Roleplayer #24, June 1991

More Ultra-Technology

New Super-Science Gadgets

by David Pulver

Originally written for GURPS Ultra-Tech, these were among the entries that just wouldn't fit in a 128-page book. Add them to your GURPS Cyberpunk, Space, Uplift or other futuristic campaign. "UT" page listings refer to material already published in GURPS Ultra-Tech.

Bionics and Personal Augmentations

Augmented Intestinal Flora

The chemical processes involved in digestion are very complicated. There is a very small chance that it would be possible to gain nourishment from alien food (most colony worlds import Terran plants and animals). It is far more likely that the alien proteins would be either poisonous or useless. AIF is a TL9 process whereby the human digestive system is modified to metabolize base lipids as well as proteins. Over a series of treatments, natural intestinal flora is replaced with genetically-engineered digestive flora. A human who has been given AIF treatments can metabolize food from most alien source, and has a +2 to HT when rolling to survive any "normal" digestive poison.

The AIF process takes one week (during which the patient is confined to an automedic) and costs $10,000. Service personnel likely to be assigned to alien worlds (rangers, survey scouts) may receive AIF for free. Optionally, GMs may require PCs to pay 5 character points for the advantage AIF confers.

Memory Implant

A memory implant is surgically inserted into the user's brain. Once activated, it begins to record his sen-sory experiences onto its own minidisk. A memory implant is not as efficient as braintaping – a 100-gig minidisk can only store 1,200 hours (about two months) of experience – but is more flexible. Anyone can later access the recording and "live" the subject's sensory experiences. Thoughts and personality are not recorded, only sensory experiences: sight, sound, scent, touch – the feel of a breeze, or the pain of a wound. A memory implant recovered from a corpse cannot be used to bring the person back to life, or reveal what he was thinking, but it will reveal what he saw and heard (and felt) up to the moment of death.

To access a memory disk, it is removed from the implant [requiring a roll against Electronics (Bionics) skill+2] and plugged into a special memory-scan terminal. The user dons a neural-induction helmet (or uses a neural-interface implant) and experiences the memory tape. The recording plays back at normal speed, but can be "fast forwarded," paused or even rewound.

Memory implants cost $7,000 at TL10, plus $1,400 for surgery, and are powered for 5 years by an AA cell. A memory-scan terminal costs $40,000 (excluding interface equipment), takes up .1 cy, and weighs 250 pounds.

Neural HUD

This TL9 innovation is accessed through a socket mounted in the user's skull. By plugging an interface cable into the socket, the user can plug himself into any specially-fitted piece of electronic equipment. He can receive data displays (such as instrument readouts or computer screens) projected directly into his mind and spliced into his optic nerves. Its purpose is to provide quicker and handier access to information. In effect, it serves as a head-up display without requiring goggles or a helmet visor. Jacked into HUD or holographic sights, it eliminates the need for visor or goggles and reduces SS by an additional -1 beyond the normal reduction for the HUD sight. A neural HUD costs $2,000, plus $400 for surgery. Most neural HUDs have only a single socket, but up to four can be installed, at an additional $500 per extra socket. It uses an AA cell, powering it for 25 years.


ECM Pack

This TL9 backpack jamming unit, with attached keyboard and screen, detects all operating radars and radio communicators (but not laser or neutrino communications) within twice their own operating range on a successful Electronics Operations (Sensor) + 4 roll. It can also be set to jam portable radars and radios within 5 miles, but has no effect on powerful (e.g. starship-mounted) systems. To get through the jamming, a radar operator or comm-user must roll a Quick Contest of Skills (using Electronics Operation (Sensors or Communications) against the ECM pack operator's Electronics Operation (Sensors) skill. If one system is of a higher TL, add 4 per TL of superiority to the operator's skill; modifiers can be added if larger and more powerful ECM systems or radars/radios are involved. If the roll fails, radar or communications are jammed, though another roll is allowed after a minute of additional fiddling with frequencies. Success allows a "clear" conversation or radar scan for 10 seconds, then another contest must be won to beat the jamming. Weight is 12 pounds and cost is $8,000.

