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Wetware CPU

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Karan's not a Spaceship Girl, but she does come very close.

"PAIs tend to be able to present more natural user interfaces than the expert systems they compete with, tending to be at least vaguely self-aware, and much more responsive to and on emotional levels. In particular, niche market and custom built models are limited only by legislation requiring that entities surpassing a specified set of standardized metrics cannot be considered property, and must be registered as either custom children or custom dependent employees. While the difference is clear for low end models, standards aside, most will agree that the line between a high end PAI and a designer cyborg human is exceptionally blurry."

Digital processing technology has come a long way from the days of mechanical relays. Transistors, those magical little things that make modern computers tick, have gotten so small we can measure their size in individual atoms — small enough that we can cram a lot of them even in devices that fit in the palm of your hand. But despite our best advances, Father Science's thinking machines are still leagues behind those of Mother Nature. Even as flash memory and transistor technologies are close to reaching their absolute limit, the human brain still casually humiliates our most cutting-edge devices with its immunity to EMPs, its absurdly low 20 watt power consumption and its storage space large enough to hold the entire internet. But what if we told you there's a way to take a shortcut past the constraints of electronic computing and hold unimaginable processing power at your fingertips? You can do all of that and more with the Wetware CPU... at least as far as Science Fiction is concerned.

Wetware refers to a biological system. A Wetware CPU is the brain and nervous system of living beingsnote  used to power non-organic machinery. In speculative fiction settings, particularly those where true artificial intelligence either doesn't exist or is shunned, it's sometimes the case that the brains of living beings, sapient or not, will be incorporated into machines and used for processing or command and control purposes. It varies whether the rest of bodies are retained, or how willing the beings in question are. When used on unwilling subjects, it may be an element of Sci-Fi Horror, particularly Body Horror or And I Must Scream scenarios.

Related to Brain in a Jar, Man in the Machine, and Cyborg Helmsman. Compare Brain/Computer Interface, Living Battery, Unwilling Roboticisation, and Human Resources. Contrast Brain Uploading, where instead of using human "wetware" to run machine software, you use machine hardware to run human "software". Also contrast Wetware Body, where a machine controls an organic body instead of the other way around. Finally, also contrast Tinman Typist, where a machine occupies the workstation of a human instead of the latter being wired into where a machine should be.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion features the Magi, biocomputers whose wetware are modeled after three aspects (as a scientist, as a mother, and as a woman) of their creator Naoko Akagi. The Evas themselves are almost totally wetware. Magi even has a lot of brains inside it, although this was never explained on screen.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Lordgenome's head sealed within a tube and plugged to the computers.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex features this in multiple ways:
    • In episode 2, "Proof of Recklessness: TESTATION", a dead man's cyberbrain was wired into a HAW 206 Tachikoma-style tank. The tank goes berserk, and Section 9 must stop it.
    • The CEO of an organ-cloning facility ended up choosing to keep his brain stored in a miniature, boxy robot rather than moving to a humanoid chassis.
    • In a subversion, an AI-controlled Tachikoma faked having a real brain inside his chassis to distract police from the child they were questioning.
    • To some degree, full-body replacement cyborgs meet this. The only thing that remains of their body is a brain inside a human-shaped chassis. As mentioned by Batou at one point, the bodies they use are largely impersonal objects. He advised the female Major that she should upgrade to a male chassis for improved strength.
    • Still further examples. In one episode when he needs some additional processing power, Ishikawa co-opts the brains of some senior citizens at a pachinko palour. He then rigs the machines to temporarily increase their payouts as recompense.
  • The Artificial Human "Fatimas" of The Five Star Stories are created to serve as living computers for the Humongous Mecha known as Mortar Headds, so their Super Soldier "Headdliner" partners can focus on controlling the mechs' movements & not wory about other stuff like its power supply or balancing.
  • The Zentradi Mobile Fortresses of Macross are each commanded by an ancient Supreme Commander who is integrally fused to the ship.
  • In Outlaw Star Melfina serves as the navigation system of the titular ship. Fortunately she has considerably more freedom than most wetware CPU's and can disconnect from the ship when it isn't in flight.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn , some characters theorise that the NT-D uses a combination of the psychoframe and the pilot as a living (and highly efficient) battlefield processor. It works extremely well, but appears to verge a little too close to Ax-Crazy at times.
  • In the Mahoromatic manga, the Keepers use the brains of "scrapped" cyborgs for facility management. Said brains are still conscious.
  • In Psycho-Pass, the Sibyl system is a network of sociopathic brains.
  • The Boosted Men from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED are considered 'Biological CPUs' rather than personnel. Through experimentation and performance-enhancing drugs, their combat abilities are far superior than their successors the Extended from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. However, this also made them much more psychotic and they require extensive maintenance outside combat and are generally completely non-functional in human society.
  • Battle Angel Alita/Gunnm, being a futuristic cyberpunk depiction of society rife with cyborgs and body enhancement technology of all sorts, has the Brain Incubator, made of the brains of the inhabitants of Tiphares/Zalem harvested when they undergo the initiation ceremony, giving them full citizenship rights - and a brain bio-chip.
  • Betterman has Dual Kinds, who are a mix of this and Living Battery; they both power and control the Neuronoid robots by combining their "neural energy" through the use of a mysterious substance known as Linker Gel. The control systems of both Neuronoids and many of the autonomous mecha in the series play this straighter — the ubiquitous Black Box computer systems all contain one or more harvested brains. Neuronoids in particular originally used multiple human brains, but this practice ceased because the resulting Neuronoids retained enough awareness to become sentient and autonomous, so Mode Warp started using primate, dog, and dolphin brains instead.
  • On the other hand, Betterman's sister series GaoGaiGar entirely Averts this. Although the background information reveals that Volfogg's AI and personality were donated by a deceased secret agent, the creation of Goldymarg shows that this does not involve using the brain itself; rather, the donor's mind is scanned as a baseline, then the scanned brain pattern is modified with programming as necessary. This is done because a 'natural' Super-AI may take years to program and, even after activation, takes six months to mature to the point of being combat ready, and needs to be taught various information manually during this time. Importantly, a 'donated' Super-AI also seems to inherit its donor's loyalties, so it's probably not practical to use an unwilling participant.
  • In Gantz, the titular character is a sort of spherical computer with a comatose, hairless man inside it. Near the end of the manga, some Sufficiently Advanced Aliens claim that the man was just a ordinary human who was cloned to operate the sphere.

