Without the use of an imaginary near-infinite power source like an arc reactor, but allowing for advances in cybernetic and human-machine technology, what kind of Superpowers can be gained with cybernetics? What would be normal for the average Joe?

A similar question has been brought up in Powering Adam Jensen, but it seems like the answers require energy technologies we don't have.

Some obvious ones that come to mind are superhuman strength, speed, and embedded military technology, a la Adam Jensen. What else is possible with this limitation?

EDIT As per suggestion, here are some parameters:

  • The powers do not have to be constantly available, but should last for at least a few minutes, enough that when you need it, you have it to complete the task you need the powers for
  • No Nanotechnologies that aren't already available to us
  • The powers should be made available without constantly sitting down and recharching them at an outlet, batteries and solar arrays, or other ways to make charging portable is acceptable
  • Using the powers should not render the user incapable of regular function. For example, you can lift a car and drain most of your energy, but your leg and spine cybernetics should still work like normal, barring extreme situations
  • With the exception of nanotechnologies, the aforementioned power source, and genetic modifications, advances in related technologies is allowed
  • $\begingroup$ I think that we need a lot more parameters here. What do you need superpowers for? And more importantly, for how long? It's going to be very different for a 10 minute fight than it will be if you need to go for several days without refuelling/recharging. $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2017 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Let's be clear about terminology - cybernetics per se can not give some powers like superstrength. We may need advances in other related areas like biomechanics and direct neural interface. So, to answer this question correctly, how advanced we can be in those areas? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jun 27, 2017 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander As much as you think is necessary, as long as you explain what those advances might be $\endgroup$
    – Jim Wu
    Jun 27, 2017 at 17:27

3 Answers 3


Electro-magnetic communications are low power and could offer approximations of some traditional supportive superpowers.

Vision X-ray vision, night vision, spidy-sense.

We can give the cyborg cameras and lights in UV or IR, or radar, sonar or back scatter to allow him to see very well in total darkness to a normal human and through some obstacles. We could give him cameras facing all directions to avoid surprises. Adding radios could allow triangulation of radio sources (everything in the modern world).danger

Databases Sherlock Holmes deduction, spidy-sense.

Seeing is good, but knowing what you are looking at is better. With access to databases the cyborg might be able to automatically identify the vast majority of things, allowing him to ignore the 99% of the data he doesn't need to deal with, and bringing to his attention the relevance of some non-obvious detail. Currently the best versions require a connection to servers so it wouldn't be totally independent, though how much we can make portable is getting better.

Reactions Gymnastics, bullet dodging. -Not really supper powers, but it seems a requirement for super heroes.

Seeing a gun and identifying that it's about to fire a bullet at you only gets you so far. Moving to take the hit as best as possible might be automatable, and shifting mass to always land on your feet, or at least get back up instantly and fairly gracefully should be possible without need much more power than normal use. Having 'your' limbs move without making them might take some getting used to.

Breathing Water Breathing, Poison gas resistance.

Good filters and the pumps to keep them from slowing down the air supply might be useful even with low power and bulk requirements. At least you could extend his ability to hold his breath by adding small O2 tanks and scrubbing CO2. Current re-breathers are a bit big to install, but they might be expected to get smaller.


Well not healing, but not dieing as easily and maybe fighting after you really should stop. We might apply first-aid automatically like tourniquets and bandages to not die from serious injury and maybe some medications to deal with pain, reduce shock and stop caring about being hurt. The consequences of continuing to use broken bones can be icky, and drugs that stop you caring about pain might have behavioral side effects you might not want in a living weapon.


With implanted computer (equipped with state of the art hacking software) and WiFi controller, human would be able to command all other computers and mechanisms in his presence without lifting a finger.

  • $\begingroup$ I like it. Think swarm of tiny drones. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2019 at 10:35

I think a sort of bionic eye would be pretty close to possible, with little energy usage. Something that could see across a larger spectrum.

I've seen some fancy shoes that allow a guy to run pretty fast that don't even use batteries. Like this one: The fastest man in the world

Or this one: Power bocking


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