Laser Communicators

A lasercom is a TL8 tight-beam communicator/receiver with orbital (200-mile) range, though on the ground it is limited to line-of-sight. It can be blocked by terrain and cannot transmit across the horizon. (The horizon is 2½ miles from the shoulder height of a standing man on Earth; on smaller planets it will be closer and on bigger ones farther away. Line-of-sight to the horizon can be increased dramatically by changing the height of the transmitter. If the transmitter is 100 feet in the air, the horizon is over 13 miles away.) The operator can bounce the laser beam off a reflector (see below) or use a relay station to increase range. The operator can try to bounce the laser beam off thick clouds – weather must be right, and a skill roll is required. This will send the message over the horizon, but anyone with a lasercom within 200 yards of the receiver can pick the signal up (the beam scatters). Signal quality will be degraded; the receiver must make an Electronics Operations (Communications) roll to pick up the signal. Maximum range is horizon distance plus ten miles (never more than 200, no matter how far away the horizon is).

A lasercom cannot be jammed or intercepted (unless bounced off clouds, see above), but its beam is blocked by anything that would normally block a laser – smoke, thick cloud, etc. If the lasercom has a blue-green frequency ($200 extra) it can transmit through water.

Lasercoms must be tripod-mounted and attached to a computerized tracking system to communicate with fast-moving aircraft and ground vehicles, or ships and satellites in orbit. The GM may require an Electronics Operations (Communications) roll to initially align the laser, with modifiers based on the relative speeds. Each attempt takes ten seconds.

A lasercom uses a C cell for one hour of communication. Cost is $3,000 and weight is 12 pounds. The tripod tracking system (TTS) uses a B cell, weighs 20 pounds, is .1 cy unfolded and costs $2,000. It takes 30 seconds to set up.

Laser Reflector

This is a TL8 computer-controlled mirror used to bounce laser beams. It is intended for laser surveying or as a relay for a lasercom (see above). Tripod-mounted and electronically controlled, it is usually linked to a computer. It takes 10 seconds to set up. It can also reflect weapon laser beams (but not x-ray or gamma-ray lasers). The mirror may be used as cover; any visible-light laser beam of 4d or less damage that strikes the mirror will be reflected back on a roll of 16 or less, bouncing back to its source on a roll of 6 or less; more powerful beams destroy the mirror. If the reflector is being manually controlled, a successful Electronics Operations (Communications) roll may be used to reflect the beam as desired. Failure reflects it randomly; a critical failure destroys the mirror. The reflector uses a B cell. It weighs 40 pounds and is .2 cy folded, 2 cy unfolded. Cost is $3,000.


A TL8 modulator is a compact, portable sound studio, acting as a synthesizer, sound mixer and recorder (using standard computer disks). On a successful Electronics Operations (Communications) roll it can record any sound (short of dangerous ultrasonic or subsonic frequencies), analyze it, duplicate it, or modify it; it is often used as an instrument by musicians. It can also synthesize, alter and record speech; on a successful skill roll, it can make a good enough recording to fool a voiceprint lock. A modulator is usually worn on a shoulder strap; it uses a B cell which lasts 3 months. Cost is $4,500 and weight is 2 pounds.



This is a TL8 portable lab. It allows anyone with Chemistry or Biochemistry skills to analyze complex compounds including wonder drugs, planetary atmospheres and exotic alloys or composites. It can also manufacture simple chemical compounds (e.g. drugs or chemical explosives) in small quantities. Modifiers depend on the complexity of the task attempted, but a chemist is at -3 without at least this much equipment. Weight is 14 pounds and cost is $1,400.


A TL9 box that straps onto a belt, the geosensor deter-mines the exact mineral composition of samples placed inside it. It adds +3 to any Geology or Prospecting roll to identify a mineral. It is powered by a C cell (good for 100 samplings). Cost is $2,000 and weight is 6 pounds.