    Comic Books 
  • In Sonic the Comic, Dr. Robotnik's plot during the buildup to issue #100 involved connecting Sonic the Hedgehog's allies the Emerald Hill Folk to a machine to form a gigantic wetware CPU.
  • In Tom Strong, there are slave merchants that sell human (and alien) body parts as ship controllers. He mentions humans started doing that in the middle of the twenty-first century.
  • Micronauts (IDW): The Biotrons are incredibly powerful machines, but need to interface with an organic being to unlock the full spectrum of their abilities.
  • Robotman of the Doom Patrol is the brain of a human who underwent a horrendous accident that was transplanted into a robot body to keep him alive. His opinion of this tends to vary from "it's better than being paralyzed/dead" to "maybe it's better than being paralyzed."
  • The Marvel super-villain MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) was originally titled MODOC (Mental Organism Designed Only for Computation) having been created to be the organic computer component necessary for AIM to create the original Cosmic Cube as only an organic mind could do the computations. The Supreme Intelligence of the Kree was originally created for the same purpose by incorporating the brains of the Kree's best scientists but refused and instead took over the Kree Empire.
  • On a lighter note, Spider-Man villain Silvermane, himself a cyborg at the time, was once reduced to a head and then wired to a small toy car for extra mobility.


    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played With in Godzilla vs. Kong: This film's version of Mechagodzilla is supposed to be operated by a human controller through a cybernetic interface. However, when Mechagodzilla is activated, the human operator is rapidly disposed of, and Mechagodzilla goes on a rampage through Hong Kong. It comes out later that Mechagodzilla is actually being controlled by what's left of Ghidora, who was not-quite-completely killed by Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). So Mechagodzilla is in fact being controlled by an organic entity - just not the entity that its builders thought would be in control.
  • Film example that did not come to pass: The original proposal for The Matrix had the machines keep humans in the matrix in order for their brains to act as a great neural network. (Without taking the brains out of their bodies, note: the rest of the film would have been the same as what we got.) This of course makes far more sense than the physics-defying "power generation" explanation given in the completed film, but it was apparently changed because the studio thought the original reason would be too hard for viewers to understand. This explanation for the Matrix survives (in the form of a passing mention) in the Neil Gaiman short story "Goliath," written to promote the movie. Some fans just still pretend that this is in fact the case and that the humans only got a simplified understanding of the situation due to their limited access to information about the machines. In other words, the reverse of Fanon Discontinuity.note 
  • RoboCop was made specifically to compete with the ED-209 in RoboCop (1987), which was fully robotic. The human element of Robocop would allow him to have better judgment. It is successful because the ED-209's AI proves to be... faulty. Ironically, RoboCop turned out to be not so controllable (having a conscience and all) that OCP attempted to heavily condition his replacements in RoboCop 2, leading to a repeat of the ED-209 problem when the persons chosen weren't all that stable to begin with.
  • Hector the cyborg in Saturn 3. Three brains were stacked in a tube full of bubbling water.
  • The aliens from Skyline want human brains for this reason, as far as we can tell.

