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Welcome to the cyber world: the real world of Alita technology: Battle Angel



<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/alita1E-800×525.jpg" alt = "The world of a futuristic cyborg is depicted in Alita: The battle angel has several promising analogues of the real world. "/>
Zoom / The futuristic cyborg world is depicted in Alita: Battle Angel has many promising real analogs.

CGI-heavy cinematic world Alita: Battle Angel, crowded with various types of cyberpunk toys that only dream of. But while most technologies in Alita are futuristic, it is consciously based on real-world modern technologies, to the vision of producer James Cameron.

(The smallest spoilers for Alita: Battle Angel Below you can read basically without the spoiler review Sam Machkovech here.)

Set about 600 years in the future, the world of cyberpunk Alita: Battle Angel is an anti-utopian society where people in Iron City take anything useful, especially technology, in Scrapyard, where everything that is thrown out of the floating city of Zalom, where the elite resides, is stored. There is a series of tubes where products are shipped from the Iron City to the Zalem (in exchange for the refusal of the latter), but otherwise the two worlds never mix. A taster is a place where a good physician finds the head of the cyber ally, keeping her carefully preserved human brain. He immediately knows that he is browsing the highly developed technology from three centuries earlier, losing it in a timely fashion, and rehabilitates it. The story follows her innocent amnesiac to a cruel warrior.

We will leave aside the problematic (from the physical point of view) the floating city of Zalom, although the concept of a space elevator is a very topical issue with high hopes. Each film receives a limited amount of what the industry calls "buys": elements of history that are not expected to be realistic, but viewers hope to pause the unbelief and accept them as part of the background. That's what puts science fiction in science fiction.

In this garbage economy, people find old technology in Scrapyard and re-profile it. Sensors are practically widespread in the life of the 21

st century, found in appliances, televisions, cars, planes, medical devices, and the like. According to Matt Gould, an engineer in the aerospace industry TE Connectivity, who specializes in sensor technology, they would be equally critical for the realization of the types of futuristic cyborgs depicted in Alita . "Many of the mechanical properties that you see on cyborgs are based on reality. You have gear transmissions and drives," said Gould. "And then you go down to how these exaggerated limbs communicate with the human brain."

Once and the future technical

One-wheeled and electric bikes already exist, for example; The design of the film for them was simply modified to look like a cooler and more futuristic. Through Gould, contactless contacts could distribute battery energy efficiently instead of a gas-fired internal combustion engine, along with a gyroscopic balancing system. Alita Berserker's body of cyberspace, a technology that is rare even in its futuristic world, is strong enough to withstand the impact, but also extremely flexible to allow it to move freely. We already have "reasonable armor" made with unusual materials that are flexible, but still harden in response to the impact to protect the owner. We also have a number of self-healing materials – another unique feature of the body berserk Alita.

She needed touch sensors to feel everything she touched (such as her love, Hugo, face) and the nano servo range. Neural energy links would be needed to transfer energy from the cedar "heart" of Ality to their cyborg body, as well as high-speed data banks, to connect her brain to her body. The heart itself is a miniature reactor (I think a miniature arc reactor Tony Stark, who manages his costume from an iron man), allegedly capable of managing the railway city for many years. Unfortunately, this is far from to come, although there are several competing large-scale fusion projects worldwide. (Economies of scale simply do not exist to make it a viable source of energy.)

Regarding the cruel game of Motorball – a hybrid of the derby on rollers and Death Race 2000 -Goul claims that those Rocket Skates can be harnessed by microturbines , supplemented by miniature gyroscopes based on MEMS and speed sensors, to track its speed and changes in direction. There may also be gyroscopes and magnetism sensors that allow you to engineer your camera, making it more chaotic and increasing the challenge for players.

This is also a world filled with human hybrids / cyborgs. Since life is so heavy below, many residents increase their bodies, sometimes just with unregulated prosthetics. Those who become warrior hunters (mainly cyborg hunters) and / or those who compete in the fictitious sport Motorball, go a lot further. They replace the various parts of the body by prosthetics, which include any amount of creative weapons or useful devices to give them an advantage. We are nowhere near this kind of technological capability, but seeds of such an increase already exist, thanks to advanced research in robotics, prosthetics, exoskeleton, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), and so on.