Portable Radar

A backpack-sized TL8 radar unit, which displays the area scanned on a fold-out monitor screen or may be linked to a HUD. The unit takes 30 seconds to set up or can be permanently mounted on a vehicle or installation. It may scan a specific 600 arc (in front of the radar) or a 360-degree field at 1/5 range. As long as they are in line of sight, it detects moving man-sized targets or stationary vehicles at 2 miles, moving ground vehicles at 5 miles or moving aircraft or spacecraft at up to 20 miles. The radar's range may be increased by 10% per point an Electronics Operations (Sensor) roll is made by. Double range at TL9, and again at TL10. The radar works for two weeks on a C cell. Cost is $4,000 and weight is 16 pounds.

Portable Sonar

This handheld TL8 unit uses a pulse of high-frequency sound for detection underwater or in superdense atmospheres; it can pick up a man-sized target at up to 200 yards, and larger objects (like terrain features, schools of fish or vehicles) can be detected at 10 times this distance. It displays information on screen, or it may be linked to a HUD. Range can be increased by 10% per point an Electronics Operation (Sensor) roll is made by. Cost is $300 and weight is 4 pounds. Sonar range doubles at TL9, and again at TL10.


This handheld TL9 radar unit is often used by the military or police. It scans a specific 60° arc (in front of the radar) or a 360° circle at 1/5 range. Changing the setting takes one turn. A tacscan unit can detect any target in range and line of sight; it is blocked by buildings, hills or the horizon. On a successful Electronics Operation (Sensor) roll, it can spot men on foot at 500 yards or less, moving man-sized targets or stationary vehicles at 2,500 yards, moving vehicles at 5,000 yards, and low-flying air-craft or spacecraft at up to 10 miles. Add +2 to the skill at half range; subtract 2 if trying to spot an object out to double normal range. ECM will reduce the chance of detection. To scan through jamming, roll a Quick Contest of Skill between the jammer's Electronic Operation's skill and the radar operator's. Tacscan units can also be set to detect other electronic emissions. They can detect and pinpoint emissions within 10 miles (with a successful skill roll) each turn (They are at -5 to locate microsecond burst transmissions.) They have the same ability as a radscanner (p. UT58) to detect and locate operating chem- and bioscanners. They use a C cell, which lasts for 3 months. Cost is $2,600 and weight is 5 pounds.

Medical Equipment

Portable Braintaper

It is often difficult to get to a braintaping facility in time to transfer a newly dead person's memories to a clone. A braintaper is a "quick and dirty" TL10 system that is small enough to do this on the scene; it is often carried by ambulances or on board ship. It takes half an hour to read someone's memory into the device, and requires a skill roll against Electronics Operation (Medical). Failure means another try is required; critical failure means that the scanning has disrupted brain patterns, causing possible brain damage (perhaps similar to effect of Brainwipe – see p. UT87). If successful, the device stores the person's braintape in 100 gigs of memory on a standard minidisk; at TL12 a single disk can hold up to 100 different sets of memories in separate files.

At TL10, the portable braintaper costs $110,000, weighs 200 lbs. and takes up .5 cy. It uses a D cell, which has enough power to make 1,000 braintapes. Braintapers are rarely available except to licensed physicians, and may be illegal – there are too many things a criminal (or intelligence agent) could do with such a device, such as stealing a copy of someone's mind . . .

Portable Programmer

This TL10 system is used to program a clone directly with a person's mind, or to update a clone using a brain-tape. Doing either takes 6 hours and a successful roll against Electronics Operation (Medical). Success means that the braintape was properly transferred; failure means it was accidentally erased (hope the tapes aren't self-erasing and someone had a backup copy) while critical failure indicates it worked – at least most of the memory got transferred. We hope. Or if multiple braintapes were on the same minidisk, maybe they transferred the wrong one.

Note that these rolls apply only to portable equipment. The installation at a hospital would be almost totally reliable, unless it's been tampered with or the operator has no training at all.