  • Wolfbane, by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth, has aliens kidnapping suitable humans for this purpose. The human "Components" have their consciousnesses suppressed; when one awakens, plot happens. The novel was published in 1959, possibly making it the Trope Maker.
  • The 1960 story ''The Lady Who Sailed the Soul'' by Cordwainer Smith is another early instance of the trope.
  • In The Ship Who... series, handicapped children are placed in titanium life-support capsules and trained as human computers for starships.
  • The Wild Cards novel Double Solitaire has Dr. Tachyon's Axe-Crazy grandson (in a stolen body) turned over to the Network to become the lobotomized organic processor for a mining machine, in order to to pay off the debts of the guy whose body he swiped.
  • Some of the Berserker stories of Fred Saberhagen had the killing machines attempt to use organic brains to introduce more fuzzy logic into their tactical computers.
  • In the Nightside series, the Collector is served by a small army of robots built with Catgirl features and directed by living cat brains.
  • In Black Legion, Khayon's sister Itzara works as the main hub of Spaceship Girl Anamnesis, along with dozens of artificially grown brains.
  • Conjoiner drives in the Revelation Space universe by Alastair Reynolds always contain a Conjoiner brain, who controls the reaction. Another Conjoiner who almost became one likens the experience to spending your life playing a challenging video game. However, the Conjoiners keep it quiet because they expect other humans to react badly.
  • In the Dean Koontzs Frankenstein tetralogy, Evilutionary Biologist Victor Helios uses one as a secretary named Annunciata. Annunciata finds the experience insanity-inducingly horrific, but is prevented by her programming from defying Victor in any way.
  • M. John Harrison's Light features K-ships, each one a heavily armed starship built around alien technology interfaced with a cybernetically altered human in an amniotic vat. The process of conversion is permanent and more than a little nightmarish, and most of its recipients are children or young teenagers.
  • The space-faring slavers from Vernor Vinge's Tatja Grimms World kidnap people, remove their brains and then fit them to a computer that suppresses their personality without totally trashing their intellect, to form a useful biological computer.
  • The head of Gerald Metaclura is the main computer of the Generation Ship in Mayflies by Kevin O'Donnell.
  • From Otherland, the Other is the brain of a telepathic human infant jacked into a computer and used as its operating system. Further, additional unborn fetal brains were harvested and stuffed in there with it to give it additional "capacity". It's half-insane from the cruelty and deprivation of its existence, and seeks a way to turn against its masters.
  • Dune:
    • Because humanity found out the hard way that AI Is A Crap Shoot, the Orange Catholic Bible states, "Thou shalt not make a machine in the image of a human mind." To pick up the slack, rich elites rely on mentats, who are humans capable of nigh-superhuman powers of mental calculation, essentially turning themselves into organic computers. Paul himself has mentat conditioning.
    • Additionally, the Titans of the Dune prequels are essentially preserved brains in warmech cases.
    • Navigators of the Spacing Guild rely on mental conditioning and tankfuls of spice to essentially turn their minds into prescient navigation computers for their long-range ship that travel the galaxy by folding space.
    • In Frank Herbert's Destination Void, the Voidships are also guided by an OMC - Organic Mental Core (Herbert did despise euphemisms for crimes against humanity, but he could churn them out with the best of them).
  • Larry Niven's short story "Becalmed In Hell" has the brain jar of Eric Donovannote , who was mortally wounded in an accident, installed in a spaceship designed to explore Venus.
    • Niven wrote several other stories featuring either Eric or someone in the same situation; at least one of these involved a philosophical discussion on whether or not they were still "people" (Niven's ultimate answer: they are.).
  • The Science Fiction young reader Soviet novel Экспедиция в преисподнюю ("Expedition into the Underworld"), written by the Strugatsky Brothers under a pseudonym, features these. An evil capitalist businessman uses thousands of these aboard of his ship.
  • In William Shatner's Quest For Tomorrow books, Jim Endicott's biological mother develops a way to link human minds to create the most powerful computer in the galaxy. Her partner (and lover) only known as Delta usurps the technology and uses it to gain power for himself and influence for Earth (by offering to solve any problem the aliens have). Unfortunately, the process of running calculations is not perfect. Every time it is used, thousands of people inexplicably go insane, raping and killing anything around them. Publically, this "madness" is blamed on drugs. However, it turns out that Jim's mother later perfected the process and encoded the information in Jim's DNA (or did she?). This new process has no unpleasant side-effects but requires that the subjects be consciously aware of it and be willing.
    • Just to illustrate how powerful this "computer" is, the novels have a small fleet of human warships defeat an armada of much more advanced alien ships by taking complete control of the ships and using near-perfect tactics.
  • In the Biofab War space opera series by Stephen Ames Berry, written back in the 80s, one of the most feared fates that can befall a person is to be 'brainstripped', to have their brain forcibly used as a CPU for the control system of enormous space battleships called 'mindslavers'.
  • In There and Back Again by Pat Murphy, this is the Resurrectionists' hat. They only do it to clones (and unintelligent animals) for ethical reasons; that doesn't much help the protagonists, however, as nearly all of them are clones of each other...
  • In the universe of the Hyperion Cantos, this is one of several ways to attain AI, through the creation of artificial brains and DNA-based computers (other AIs had created the TechnoCore). Many of these control spacecraft, including The Consul's yacht (that particular AI also has a sense of humor, providing much comic relief). It is also revealed that the TechnoCore uses the processing power of every single person plugged into the Internet for their calculations. And then it gets worse...
  • A large number of Philip K. Dick novella use this trope. Often to Mind Screw extremes. And often inverted to further the Mind Screw and gaslight his readers into a state of dissociative fugue. Have fun doubting your sanity.
  • In The Dream of Perpetual Motion this is what is implied to happen to Miranda.
  • In Asimov's short story The Monkey's Finger, a capuchin monkey has his brain surgically altered to turn it into a computer capable of generating stories and books of the highest literary quality. The story deals far less with the bioethical and technological implications than how it will affect writers.
  • A significant part of the plots of the two sequels to Neuromancer is the Bio-chips produced by Maas Neotech that puts them light-years ahead of the competition and were actually designed by the AI for its own purposes. One such biochip looks like a bit of grey matter on the end of a Microsoft sliver.
  • A mechanical-interface variant appears in Rog Phillips's "Rat in the Skull", in which a newborn laboratory rodent is hooked up to a Mobile-Suit Human as a psychological experiment. Viewing the world through periscopes from the robotic eyes, and controlling its voice and limbs with movements of its tiny limbs, "Adam" grows up thinking the robotic body is its own body, never realizing it's a rat.
  • Parodied in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel SLEEPY, where the Mad Scientist who has built a telepathic AI insists that neural nets are completely unnecessary. Apparently one of his rivals tried to create an intelligent computer by hooking a cat's brain to a mainframe, and got "a computer that wants to play with string and sit on your newspaper".
  • In The Egg Man, the titular character is a "Megabrain" who has had his brain grown to a grotesque size and adjusted to be used as a sort of computer server where the uploaded minds of Heaven, Inc.'s culstomers can enjoy an Artificial Afterlife.
  • Somtow Sucharitkul/S.P. Somtow's Inquest stories features multiple technologies for interstellar ships. One type uses "shipminds" which are... harvested... from sentient beings.
  • In Twig, Jamie, a boy with Photographic Memory, is regularly plugged into a set of large brains which help him store, organize, and process the information he gathers in a useful manner, letting him rapidly make connections between related memories. He essentially acts as an interface tool for the brains, collectively referred to as Project Caterpillar.
  • The title of David Mace's Demon Four, a post-apocalyptic Military Science Fiction novel published in 1984, refers to a miniature submarine controlled by the brain of a soldier who was killed in World War III.
  • InCryptid: In Imaginary Numbers and Calculated Risks, the naturally telepathic Johrlac force Sarah (one of them) to solve cosmic equations in her mind, of which they each have a part passed down via Ghost Memory. To avoid My Skull Runneth Over, she uses the minds of all the other Johrlac (plus part of the minds of her cousins and friends) to offload some of the enormous mental strain, like using a server farm to augment a computer's processing power.