Aaron Eames, Mechanical Engineer at Caltech, who specializes in robotics, believes that the revolution in robotics will be the opposite of the computer revolution. "Computers started out as these monolithic stuff that filled the rooms, then they were on your desktop, then they were in your pocket," he said. "I imagine that the work goes to the other side. They start in your pocket, take the drive and put it on the phone. [A smart phone] already has all the necessary processing in many respects, and it will grow from more complex applications.

The revolution could would begin with exoskeletons, which Ames considers most likely means by which robotic amplification will find its way to the public sphere. His laboratory develops an exoskeleton, which allows paraplegics, for example, to walk, and also provide robotic help for other motor times One of the biggest mechanical tasks is to figure out how to implement hard, hard drives, and similar devices to determine which human body (the area of ​​the so-called "what's the kind of robotics" ) Mechanics need to be synergized with carefully designed algorithms that, in turn, must synchronize with the dynamic movements of the human body.

This is much more complicated than it sounds, because from a simple mathematical point of view, a simple act of walking is incredibly complicated. . "It's hard to explain to the public how difficult it is, because we accept it as a matter of course," said Ames. – But walking is one of the hardest things a robot can do. This is basically controlled fall: with each step we catch ourselves from falling to the face, restoring the balance. This is a periodic movement, like plants rotated around the Sun, and we are well aware of those movements . But planets do not compete with ever-changing terrain: grass, sidewalks, rocky soils or ice, for example.

I, Cyborg

Translating this complexity into what can interact with robotic auxiliaries, such as an exoskeleton, is a challenge. Professor Eames builds a pedestrian robot in his lab that can "learn" the appropriate step for maximum stability and low energy consumption in real time, thanks to carefully designed optimization algorithms. One of them, named Cassie, even went for a walk around the Caltech campus.

But movements are slow and ineffective in comparison with human movement. "There was no power unit with an on-board drive that would actually increase the walking efficiency for a person, which means we have not yet understood this formula," said Ames, "not taking into account the formula for running, jumping, climbing basketball, or [19659006] Ames Group also develops a robotic prosthetic that can automatically feel how fast the user is going and adjust his step to fit. The leg has a flexible ankle that can move in two directions for a more natural, fluid move. His colleague Caltech, Richard Anderson, was one of the first scientists to create neuro-regulated prosthesis through implanted brain and computer interfaces. According to Ames, the current crop is predominantly for weapons, because weapons have a certain amount of stability.

"If you turn a little around in your movements, you will not fall," he said. On the other hand, the prosthesis controlled by it is a huge challenge because they do not have inherent stability

. There is also an unknown problem in BCI itself, because implants require surgery in the brain with all the risks involved, including infection, coma, intracerebral hemorrhage, seizures, and infection. Devices also worsen over time. In the event of a device malfunction, more operations are required to recover or remove the device. The risk is in favor of paraplegics (or people with severe epilepsy), but safety concerns are likely to push many people away from the implantation of BCI in their brain – at least in the near future.

I think we're making a mistake while waiting for computers to be like us.

Alita itself, of course, is almost entirely cyborg. Only her brain is a person associated with her mechanical and electrical body. According to Ames, we never reach such a level of neural control or download an individual consciousness. "This is a good dream, but I think we're making a mistake while waiting for computers to be like us," he said. Artificial neural networks can simulate many layers of the brain and weighed signals that pass through the network of nodes. But the human body is much more complex. He makes an analogy with the invention of airplanes. Airplanes do not exactly imitate nature, waving wings; Another scientist, Caltech, Joel Burdick, explores the use of stimulation of the spinal cord as a form of nerve control. He found that the application of voltage to the spinal cord of paraplegics can cause movement from their otherwise paralyzed legs. This is just one example of how wider our concept of neural control can be.

"Our brain only makes a piece of work when we go," said Ames. "There is a lot of control of the spinal cord that happens, and that the schemes are different from the circuits in our brain."

Alita: Battle Angel struggling in the domestic box office this weekend for various reasons. This is a shame because, in addition to being truly interesting an adapted original manga, it offers a clever vision of how future cyber-technology can look. – The film, I say, okay, it's unreal, but how can it be realistic? What steps can we take to allow us to do these things? – said Ames. "This is about science fiction: ask what is possible. It makes you ask creative questions."


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