A programmer costs $200,000 and weighs 300 lbs., taking up .2 cy. (all halved at TL12+). It uses a D cell (good for a year or so). It must be hooked up to a clone tank (p. UT101) to function. It is usually available only to licensed physicians, but by TL11 most family doctors have one next to the automedic – politicians prefer to control the taping machinery and leave the playback equipment easily available.

Thief/Spy Gadgets

Distortion Module

This is a clamp-on distort projector the size of a pack of cigarettes, used for disguising items of basketball size or smaller (generally items under ten pounds in weight). It has the same effect as a distort belt (p. UT86). It is usually used to fool security scanners – an x-laser pistol could be made to scan as a harmless multiscanner, for example. They are only available to government intelligence agencies, or on the black market. Devices especially built for espionage may have a built-in distortion module. Works for 4 hours on an A cell. Cost at TL10 is $1,600 and weight is ½ pound.

Holodistort Belt

This combined distort belt and holobelt (see pp. UT85-86) works for 6 hours on a B cell, and automatically matches its distort readings to the holo image. Cost at TL10 is $4,000 and weight 5 pounds; holodistort disks are similar to holodisks but cost $200.

Holodistort Field

A larger model of the holodistort belt, the field will cover a radius of up to ten yards. It is used to disguise campsites, vehicles, small shuttlecraft, etc.; intruders may be shocked to discover that what appeared to be a harmless haystack is actually a guard tower with mounted Gatling laser! It is powered by an E cell for 72 hours. Cost at TL10 is $50,000; weight is 40 pounds. Disks cost $200 each.


This is a TL10 aerosol spray that obscures the chemical traces left by lifeforms. The spray covers a two-hex radius; any attempt to track a person with a biohound (p. UT84) through a masked area is at -4, and requires a roll to avoid losing the trail. Bioscanners are also at -4 to detect anyone in the masked area, though the presence of the spray itself will be easily detected. If Mask is sprayed on a person, it will disguise his own readings, but if the scanner or hound is set to follow the mask chemical, it will make him easy to track (+4 instead of -4), though the tracker could be decoyed if the chemical was sprayed on clothing, which was later removed!

Mask aerosol remains active for 24 hours; it is of limited availability outside military and intelligence organizations, since few legitimate uses exist for it. Because it disguises scent, it also baffles bloodhounds and the like. A standard canister holds five sprays. Cost is $400 and weight is ½ pound.

Paratronic Key

This TL10 tool projects a short-ranged (8") electromagnetic pulse similar to that of a paralysis gun (see p. UT73), but its intent is quite different. It is designed to open electronic locks by either disrupting the locking mechanism, or projecting a coded series of electromagnetic pulses. It gives a +3 on Lockpicking or Security Systems skill to open any electronic lock of TL10 or less. The beam can also be used to disrupt other electronic systems.

If set on "high" (1 shot burns out the power cell) it can paralyze a person. Stats are as for a paralysis gun, but SS 5, Acc 0, and range is limited to close combat; the victim rolls against HT+2 to resist. It is the size of a cigarette package. It uses a B cell, which lasts for 20 uses; cost is $800 and weight is ¼ pound.

Pocket Aerosol

This palm-sized TL7 gas dispenser holds one dose (enough to spray in a face or fill a hex) of any gas (see p. UT27). SS 5, Acc 1, Max 1, RoF 1. Its use defaults to DX. It is nonmetallic and easily concealable (+4 to Holdout) inside a pen, briefcase lock or other small object. Cost is $100 at TL7, $50 at higher TLs, plus the cost of the gas; weight is ¼ pound.

Sensor Web

A sensor web is a TL9 [TL10 – full neural interfaces don't exist at TL9! –] device: a skin-tight jumpsuit controlled by a small dedicated computer woven into the web's fabric, and linked to the user through a neural interface. It extends the range of the user's normal senses (sight, smell, hearing, and touch) to a sensitivity greater than that of most animals. The computer interprets the data and translates it into sensations that a human brain can perceive. Vision can be extended into the infrared and ultraviolet – even to X-rays, radio, and gamma-rays, allowing detection of radiation like a radscanner. Hearing can be tuned to both subsonic and ultrasonic ranges, or intensified to give a +5 bonus to hearing rolls. Smell is so acute that the wearer can track like a biohound (see p. UT84). Touch becomes fine enough that the user can feel the air movements made by a person 2 yards behind him and locate his exact position, or read by feeling the difference between ink and paper with his fingertips (assuming anything as archaic as ink-printing is still being used).