  • Terra Ignota: A major part of the worldbuilding are set-sets, humans modified since before birth to be living computers, far more efficient than any purely mechanical system. Set-sets make the global Flying Car network possible: despite hundreds of millions of cars zipping around the world, there are only a single-digit number of collisions a year. They keep their bodies, since all those nerves and senses can be remapped for additional data input - wearing a contact-filled body suit, they're said to have twenty additional senses to perceive a database with. Their existence is a human rights issue that's caused riots in the past; anti-set-set "Nurturists" call their creation a form of child abuse that permanently stunts their psychological developmentnote  and deprives them of a normal life, while their supporters (and set-sets themselves) point out that they're perfectly happy and well-adjusted people, and separating them from their computers and concomitant additional senses is akin to mutilation.
  • In The Outside, Archangels are high-ranking angels who consist only of brains and machinery, their bodies having been removed to avoid distractions from their duty of managing angels. Unlike lower-ranking angels, Archangels have enough bandwidth to communicate directly from the Gods, but because they don't have any sense organs, their perception consists entirely of information gathered from Gods and other angels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Andromeda the Consensus of Parts used human neural matter to satisfy the requirement for organic intuition to navigate the Slipstream.
  • Walter can step inside Automan and temporarily fuse with him.
  • Babylon 5
    • Epsilon III - the planet which the B5 station orbits - houses a technologically advanced installation called the Great Machine which required a living being to act as a central processing unit. In return the Great Machine rejuvenates the being acting as a CPU and greatly extends his or her lifespan, and through both communication relays and holographic technology allows the person to still move about not only around the machine but on orbiting space stations as well.
    • Shadow starships all used captured lesser races members as pilots fused with the hull. Which enables them to be disabled by telepaths. After spending any amount of time in the machine the pilot's original personality is destroyed and while Shadows can easily remove the interfaces implanted into the pilots, it is very difficult for younger races to do so.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), the Cylons' ships — or at least their FTL drives — are controlled by "Hybrids", which from the waist upwards look like women who lie in a tub full of goo hooked up to cables that look a lot like the ones in The Matrix; Razor establishes that they were created by experiments involving vivisected humans. The Hybrid constantly babbles a stream of partly-technical, partly-prophetic-sounding, partly-nonsense words, but doesn't seem conscious in any real sense most of the time. When the Cylons give the order to make an FTL jump, the Hybrid gasps "Jump!" orgasmically as the ship does so. When such an order is about to be given at a very significant moment:
    Hybrid (crying out in apparent pain): Mists of dreams drip along the nascent echo and love no more. End of line.
    Number Five: The Hybrid objects.
    Number Three: She doesn't get a vote. Jump the ship.
    Hybrid: Jump!
  • The Cyberax arc of Bugs was basically The Matrix, only without the need for it as the wetware is clinically dead.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Daleks themselves are basically squid-like aliens from the planet Skaro who are permanently encased in a virtually indestructible R2-unit.
    • The Cybermen:
      The Doctor: It's a human brain jammed inside a cybernetic body, with a heart of steel.
      • The process of "cyber-conversion" (and the state of existing as a Cyberman) is so painful that they have to have all emotions and pain receptors turned off. A common way of defeating them in the revival is to find a way to turn their feelings (emotional and/or physical) back on, which almost always leads to immediate self-termination.
    • "The Deadly Assassin" reveals that the minds of dying Time Lords are transferred to "The Matrix" so as to forecast future developments. The principle's the same, but it's a lot less grisly. Somehow, the Master got hold of the Matrix and beamed one such development — the assassination of the retiring President — into the Doctor's mind...
    • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" gives us the Peking Homunculus, which is powered by the brain of a pig. A particularly vicious pig.
    • In "Logopolis", it's implied the Logopolitans interface much more intimately and directly with their computers. They also have gigantic brains protruding from the back of their heads.
    • "Frontios" had a controversially horrific scene involving a digging machine controlled by a severed human head. This was toned down from the script, which had the entire machine assembled from human body parts.
      • The novelization offers no such kindness and describes it in GRAPHIC detail.
    • There's another Dalek-aligned one in the classic series serial "Remembrance of the Daleks". It's explicitly stated that one Dalek side chose a child because a child's imagination, fuelled with data from their battle computers, was the only thing irrational enough to break the unending logical stalemate against other Dalek battle computers.
    • The people on Satellite Five in "The Long Game" have ports in their heads to input information and process it. Adam, a temporary companion, gets one himself in an attempt to take detailed technical and historical data back to the "present" for personal financial gain, which is why the Doctor throws him out of the TARDIS. In the follow-up episode, The Controller used to control the operations of Satellite Five worked on the same principle, only that was her entire life; she was installed at five years old.
    • "The Girl in the Fireplace" had this as the Monsters of the Week's aim with the titular girl.
    • "Spyfall": Daniel Barton's goal in the plan he's working on with the Master and the Kasaavin is to turn the majority of humanity into living hard drives by having the Kasaavin rewrite their DNA.
  • In Dollhouse, people sent to "the Attic" have their brains networked to make Rossum's supercomputer.
  • Pilot from Farscape is symbiotically joined to Moya, a leviathan. While Pilot controls the crew's life support systems and pilots the ship, Moya is capable of moving on her own and can disregard Pilot's instructions if she has to.
    • Moya's son Talyn has a much smaller neural implant that can attach to a humanoid's neck instead of premanently fusing to the ship. This allows his captain greater independence than a Pilot, but Talyn proves even more willing to disobey instructions than his mother. In season three Stark discovers that Talyn still has a vestigial Pilot den despite the Peacekeeprs' attempts to "breed out" the need for it. Stark uses the partially formed den to temporarily bond with the ship and steer him out of danger.
  • Lexx's 790-model cyborgs consist of robotic heads attached to the decapitated bodies of executed convicts. A small cube of human brain tissue in the head is used to interface with the body.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode DNA Kryten states that his brain includes a bit of biological material, which is apparently enough for the DNA conversion machine to make him fully human.
  • This, crossed with And I Must Scream, was the ultimate fate of Wade in Sliders.
  • Star Trek:
    • The much-reviled episode "Spock's Brain" of Star Trek: The Original Series.
    • The Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Dead Stop" has an automated space station that rapidly repairs ships for a fee in certain resources... and a hidden fee in kidnapping one of the passengers in an "accident" to use their brainpower to keep itself running.
    • Star Trek: Voyager has neural gel-packs to assist in certain computer functions that require that organic touch.
    • The Borg Queen is one of these; not merely an ambassador like Locutus but a being that functions as the hub of the collective consciousness.
    • The Spore Drive from Star Trek: Discovery allows a starship to travel through a subspace mycelial network. It requires an intelligent being to interface with the fungus and navigate the network — first a giant alien tardigrade, then Lieutenant Stamets (the drive's inventor) after he injected himself with tardigrade DNA.
    • In the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: episode "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" the people of Majalis require a living being to be plugged in to their planatery computer systems to maintain a habitable environment on their world.
  • Total Recall 2070: Alpha-class androids (still on the prototype stage) use cultivated neurons. Alpha technology is not yet fully understood, as android inspector Farve experienced weird "connections" with people under an Alpha mind-control implant.
  • In The Tribe, the Technos are carrying out a secret project by kidnapping various people and hooking them up to an inescapable virtual reality environment for Ram's private enjoyment. The hordes of respawning mooks he fights off are created from those people's minds.

