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In an alterante universe where Nazi Germany conquered the world, an unfortunate soul has ended up like Cliff Steele from Doom Patrol; his brain has been removed from its original body by a mad nazi doctor, suspended in a vat of life-sustaining liquid, and wired up to a new, robotic body.

Thing is, while Doom Patrol did an amazing job of portraying how someone might feel about this turn of events, it kinda failed to explore what that person might actually be feeling in terms of the lost senses, such as phantom limb syndrome, within the first days or weeks, and kinda glossed over the difficulties of getting used to a completely different body.

Thus, I pose this question;

What might these difficulties and sensations be for our unfortunate victim?

Stuff to consider:

  • The body has visual and audio sensors and a speaker that lets it talk. However, the visual is a tad grainy at times, the sounds are a bit flat, and the speech is a little staticky.
  • The robot body moves mostly like a normal human being, but please note the emphasis on the word mostly. It doesn't have an animate face and can't do facial expressions, for one, and it's also much, much, much stronger and tougher than the victim's old body. Also, the nazi doctor outfitted the body with jet thrusters that give the body's user the option to punch, jump, run, and such with significantly more speed and force, at the cost of dexterity and control.
  • The body has no olfactory, tactile, or gustatory sensors, and in fact, does not require food or water. In essence, the body can't feel, smell, or taste stuff.
  • This is in the very short term; I'm looking for issues that crop up within the first few hours after the brain wakes up in its new body and the first few weeks. Anything that only crops up once a month or more passes need not be mentioned.
  • Physiological issues can also include problems with mobility and emotional expression in addition to phantom pain syndrome.
  • The body does have proprioception sensors, but it doesn't have pain sensors. It does have a damage report system that lets the victim know when his robot body has been damaged, but the system doesn't produce sensations of pain to correspond with damaged parts.
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  • $\begingroup$ The auditory nerve feeds back on itself. People who go deaf actually hear things (the nerve signals back into the brain). This can be remembered sound (like songs) or just noise (like random pitches).. I don't know how the audio feeds into the brain, so it's a thought, not an answer. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Sep 10 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ At best he'd be like a newborn baby trying to control its body. Likely wouldn't even hear or see properly for a while too because your nervous system is uniquely yours, not a mass-produced thing that can simply be drop-in replaced. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 11 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ Does the robot body have proprioception and pain/danger sensors? Without the former, it’s unusable. Without the latter, it’s doomed. $\endgroup$
    – Ottie
    Sep 11 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Ottie Addressed your questions. Yes, the body does have proprioception, and it does have pain sensors... but they work more like a diagnostic test than like actual pain. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Sep 11 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ You don't post a new question when the original one is closed. You rather edit the old one and get it reopened. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 12 at 2:58

1 Answer 1

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The brain still perceives.

The nazi doctor was mad, but not angry and not mean. The doctor was aware that his dying brother's brain destined for the jar would suffer for lack of sensory inputs. The robot body available did not have the hardware to generate inputs of taste, smell and feel. So the doctor crosswired vision and hearing to also produce taste smell and feel inputs. Vision and hearing thus become more than they were.

Vision is crossed with taste and smell and the simplest way was to have different colors trigger different smell inputs; mostly smell. There are about 100 different smells that can be generated by visual field inputs. Your cyborg smells what it sees. It also tastes what it sees and this has to do with light level and possibly motion in the visual field. Bright things are very salty. Dark things are sweet. Sour is a little bit unpredictable and only very occasionally does the cyborg taste something bitter; that seems random and might not be working right. Actually bitter (and umami and sometimes sour) are triggered by radio waves of certain frequencies and the cyborg does not understand how to use that.

Feeling is crossed with hearing. Hearing is actually produced by nine inputs around the robot body and so is more precise than hearing with two ears. The sensory apparatus of the brain is only rigged to use two ears but the area of the body in the direction of the sound generates a feeling which varies according to volume, pitch and other sound characteristics. The cyborg hears with its whole body and that is great.

The mad doctor also crossed the pleasure circuit in with hearing. Certain sounds feel good. When not at work the cyborg sits in a little gazebo it made and plays guitar. It does not sleep, and so it plays all night.

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  • $\begingroup$ The situation I was imagining was a nazi doctor just ripping out an unfortunate 'Untermenschen's' brain and cramming it into the robot body with no regard for the subject's suffering. That being said, this does remind me of an experiment where people who saw something as orange juice would taste it as such, even if it was really grape juice. The brain, deprived of touch and smell, might set up this sort of cross-wiring of its own accord, 'inferring' what stuff might smell or feel like based on auditory and visual information and generating the associated sensations. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Sep 11 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Everyone expects that scenario with the no-regard-to-suffering nazi doctor. I envision a different one - the mad doctor, his younger brother mortally wounded. Dok does the best he can with what he has. He does pretty well. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 11 at 23:02

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