The sensor web can also translate between sensory modalities, making it of considerable interest to artists. When so programmed, the belt computer can shift sensory perceptions. If light is perceived as a tactile sensation, the impact of different wavelengths of electromagnetic energy might be felt as a constantly varying breeze. Sound could be experienced as a sensation of shifting colors. With enough experience, the user might be able to interpret the different colors as different frequencies.

In order to function properly, no other clothing or armor may be worn over it; a force screen, being transparent to slow-moving objects and most harmless wave-lengths of sound and light, does not interfere with the sensor web (except to screen out electromagnetic radiation beyond the visual-infrared area of the spectrum).

A sensor web suit has PD 1, DR 2. It uses a C cell for one year's power. It cost $60,000 and weighs 4 pounds. A sensor web can also be built onto the surface of a suit of armor, cybersuit, etc. for the same cost and weight, but it must be installed in the armor when it is first purchased.


This TL8 polymer spray produces a nearly frictionless surface when sprayed on smooth ground. The formula was originally a commercial lubricant, but "the street finds its own uses . . ." Anyone moving at more than 1 yard/second who enters a slipsprayed hex must make a DX roll (at +3 if crawling, -3 if sprinting) or slip and fall. A can of slipspray can cover 7 hexes, spraying one per turn. The spray can has a range of 2 yards. Cost is $15 and weight is ½ pound per spray can. Slipspray grenades are also available. They cost $40 and cover a 2-hex radius. Slipspray breaks down rapidly in the open; in terrestrial conditions it loses effectiveness after an hour.

Thermal Lockpick

This TL8 thief's tool consists of a contact disk and a remote (up to five yards) detonator. On a successful Lockpicking roll, it burns through all types of locks (except on a roll of 17 or 18, in which case the lock fuses and won't open at all). However, the lock is ruined and entry can't be covered up. It also burns a 3-inch hole in walls of up to DR 10. Failure of the Lockpicking roll can be risky; critical failure does 3d of burn damage to the user! The detonator uses an A cell and works five times. It comes with five contact disks. Cost is $500 and weight is 1 pound. Extra disks are $100 and 1/8 pound each.


Most lie detectors suffer from a common disadvantage – the subject is aware that he is being monitored, and may attempt to fool the sensor, or his nervousness may give false readings. The TL9 verifier avoids these problem by using bioscanner technology to monitor the subject's physiological state (heart beat, respiration, voice stress, etc.) continuously from a distance. The subject may not even be aware that he is being scanned.

A verifier has a range of 5 yards, and is no larger than a cigarette pack. It can be concealed up a sleeve or disguised as another device. It gives +5 to Detect Lies or Interrogation skill to spot deliberate lies or misinformation; this is reduced to +2 if the subject becomes aware (or guesses) that a verifier is in use. However, a verifier requires a minimum Electronics Operations (Medical) skill of 12 or better to operate. Add +1 to the skill bonus per TL over 9. It runs for 3 months continuous operation on a B cell. Cost is $1,200 and weight is one pound.

Survival and Exploration Equipment

Emergency Life Jacket

This TL8 jacket inflates automatically if totally sub-merged in water. It reduces Swimming skill by 3, but the wearer won't sink at all (even if he wants to). Cost is $20 and weight is 2 pounds; one jacket will support 400 pounds in water.

Survival Food Processor

This TL10 machine converts alien plants and animals into edible paste similar to that found in concentrated ration tubes, removing harmful toxins and viruses and adding any necessary vitamins and nutrients. As long as there is a source of compatible protein, food can be created indefinitely, though its store of vitamin-supplements will run out after one man-year of constant use.

