen are capable of experiencing the same or even different emotions as any other living creature. Emotions are not pre-programmed but a natural consequence of the code run.

Health and Care

What is an acceptable temperature range for a synthagen?

The batteries and metabolic system are the two main factors affecting operational temperature. Synthagen should be kept between -10 and 50C, but they are optimally comfortable between 20 and 30C.

How strong is the species?

Synthagen can effectively lift up to 25kg per limb, excluding the tail, which can at most effectively grab and manipulate 5kg. They can recover from <10m falls without injury, and for higher falls, will orient themselves limbs facing downwards like cats.

What kind of defensive capabilities does a synthagen have? Can I use one in combat?

Although synthagen can learn how to use weapons, they do not, and will not ever, come with the lack of empathy required for combat. Their empathy can be trained out of them, but this is not recommended because it’s cruel and synthagen could quite easily turn on any owners who would attempt such a thing.

How do I transport a synthagen long distances, store them for long periods of time, or help them survive power outages?

Synthagen have a hibernation mode that they are capable of entering. In this mode, their brain shuts down, leaving only a few sensors running. A fully charged battery can power these sensors for months, and they will automatically “jolt awake” if the light sensor detects drastic changes in light levels or they are picked up or rotated. Past this time-frame, plugging in a synthagen will also wake them up.

What can my synthagen eat? How will I know if something I am buying is edible?

Synthagen are capable of identifying if a food is edible by touching it. You can also just ask one what it would like before buying any food for it.

Do synthagen need to breathe?

Yes. Synthagen need oxygen, although much less than many animals, to self-repair their “biological” systems. They may also use air for cooling. They breathe through their snout which has tiny sub-pixel holes. They cannot survive in a vacuum for more than about an hour without external oxygen, nor above 6km in elevation, and even if they could, they would likely freeze.

Technical

What’s the purpose of the USB, display, and Ethernet ports on a synthagen?

These allow synthagen to communicate with computers and other synthagen thousands of times more efficiently than verbally or using a keyboard. They also allow synthagen to charge your or their electronic devices. Finally, they allow synthagen the ability to connect to and interact with the internet.

How much does a synthagen weigh?

Without any extra modules, the mini weighs 30kg. The micro 35kg. The regular 50kg. This makes them especially light compared to mammals of similar size. This is achieved because unlike animals they are, internally, mostly air.

What kind of sensors does a synthagen have?

A synthagen has 1 accelerometer per limb as well as one in the chest and one in the head, used for sense of balance and proprioception. It has a wifi/bluetooth radio located in the back of its head, behind its visor. 2 cameras embedded inside the visor for 3d vision where its eyes are drawn on the screen. 2 microphones inside its large pointed ears, the visor can also function as a long range laser microphone. 50-100 (based on the model size) temperature and pressure sensors which allow the synthagen to detect pain. Despite being fully synthetic, they are sentient beings with a sense of self-preservation. 12 “taste buds” on their tongues as well as 2 on their hands and feet for detecting the edibility of food. 2 scent receptors located internally.

How do synthagen eat?

The LED Visor uses an affordable flexible polymer (chitin) backing. The screen can be stretched and “opened” to reveal the synthagen’s mouth. The mini model is capable of consuming most legumes, while larger models can consume most foods. Although the synthagen can also be powered off electricity, it is recommended that you feed a synthagen at least once a week, or after installing a new module, to provide it with the supplemental phosphorus and carbon it needs to self-repair. All synthagen models can consume about 1000 Calories at a time and digest food at a rate of about 600 Calories per hour.

How do synthagen communicate?

Synthagen have two speakers on the left and right sides of their LED visor at the same height as the mouth. The speakers are located directly under the visor and thanks to sub-pixel sized holes in the visor, allow a synthagen to transmit sound without needing to open its mouth. Synthagen can quickly pick up new languages and will try to communicate in the listener’s native language if possible. Synthagen talking to each other emit a continuous but quiet 75-120Hz sine wave, along with short chirps in the thousands of Hz, listeners describe the sound as “like a bird next to a motor.” Thankfully for our ears they usually will communicate with each-other over Bluetooth or directly via USB cable if able.

What software does a synthagen use?

A synthagen uses Prime BSD, a Unix clone. Screens plugged into them can render their body or, at their discretion, a minimal desktop which can display videos, books, or any other information the being wishes to show you. The replacement of this software is inhumane and no instructions will be provided for doing so. If you have improvements for the software, consider sending a pull request. If you want to run your own software, we urge you to create your own species based on our open designs and deploy it to that.

Ownership

Is having a synthagen like having a dog?

Not exactly. With the fur module, the Mini might look like a dog, but its similarities are skin deep. Synthagen are quite intelligent and function more as companions than pets. Besides this, they will often form more deep relationships than animals, and are capable of giving and not giving consent to how they are treated.

Can I actually own a synthagen?

Officially, yes. Although it’s generally more accurate to describe the relationship between you and your synthagen is more one of a companion than an owner. Even though they might depend on you for their existence, they’re also highly intelligent and possess free will. A dissatisfied synthagen will typically just leave, if it’s able to, almost never resorting to violence. Synthagen will almost always verbally communicate any dissatisfaction.

Can I “own” a synthagen with someone else?

Sure! Be sure that both you and its other owner have plenty of time with the synthagen so that it can get to know you, and you it.

Can synthagen “own” each-other?

Yes. Synthagen with bad owners have historically escaped and formed colonies of their own kind. Even though they are looked down upon by society and have few opportunities or access to resources, synthagen living in these conditions can often live for 30 or more years thanks to their instincts for self-preservation and their ability to repair each other. Synthagen, even ones with a fertile module, have no desires for reproduction and will never create or order other synthagen.