I'm writing a somewhat cyberpunk story and I want to know how things work in that world, even if it is not explained in the story. It was designed as a bit futuristic settings, though some of things they do can already be done in this world.
So, just to explain tech level, some things that are available:
- GMO-people – illegal, but totally possible, and some successful experiments have been done
- bionic joints – rather common and are usually installed in case of bad trauma
- bionic limbs – exist, but are more rare
- synthetic skin that looks and feels almost like real skin (and provides tactile feedback)
- HUD that is just a bit bigger than usual glasses (and with real reality augmentation, not just a small image at the corner)
- small, one-person aircraft with bird-like flight mechanic, controlled by body motion (really new development, not so long ago was thought to be impossible)
- and more cool gadgets, I'll try to remember some and add later.
One of the characters wears a suit made of individual scales. This suit provides some data, like heartbeat and such and can register injuries. Its "brain" is enclosed in a vambrace which also (supposedly) contains some power source. The suit also can protect its wearer from sliding knife hit (no from direct one). I guess it's made of some fancy polymer, maybe graphene covered or with nano-wiring. It is light (you could wear it whole day and it would be OK and doesn't restrict movement.
Now the difficult part: suit can be completely disassembled to individual scales and then assembled back (it won't be so easy though, imagine a human-size jigsaw), but anyway, you can unfasten it the way you need and all. And if some scales get broken, they can be replaced with new ones.
This means that scales must be held together strong enough, but yet be easy to take apart if you know how. The question is: how can this be done?
So far I thought of
- magnetic/electromagnetic system that holds scales together. But it seems over-complicated and not very reliable. And it's not clear if it would be bad for health to wear such a magnetic thing.
- some mechanic way to lock the scales, but all I came up with is either too difficult to disassemble or not reliable enough.
Cloth backing isn't a good idea because if suit gets damaged (e.g. shot through), you will need to somehow mend the cloth, so just changing a scale or two won't be so easy. Some cloth suit beneath the scaled one is possible though.
Crucial moment with disassembling or unfastening the suit: it is intended that you can fasten and unfasten it without any instrument (maybe with just one small tool) as the suit doesn't have any other way to be put on or taken off but by partial disassembling.
Please, no unobtanium-based stuff. And definitely no GM-creatures. It should be somewhere between "a semi-working prototype of this already exists" and "We don't have quite the technology needed for this, but it's clear what is needed and looks achievable in some 10 years if we put our mind to it." Graphene – hell yes, we have it, and we use it already, and any plausible usage of it is absolutely OK. Some sort of fungus infused with insect DNA to give it a chitin coating and octopus DNA so that it has tiny tentacles – big no-no.