Nearly any organic substance can be used in the processor. It works automatically, taking 1 to 6 hours (depending on the quality of the raw material) to process enough for a single meal. In its raw state the end product is not too tempting – a bland-tasting paste or dry, flaky cake, invariably gray, brown or greenish-mauve – but is perfectly edible. Flavor additives can be used to make it more palatable. A hundred packets (each good for one meal) weigh 5 pounds and cost $50. The processor can also distill simple organic compounds, like alcohol. A Survival Food Processor costs $5,500 and weighs 20 pounds; a spare dietary supplement pack is $100 and 1 pound. It runs on a C cell for 120 hours; solar cells are often installed for emergencies.

Survival Watch

This TL8 unit incorporates a dedicated wristcomp with a 100-meg database, chronometer, rad counter (see p. UT38), magnetic compass and inertial compass (see p. UT36). It is voice-activated and displays information on a tiny hi-res screen. It is standard issue to Rangers, Survey scouts, etc. It works for a year on an A cell. Cost is $300 and weight is V4 pound. At higher tech levels, a survival watch can incorporate a full-scale computer with a holographic display.


This is a TL8 sensor mainly designed to provide warning against animals. it sets off an alarm if any moving heat source larger than mouse size approaches within 3 to 20 yards (distance set by the user). It is designed not to react to movement inside three yards so that it may be set next to a sleeping person. For added security, a chain of watch-dogs can be set up in a picket line around a campsite, or one may be set near a doorway. A B cell powers one for 6 months; the unit weighs 3 pounds and costs $600.


Memory Blade

Available in small or large knife and dagger sizes. Made of a special TL9 plastic, a memory blade can be shaped to resemble practically anything of the same mass and volume. When rapidly tapped for ten seconds on a hard surface it becomes a knife (average quality), resuming its disguised shape when heated in a microwave for 30 seconds. It costs 5 times as much as a normal knife or dagger. More than three dozen different types of memory plastic are known, so a perfunctory chemscanner search is at -4 to notice memory material in luggage, etc.

Memory Guns

The memory-blade principle can be applied to other items. A laser, needler or slug-throwing weapon can be built out of several plastic parts, each of which is memory-treated to seem like something innocuous. An agent can then "shake them out" and reassemble them into a weapon. Cost of such a weapon is 20 times normal (30 for a laser). Note that there will always be a few parts that can't be made of plastic: the ammo for a slug-thrower, the crystal for a laser, the magnetic coils for a Gauss needler and so on. And of course if even one part is missing, the gun can't be reassembled without some very difficult improvisation!

Stun Cannon

Often used by riot police, these are heavy tripod-mounted TL9 sonic projectors which automatically affect every target within a 30-degree angle (see Area Effect, p. B121) Out to 100 yards; no roll to hit is required. Within the area, effects are as a hand stunner – roll vs. HT-3 (HT at 50 yards or farther) or fall unconscious. Only sealed armor gives any bonus to HT. A stun cannon's effect cannot be dodged, nor does PD (except for a deflector shield's), protect against it.



Monocrys armor, a TL8 introduction, is covered on p. UT28. Here's more detail about the three usual types of monocrys.

Monocrys is a two-phase, single-crystal metallic fiber. It offers full protection (the thicker the armor, the more protection) against crushing and cutting attacks. Regardless of thickness, it has only PD 1, DR 2 against impaling attacks like needles or laser beams, which penetrate the weave.

Light Monocrys: Light monocrys can be concealed under ordinary clothing, or even be tailored to resemble it (an IQ+2 roll to notice the armor); it is also often woven into Survey Service and Navy uniforms. A PD 2, DR 8 vest costs $400 and weighs 3 pounds. A full suit costs $1,000 and weighs 7 pounds.

Medium Monocrys: Medium monocrys is less concealable, and resembles bulky military fatigues or a heavy jacket. It is often available in camouflage or black patterns. A PD 2, DR 16 vest costs $600 and weighs 5 pounds. A full suit is $1,500 and weighs 12 pounds.