  • "Cabinet Man" by Lemon Demon is about a man driven by "electric desires" to turn himself into a half-organic, half-mechanical arcade cabinet.
    The news reporters reported that I'd died
    But all my organs were living on inside
    Circuit board to brain
    With two lungs collecting change
    One big human heart gently beeping


    Tabletop Games 
  • Used extensively in Warhammer 40,000, in which non-sentient servitors (robots with human brains for CPU) are very common, and used as from cleaning automata to combat drones to spaceship operation aides. Also, some ship captains are permanently wired into their vessels. In the novel Storm of Iron, there is a tech-priest who has discarded everything but his brain and wired himself into the main computer in the fortress he commands. The Space Marine Dreadnoughts, fighting machines piloted by mortally wounded super soldiers permanently encased in a life support sarcophagus might also count.
    • Indeed, this is compulsory for the Imperium - as any significant levels of AI are explicitly forbidden due to a Robot War sometime in the 20 or 30,000s. Anything with an AI of relatively low level of intelligence (a "machine spirit") has either a human operator or a human brain and anything otherwise is considered "techno-heresy" or "heretekal". The Imperium being the Imperium, of course there are exceptions: the Land Raider tanks used by the Space Marines are suspiciously bright for an entirely artificial machine. In some cases, they've fought battles by themselves after their crew was knocked out or killed. But since they're ancient and venerable machines, that's considered okay. Though it doesn't quite stop there, as vehicles tend to have more complex intelligences as they get bigger and more complex. The apex of Imperial AI are the massive and sentient, but seemingly instinct-driven machine spirits within their massive starships, and the machine spirits within the Titan-class warmachines, which have been known to influence or even override their captains when the captain's focus slips. What really blurs the line is that purely supernatural "machine spirits" are real, as is less benevolent Haunted Technology, so it's entirely possible no AI is involved at all. Titan (and Knight Suit) intelligences grow to become an amalgam of all their previous operators over time, just to give one example.
    • In the Horus Heresy novel The First Heretic, a marine explains to a civilian why they're attacking a planet that has robots: According to him, "mineral" intelligences always have thought patterns incompatible with organic ones, which inevitably leads to rebellion.
  • Cyberpunk 2020 has full-body conversions in which extreme transhumanists go beyond simply upgrading the human body and opt to replace it altogether, transplanting their brains into a mechanical body. Since Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, society tends to look down on this with them branding "full borgs" as "Metalheads" and no longer seeing them as human.
  • In miniatures game Legions of Steel, the eponymous Machine Empire captures humans and other sentient beings and keeps them in a dream state while holding them in a pod (similar to the Matrix, but five years before the movie). Machines, having no truly creative or lateral thinking abilities, use chemical torture on their captives, read their thoughts - nightmares - and search through them for new ideas. While the Machines searched for ideas with technological application, the side effect was to incorporate horrific images into the design of new fighting robots.
    • Later, the Machines experimented with wetware and artificial brains with true sentience. Unfortunately for the Machines, with true sentience comes free will, and some of the sentient machines (Omega Class) rebelled against the Machine Empire to side with the organic civilizations.
  • The Gamma World had Think Tanks, which were human brains connected to computer systems.
  • In Deadlands: Hell on Earth, automata are machines with zombie brains (controlled by a demon) wired in as the CPU. Cyborgs are Harrowed (ensouled undead), some of whom go so far as the Brain in a Jar route.
  • The Mi-Go in CthulhuTech use human brains like this. The consciousnesses inside them still function however, and are allowed to form social networks so as to remain sane and productive. You just know this'll come back to bite those aliens in their collectively non-existent ass someday.
  • In the Underground RPG, there are "bio-drives", which are basically human brains (donated willingly or otherwise) which act as huge-capacity storage media. There are rules allowing Player Characters to sell their existing brain off as a bio-drive and have an artificial brain implanted.
  • Magic: The Gathering's psychosis crawler is strongly implied to be one of these. In fact, you can see the brain in the jar.
  • In Mindjammer 2-space navigation requires a Sapient Ship, but the Venu Empire has religious prohibitions against AI so they wire up human "brainjacks" who inevitably go insane.
  • GURPS Steam-Tech has a section on how, exactly, one might create AI with Steampunk technology. This is the final option, with the comment "It's not cheating unless you get caught."
  • Shadowrun cyborgs are brains in jars that are plugged into modified drones. Brains scooped from healthy adults have a tendency to go mad from the radical shift in perception and the effects of all the drugs pumped into them, so the corps that make cyborgs prefer to use the brains of either clones or children.
    • At a less creepy level, the game's lore and mechanics make it clear that, outside of once-in-a-lifetime godlike AI like Deus, the limits of autonomous computer technology fall far short of what the best human minds can do. A metahuman decker with brain implants (and maybe some drugs) plugged into a cyberdeck can run rings around any software agent in the Matrix, and a metahuman rigger with the right implants (and drugs) will slaughter any autonomous drone in physical combat.
  • BattleTech downplays this. The giant robot BattleMechs are linked to the pilots by a neural interface that allows the pilot's own sense of balance to keep the 2-legged machines upright and moving smoothly.
    • The Enhanced Imaging implants used by some Clanners also feed the Mech's sensor inputs into the pilot's nervous system. And they're required for piloting ProtoMechs. Unfortunately they also have some degenerative effects that usually result in insanity or death after a few years.
  • GURPS Reign of Steel: The Denver zonemind was forced to do this after the US Air Force crippled it in a Heroic Sacrifice strike during the Final War. For obvious reasons, it keeps this hidden from the other zoneminds.

  • The various biomechanical races of the Matoran world in BIONICLE all have some organic parts, but we don't know if the brain is one of them. The Bohrok, though, play this dead straight, being robotic drones "driven" by organic Krana parasites. The Rahkshi also count, being suits of Powered Armor controlled by the serpentine Kraata... with said suits being made from Kraata exposed to Energized Protodermis.
    • Because of his role of maintaining the Matoran Universe prior to Mata Nui, the organic Eldritch Abomination known as Tren Krom is this since it means he had control of the Humongous Mecha that it was.
  • The Headmasters, Powermasters and Targetmasters of Transformers are organic beings that link into the Humongous Mecha Transformers as heads, engines and weapons; rather than acting as the "mind" of the Transformers, though, they act in conjunction with their Artificial Intelligence.