Heavy Monocrys: Heavy monocrys is obviously armor, and can only be concealed by a heavy coat or similar clothing. A PD 2, DR 24 vest costs $800 and weighs 7 pounds. A full suit costs $2,000 and weighs 16 pounds.

A monocrys vest protects the torso and groin only (hit locations 9-11 and 17-18). A full body suit protects the entire body, including a poncho-style hood that can be pulled down to protect the head, except for the face (location 5, from the front only). Vests take 10 seconds to put on and 5 to take off. A full suit takes 20 seconds to put on and 10 to take off.

Force Screens

These TL13 devices were described in general on pp. UT104-105, and their stats were listed in the tables in that book. Here's the complete description.

Personal Force Screen

The belt-mounted force-screen projector generates a form-fitting defensive field around its wearer and his armor or clothing (but not carried equipment). The belt's screen gives a DR of 200, plus 100 per TL over 13. A personal force screen may be activated manually (one second to do so) or by voice command. It takes an additional second for the screen to form, and 2 seconds to put on or take off the belt. The field does not impair the wearer's actions in any way. The screen is powered by a C cell for 15 minutes of continuous use. It costs $5,000 and weighs 2 pounds. Personal Force Screens are Legality Class 2.

Backpack Force Screen

This is a more powerful version, worn on the back, or used to defend a small campsite. In a squad, one soldier will usually carry a backpack force screen; when the screen is activated, it will usually be used to set up a strongpoint for the squad's Gatling laser. Once activated, it takes one turn for the field to form. Donning or removing the pack requires 5 seconds. The screen normally protects the wearer with DR 500, +250 per TL over 13. As long as the wearer remains stationary, he can instead extend the field to protect a 2-hex radius (his hex and all adjacent hexes) with a DR of 200. The backpack force screen uses a single D cell, lasting for an hour of continu-ous use. Cost is $25,000, weight 25 pounds and Legality Class 1.

Heavy Force Screen

Used to defend campsites or stationary vehicles, it projects a powerful force screen around an area up to 8 yards in radius. The field has DR 1,000 (+500 per TL over 13). The generator is powered by an E cell for up to half an hour of constant operation. It cost $100,000, weighs 75 pounds, has a volume of .1 cy and is Legality Class 0.

Other Devices

Clothing Fabricator

This TL8 device automatically produces clothing of different cuts, weights, patterns and colors, using a simple laser scanning booth to tailor and fit it to the individual. It is voice-controlled; a holographic projector shows what the user would look like in various selections. Fitting and tailoring can take as little as 15 minutes, much longer if the user can't make up his mind. Cost of fabric will be around 10% of a normal suit of clothing, and though the fabricator is limited to the kind of materials it has in storage, it can also wash, clean, fit, modify or even recycle old clothes. It runs off building power, or operates for a week on a D cell. Cost is $15,000, volume is 1 cy and weight is 400 pounds.

Gravitic Screwdriver

This TL12 Swiss toy is a short-ranged tractor/pressor beam guided by a ranging laser. It has a range of one foot and its controls can be worked with one hand. It can slowly levitate objects (up to ¼ pound in weight), turn a screw without touching it, suck the dust off a shard of Precursor pottery or remove a foreign object from a jammed mechanism. It is also excellent for picking TL7 or lower mechanical locks – or even pockets. It does not substitute for more specialized tools, but gives an additional +1 to any applicable skill added to other modifiers for having (or lacking) proper equipment. It has a range of one foot, and works for 6 hours of continuous use on a single B cell. Cost is $500 and weight is ½ pound.

Holographic Studio

This is all the equipment necessary for developing TL9 holographic film. On a successful Electronics Operation (Holographics) roll the film pack has been developed, at a materials cost of $100. Failure indicates one or two pictures were spoiled or fuzzy, critical failure indicates the whole batch was spoiled. The studio can also be used to produce computerized holographic animation, special ef-fects, etc. It requires a complexity 4+ computer for image enhancement. Cost is $12,000, without a computer system. Weigh is 500 pounds and volume is .5 cy as cargo. It operates for 4 months on two C cells.