    Video Games 
  • In R-Type, the R-9C War-Head is piloted by a biological computer made of amputated pilots linked onto the spacecrafts, the pilots are contained within a capsule known as Angel Pac. The R-9/0 Ragnarok is also speculated to have used a 23 year old girl stuck in a biologically 14 year old body as its biological computer, in which the military denied the speculation.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation video game A Final Unity the Unity Device requires living beings to join with it in order to stablize and repair rips in the fabric of space.
  • MapleStory: Gelimer attempted to use his airship, the Black Heaven, to overwhelm Maple World with a special chemical that has a high mortality rate (and which zombifies the survivors), but he needed a great power source, AI, interface, and security system for such a gargantuan ship. So he resurrects Lotus, a former commander of the Black Mage, and presumably uses mind control and enhancements via technology. Notably, every single bit of this plan is most definitely morally wrong. Oh, and Orchid, Gelimer's superior and Lotus' sister, is clearly livid because of all this.
  • Starcraft
    • The Protoss Dragoons and Immortals are the broken bodies and brains of half-dead soldiers, wired into walking tanks so that they can continue to fight. These are directly inspired by Warhammer 40K's Space Marine Dreadnoughts.
    • The Adjutant was one originally. Female human, head connected to various wires and bits of machinery, presumably to aid in briefing the player in missions. It has been retconned to be entirely robotic, probably to make the "good guys" less squicky.
  • In Homeworld, the mothership would have needed an unworkably large bridge crew to handle all command and control tasks, and they could not make an AI to deal with them for certain reasons. Neuroscientist Karen S'jet came up with a plan to use a brain for the task and insisted that she herself be fitted into the ship.
    • She reprises her role in Homeworld 2 in the new mothership, the Pride of Hiigara, a century later.
    • Cataclysm reveals that the Bentusi are connected to their ships in a similar fashion. They seem to consider this a stage in a civilization's development and collectively refer to races that have achieved this feat as "The Unbound". It's implied they helped out the Kushan due to Karan being newly Unbound herself.
    • In HW2, the Big Bad Makaan is a Spaceship Boy, as two cutscenes show him submerged in a liquid tank with wires and tubes sticking out of his body. Presumably, the tank is designed to be able to transfer between ships, as he clearly plans to take command of the Sajuuk.
  • In Half-Life 2, the Striders actually have organic brains, which the player gets to see when Dog rips one out in a scene in Episode 2. Probably the same goes for other Synths used by the Combine.
    • This is very likely, since the other Synths the Combine uses are other races that have fallen to them.
    • Half-Life: Alyx reveals that Combine computers run using "memory worms", processors made out of mutated brains with assorted creatures fused into it, such as an occasional rat.
  • E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy allows the player to replace their nervous system with a top-of-the-line computer system, interfacing with the brain for much more improved reflexes. At least, according to vanilla text - the real in-game effect is heightened agility.
  • Prey (2006) has a similar premise.
  • Sansha's Nation drones in EVE Online are controlled by humans brainwashed and cybernetically-altered for that purpose.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid has the Mother Brain herself, who was originally a Chozo supercomputer before turning against them to side with the Space Pirates.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has the Aurora Units, highly intelligent beings stored in liquid containers. Unfortunately, being part biological leaves them wide open to Phazon...
    • Metroid Fusion has the B.O.X, a security drone that has an organic CPU. It goes rogue and Samus blows its casing apart, which allows the X parasite to infect it.
    • Metroid Dread has the Central Units, which serve as the control units of the seven E.M.M.I. units on ZDR. They have a brain covered with a metallic casing and a single eye, making them somewhat similar to Mother Brain. Despite their seemingly biological core, the X-parasite infestation halfway through the game changes nothing about them, implying that their brains and eye are entirely synthetic.
  • In the Vega Strike 'verse, "Pseudo-AI" is used for most tasks where a "true" AI would be too expensive and a simple computer isn't creative enough. "PAI Wetware" is one of legal goods, a thousand times or so cheaper than AI cores. The Rlaan as proponents of Organic Technology carry it further and creep out the humans by equipping armed drones with pet brains.
  • The Strogg from Quake II couple their computers with organic beings, including a factory that mashes humans into Stroyent that has a creature's digestive system working as part of it and a gigantic brain with cybernetic implants in it as their main communication system processor. They're also fond of "Stroggifying" enemies in a method more brutal than the Borg, implanting cybernetics via surgery without any anesthetic whatsoever.
  • CABAL the evil supercomputer from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series apparently is the "Computer Assisted Biologically Augmented Lifeform"; it draws some processing power from human beings. At the end of Firestorm CABAL is apparently keeping Kane alive. More specifically, the Biological Augmentation appears to consist of a roomful of various people plugged into it. At the line "Our directives must be reassessed", Kane appears to have merged with CABAL.
  • At the end of Deus Ex, you are given the choice of merging your character's consciousness with an AI called Helios.
    • One ending of the sequel involves this happening to everyone.
    • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the fact that Panchaea required this of three women (who are obviously still conscious of their fate when you find them) was one of the factors involved in Hugh Darrow's Sanity Slippage.
      • And in "The Missing Link" DLC you witness the horrific process involved in creating them.
  • Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots had his entire body amputated from the molars down, leaving only the upper half of his head (and his spine) and essentially turning him into a bishounen RoboCop. Senator Armstrong's Evil Plan in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance involved abducting orphans and putting their brains into robot bodies to make an army of cyborg child soldiers, but Raiden manages to prevent this and ship the brains to Germany where they could get proper help.
  • The Biodrones from X-COM: Terror from the Deep look an awful lot like brains mounted in flying saucers. They are. Human brains, literally butchered into obedience, and fitted with a sonic weapon where their voice box used to be so they can scream their targets to death.
  • In XCOM 2 it is revealed that the Commander was being used as a living tactical processor by the aliens.
  • In the various Fallout games there are a number of different examples, largely in the form of taking a Brain in a Jar and wiring it into a robot.
    • The most common example, found across multiple games, are "Robobrains"; a round, tank-like body on tracks with clawed tentacles for arms and a Brain in a Jar for its head. The official line about the origins of said brains in-universe in early games is that they use brains taken from chimpanzees or other primates, with the use of human brains being a slanderous but persistent rumor. Later games revealed that, yes, human brains were used quite extensively, which led to the development of the other brain-preserving robot types encountered in the game.
    • Cyberdogs are cybernetically augmented dogs controlled by placing a canine Brain in a Jar in the augmented skull. Like Robobrains, they show up in multiple games.
    • In Fallout, the Master is a Blob Monster of meat and brain tissue that has physically integrated itself into the computers and electrical systems of a Vault, allowing it to control the machinery of the Vault as an extension of its own body.
    • In Fallout Tactics, the Big Bad of the game is the Collector, a super-computer given enhanced processing powers by plugging a dozen different human brains into it. Although, in typical Fallout Black Comedy, the quality of these brains is questionable — one of them is a porn star's! The player can cripple the Collector by destroying its integrated brains, and even receive the option to be integrated into it in order to take control of the super-computer and its robot armies.
    • Mr. House in Fallout: New Vegas essentially turned himself into this, to make himself effectively immortal. When the Courier first meets him he's a bust of his smarmy grin projected onto a massive screen. When you really meet him, he is an Abominationnote , a withered phantom in the shape of a man sealed within a life-sustaining sarcophagus.
      Mr. House: From what I hear, I'd want to eat at the Gourmand every night... if I were ambulatory.
    • And then there are the Think Tanks of Old World Blues, robots controlled by the brains of Mad Scientists so that said scientists can do experiments After the End.
      • They also do this to the Courier against their will, although the Courier somehow manages to remain fully self-aware without their brain, much to the Think Tank's surprise (though it's explained by the gun shot you revived that the start of the game). Eventually leading to the bizarre situation where the Courier has a conversation with their own Brain in a Jar and can even hit on it.
        Courier's Brain: Are you... Are you coming on to me?! Sweet Lord, I don't even have the words for how repugnantly wrong that is!
      • The Lobotomites, also from Old World Blues, are an inversion of this. They were humans that got abducted by the Think Tank and suffered an experiment which replaced their brains with artificial mock-ups, essentially making them into robots with an organic hardware.
    • Far Harbor, an expansion pack for Fallout 4, has the player discover Vault 118, which is inhabited by a small population of rich people who tried to achieve immortality by becoming Robobrains.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Joker expresses this fear regarding giving control of the Normandy to EDI in Mass Effect 2:
    "See, this is where it starts, and when we're all just organic batteries, guess who they'll blame? 'This is all Joker's fault! What a tool he was! I have to spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the overlord!'"
    • The same game reveals that the Reapers are composed of organic biomass in a mechanical framework, and their periodic slaughter of all sentient life in the galaxy is actually their reproductive cycle.
    • In the "Overlord" DLC, Cerberus attempts to gain control of the geth by creating one of these, but the ensuing "hybrid intelligence" immediately goes berserk. Because he was forced into the experiment, and is in constant agony from the Sensory Overload.
  • Front Mission: The fact that it happened to the main character's fiancee is just salt in the wound.
  • In Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, General Skun-ka'pe uses the disembodied brain of one with "The Gift" to control the computer systems on his ship and help him find the Toys of Power.
  • This is a vital part of creating a cyborg in Space Station 13, using a human brain plugged into a mind/machine interface as their core processor which becomes an extension of the AI by following all of its rules, including the ones the traitor uploads.
  • A number of villain groups in City of Heroes uses human brains to control their robots, among them being Arachnos, Malta, and Nemesis.
  • RuneScape has Barrelchest, a giant robot crafted by a Mad Scientist from barrels, ship components, and a Brain in a Jar. Its creator, Mi-Gor, uses human brains in a number of other necromantic and magitek experiments as well.
  • In Borderlands 2, it's revealed that The Guardian Angel that serves as an Exposition Fairy in the game is not a sentient A.I. as she claims, but a Siren named Angel hooked up to machines and constantly pumped with Eridium by her father Handsome Jack as a tool for his schemes.
  • One of the boss battles in Borderlands 3 is against Gigamind, a Maliwan AI that turns out to be a Brain in a Jar piloting a robotic suit. Later in the game you encounter weaker versions called NOGs which act as support units for Maliwan troops.
  • The End of Flesh expansion to Sword of the Stars 2 adds these. The lore explanation is that they are meant to emulate the abilities of the Loa without actually using AI.
  • The fanmade mod Marathon: Rubicon features an AI named Haller at the beginning, who is known to be a wetware AI. You are assigned by Durandal to retrieve his wetware chip and send it off in a shuttle to evacuate Haller from his heavily damaged spaceship, UESC Chimera. However, Tycho later reveals that mission to have been a set-up, as Durandal intercepted the shuttle and in turn cannibalized Haller out of jealousy.
  • In Technobabylon organic nanomachines called "wetware" are used for many different purposes, from hacking to genetic engineering.
  • The first two games in The Journeyman Project series utilize electronic "BioChips" which can be collected to employ certain functions. The second game goes on to explain that the "wetware" part is composed of "neuro-synaptic polymer gel", and Arthur also turns out to the be prototype of this technology in one of the time zones you visit.
  • The Heavy Vertical Tank, or HVT from Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor uses what is called a Human Processing Unit. Within the universe, an outbreak of silicon-eating bacteria has caused what is called the "Data Crash" and human technology is set back into the 1940s-1950s analog technology. However, the so-called HPUs used within HVT units allow much faster processing and powering of the complex systems within it. While normal Vertical Tanks require a crew of at least four (Commander/Gunner, Engineer, Radio Operator, and Loader), the HVT requires only one, as its onboard machinery uses the Processing Units to make its calculation for it. However, the system has its horrific side-effect: the humans used as HPUs are basically discarded once it has reached a certain limit of effectiveness and it is implied that HVT units go through these Human Processors like a cannon goes through ammunition. It also provides a justification on why the United People (essentially the United Nations under Chinese management) seems excessively cruel to the conquered; they are abducting people left, right, and center to forcibly use them as HPUs. By the way, the people who were used and discarded as said HPUs? They're not dead; they're catatonic, with no clear sign if they can make a recovery, if at all possible.
  • Xenon's Super Bio Mech computer from Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers.
  • The Brainwalkers from Strider (2014) use human brains as control units. Following the failure of initial versions, which were incapable of thinking strategically during battle, Professor Schlange decided to use human brains to run the robot's decision-making systems and to push its performance to its maximum. From where does he gets these brains? From citizens captured attempting to escape Kazakh City (or at least from those not killed trying to). What's even worse? These machines wear down the brains very quickly, and so they must be constantly replaced with new ones...
  • The player character in Urban Assault, is a member of the Resistance who's part of a select group that had their nervous systems physically bonded to powerful battle bases called Host Stations. This process is irreversible.
  • One of the biggest plot twists in Luminous Avenger iX is the truth behind the Butterfly Effect: It's the brain of Copen's younger sister Mytyl, stripped of her body decades ago and hooked up to a machine to be used as a surrogate Muse. The goal of Copen's entire journey is to end her suffering.
  • In SOMA, the structure-gel has the mysterious ability to allow biological entities to fuse with technology.
  • In Crying Suns, the depraved Dr. Landa of House Kosh-Buendia has wired the brains of children into battle robots and plugged another child’s brain into the controls of a battleship.
  • In Factorio, the recipe for building the Spidertron requires a fish. Since the model for a destroyed Spidertron shows a fish flopping around in it the implication is that the fish is being used to control the Spidertron.

  • Narbonic had an arc called "Professor Madblood and the Wetware Interface'', in which Madblood used Dave's brain as a CPU for a giant robot. Using alcohol solution to store the brain might have been a mistake, though.
  • Carbon computers in Among the Chosen are carried by female, transhuman hosts by means of artificial pregnancy. It is not clear whether the computers have personalities of their own or if they are just extenuations of their hosts.
  • Skin Horse has Nick, a perverse foul-mouthed helicopter who was once a gamer and web troll until he had his brain scooped out, rewired, and shoved in a jar. Nick may well be the first cyborg brony if In-Universe hints are correct. Particularly interesting in that part of the plot is him coming to terms with this to such a point that he now self-identifies as a machine and has joined a robot union.
  • In Sequential Art, Quinten R&D has four "organic processors". Unusual in that they aren't Brain in a Jar type, but Little Bit Beastly squirrel girls with radio-implants linking them into Hive Mind called "Think Tank". Also, this provides some sort of Cyberspace interface with true computer AI. They still have free will, if somewhat brainwashed.
  • In Axe Cop, Wolver Man's cyborg pet Iron Spider Cannon is driven by a mouse brain wired into its circuits.
  • The ψiioniic, Sollux's ancestor in Homestuck, ended up becoming something like this. Thanks to his powerful telekinetic abilities, he was enslaved by Her Imperious Condescension and harnessed as the Living Battery for her flagship. It's unclear how much consciousness or control he has left in this state, but since the rest of the ship appears inorganic this trope still applies.
  • Currently, in Sonic the Comic – Online!, Robotnik has become part of a Drakon super-computer and has launched a massive invasion of Mobius in a bid to become the planet's proxy ruler under control of the Drakons.
  • In Girl Genius, Agatha and crew manage to stop a malicious, sentient runaway train — but Brother Ulm ends up at death's door. They end up saving him by repurposing his brain as the "autopilot" of their new train. He's surprisingly okay with the arrangement. In fact, they offer him the option to be reinstalled in a humanoid body later and he declines.