This is a flat, two-foot diameter cart that floats on an air cushion. It's a TL8 device. It can be towed or pushed with ease; hoverplates are often seen around starports for moving cargo and luggage. They are also used by explorers to carry gear. They carry 500 pounds at normal walking movement rate over smooth ground or water, and run off a D cell for 2 weeks. They make a humming sound audible to a normal Hearing roll at 100 feet. Cost is $300 and empty weight is 20 pounds.

Industrial Water Knife

This TL8 device resembles a bladeless hacksaw. It is connected to a water source (usually a backpack tank) and uses a hypervelocity water jet as a blade. The water contains a suspension of glass, sand or diamond dust. The water and grit are recycled, but there is some wastage – normally two gallons per hour of cutting. It does 3d+2 cutting damage per turn. It runs off a C cell for 12 hours of use. It may be used at DX-5 as a weapon; reach is 1. Cost is $160 and weight of the saw is 8 pounds. A grit refill, good for 12 hours of use, costs $40. Backpacks vary with tankage; a full two-gallon model weighs 18 pounds.

Long-Arm Glove

This TL12 device is a heavy three-fingered gauntlet with a thick wristband containing a power cell. It can be worn over a cybersuit if desired, and must be used with a neural-interface implant or interface helmet. It contains a set of three miniature tractor/pressor beam generators (a "thumb" beam and two "finger" beams), allowing the wearer to pick up and handle objects out of his reach, as if he had extra-long arms. The user can reach up to 10 yards, with an effective ST of 12 (lifting up to 180 pounds).

The user controls the glove through movements of his own hand, "seeing" the movements of the invisible tractor/pressor hand through computer animation in the neural interface. Reaching out or pulling back causes the force field "hand" to extend or retract, while moving his hand in the glove manipulates the gravitic fingers. The hand cannot reach through solid objects, but it can grapple, use a weapon or operate a control panel; any two-handed action requires a second glove. Long-arm gloves are not easy to use; the user's DX and all DX-based skills (e.g. firing a gun held by the beams) are at -4 – this is only -2 at TL13.

Putting on or taking off long-arm gloves takes 4 seconds. The three-fingered gloves are fairly clumsy even when the beams are not in use, and give a -4 on any DX or DX-based skills which require careful manipulation. A glove requires a C cell, which operates it for 12 hours of continuous use. The armored gauntlet protects the hand with PD 4, DR 20. Each glove is $2,000 and 2 lbs.

Plasma Torch

This is a close-focus TL9 hand flamer for heavy cutting and welding. It does 7d of damage to doors, bulkheads, etc., and damage is cumulative per turn to cut through tough materials. It can be used in combat as a beam weapon at Flamer-3; SS 8, Acc 2, ½D 3, Max 10, RoF 1. It uses a D cell which lasts for 60 seconds and can be replaced in 5 turns. Cost is $750 and weight 4 pounds. Legality class is 4.

Pressure Box

This is a TL8 pressurized container (1 × 1 × 1 foot) for carrying fragile items (or pets!) through vacuum. It includes connections for air-tanks and has its own life support pack, and may be fitted with other accessories. Several boxes can be linked together to form a larger container (takes 10 seconds per box). A pressure box has DR 3 and takes up .1 cy. It costs $400 and weighs 4 pounds.

Ultra Glue

This TL8 glue bonds nearly any substance instantly, and one application holds 400 pounds; strength doubles at TL9 and again at TL10 at the same price. Non-conductive and metal-impregnated conductive glue are both available. A 1/8 pound tube good for 20 applications costs $10.

Vid Glasses

These resemble oversized sunglasses, but act as a continuous digital camera, recording TV-quality footage (with sound) on standard computer disks (see Databases on p. UT13). They are only 2-D at TL9, 3-D at TL10+. Cost is $600; weight is ½ pound. For an extra $100 they may include a broadcast unit (a short-ranged communicator), allowing live video and sound transmission to any video display-equipped communicator in range. For an extra $600 they incorporate multiview goggles (see p. UT33). Power is from two A cells for 6 months.

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