    Web Original 
  • In Ilivais X, the Phonos Weapons (which include the titular mech) are supposed to use their pilots like this. While they CAN be used with motion control, they tend to be controlled via mind synchronization. The four pilots are altered to be fragile, intelligent, and highly emotionally derailed, because the intent is that they stay in their unit until they are destroyed (which, given their effective regeneration and the pilots' immortality, may well never happen), turning into sentient processors for their machines.
  • In the SCP Foundation wiki, SCP-763 is a huge patch of Meat Moss supporting dozens of networked human brains. It's looking for more.
  • Common in Orion's Arm, though the prevailing idea is that wetware can only get you past the second singularity or so. The lums of the Red Star 'M'Pire went and disproved that by creating the Silk God, a completely organic archailect possibly of the fourth toposophic. However, being the size of a solar system, it's still a lot less efficient than diamondoid-based inorganic fourth-toposophic 'J-nodes', which are only as big as large gas giants.
  • In the sci-fi roleplaying site Star Army, due to their more primitive technology, the race known as "Gartagens" use these as the AI networks of their spaceships. Since they're depicted as OCD compared to humans, this actually does put them on an almost equal AI footing with the other races of the setting.
  • Acrylic from Next Breed of Thief is one. So is the system controlling MEPHISTO.
  • The character "ARA" (Artificial Relay Administrator) is a Cat Girl cyborg designed to act as an organic supercomputer for a starship. During the cyberization process the parts of her brain that make her sentient were re-purposed for calculation, which most polities in the galaxy consider a crime against sentient life, explained here.
  • Mystery Flesh Pit National Park: Anodyne built a series of these (explicitly referred to as "wetware") for the consumer market using nervous tissue from the Pit, as detailed here. Unfortunately, despite their immense power, they turned out to be Awesome, but Impractical due in part to their high power requirements, but also due to most of the knowledge needed to maintain them being lost after Anodyne went out of business following the park's closure in 2007.

    Western Animation 
  • The Heads in Jars of Futurama interface fairly well with robotics when the plot demands it.
  • The Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures episode "DNA Doomsday" involved an organic supercomputer that was built from the DNA up to be a perfect data processing system. When a simulation is run to test the system, a serious error caused the organism to go on a rampage and try to test the simulation in real life. The simulation? Is it possible to destroy the military base that the computer was being built in.
  • Kiva Andru from Megas XLR has a bionic plug port on the back of her skull, which she used to interface her mecha, but she hasn't used it due to MEGAS being heavily modified with a car chassis. Her alternate universe counterpart, however, has further modified her port to accommodate a cable, along with the left side of her face being robotic.
  • In Phantom 2040, Maxwell Madison was murdered only to have his memories downloaded into a computer, which his wife uses/abuses to resurrect him in the body of several successive biots. Most attempt to commit "suicide" than stay with the psychotic woman, however.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Welcome to the Chum Bucket," when SpongeBob refuses to work for Plankton after Krabs lost his contract in a poker game, Plankton puts his brain in a robot chef. It's funny how Plankton didn't consider that a robot with SpongeBob's brain would be just as stubborn as SpongeBob.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In the Bad Batch arc, it's discovered that the Separatists have gotten access to a stolen Republic strategy algorithm via using the captured, thought-dead ARC trooper Echo in this fashion, keeping him in a stasis pod and hooking him up to computers to extract the algorithm from his brain.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), after being severely injured for his failures, Baxter Stockman goes through a series of mechanical bodies, losing more and more of his real body at each step.
    • Also played with during the first Fast Forward season of the series; the turtles find the journal that Cody Jones had used to learn about them. Once the temptation to read it becomes too great, they read a series of entries centered around each of the turtles. Donatello's entry (much to his horror) states that, after an accident in deep space, his brain is placed into a robot known as the Serling unit. Fortunately for the turtles, it turned out the journal they were reading was a fake prepared by Splinter and Cody when they knew the turtles couldn't resist reading it.

    Real Life 
  • Researchers at Cortical Labs have created a very primitive one out of human brain cells in a petri dish, and they've managed to teach it how to play Pong. Notably, it took only 5 minutes for it to fully learn how to play, much faster than most traditional AI.
  • The word Computer used to mean a human being whose job was to compute. The earliest recorded use of the term is from the 17th century; Wikipedia has an article here.
  • Hybrots are robots with partially organic CPUs made by spreading rat neurons suspended in a nutrient solution on a computer chip. They've only lived a few weeks to a couple months so far, though with better life-support they could live up to two years.
  • CalTech stretched a cell membrane across a computer CPU slot, leaving the gold pins in place, and were able to process data with it (until it died).
  • While this trope usually revolves around using neural tissue as a processing unit, another possible way for this trope to come into play — and possibly even become Truth in Television — is through DNA computing. In fact, DNA-based computers that can be reprogrammed have already been successfully built. Though it's debatable whether this counts as wetware in the conventional sense of a living biological component, since it's really just a (bio)chemical computer without metabolic processes. This is sometimes called gooware to distingish it from genuine wetware.


Video Example(s):


The Supreme Intelligence

The Avengers are captured by the Supreme Intelligence, a biological computer comprised of the greatest Kree minds, which rules the Kree Empire.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MindHive

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