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#6: SharkNose, “The Nose that Pros Know Knows”
Sold by: Green Excelsior Evo Solutions
SharkNose started out as an okay idea. Since many Ottsalian sharks have the ability to sense electric fields with their noses, Green Excelsior designed a dynavolution surgery that gave humans a shark nose. Of course, SharkNose couldn’t do anything that a handheld electrician’s sensor couldn’t, but the surgery saw some limited success among engineers who wanted to keep their hands empty.
Just one problem, obvious in hindsight: Green Excelsior didn’t do adequate safety testing. When anyone with a SharkNose smelled blood, they’d go into a feeding frenzy, trying to bite anything nearby. Yikes! After a lot of bystanders were hospitalized with minor bite injuries, the product was discontinued, alongside a very public apology.
#5: Smarter Blood
Sold by: Enterios Corporation
After the release of Trisekle’s patented Smart Blood (you know, the augmentation that wires up your arteries to let you store extra oxygen and view your vital signs in real-time), Enterios decided to release their competing version. Smarter Blood was cutting edge, but boy, did someone on their dev team get over-excited. Smarter Blood could carry twice the oxygen, at four times the price tag—but someone at R&D took the name too literally, and it also tried to make blood pressureactually intelligent.
What would you do if a drop of your blood could solve math problems? Probably just buy a calculator, because eww, gross. After being a huge commercial embarrassment, Smarter Blood was discontinued after a year, with good reason, and there’s a reason you never hear it mentioned anymore—Enterios would much rather push their newer, less ridiculous, Oxo Blood replacement product.
#4: autoFloss, self-cleaning teeth
Sold by: Nu-Trex Solutions (defunct)
Talk about a needless luxury! Back in the 180’s, Nu-Trex tried to market a high-end line of body replacement parts targeted at the super-rich. Turns out, though, not many of the galaxy’s corporate executives were interested in the perceived stigma of cybernetic augmentation, just to make life a bit easier.
And while some of Nu-Trex’s products might have actually been useful to the busy executives who could afford them (Sleep-Less hormonal implants for instance, or Head-Case, neural implants for streaming instant video), U-Floss-It was a real doozy. Not actually a flossing system at all, the augmentation consisted of entirely synthetic teeth, complete with gum-implanted lasers for easy cleaning of food waste and bacteria stabilization. But would anyone sane really want to spend 10,000 credits on something like that?
#3: U-DAD, the at-home nursing kit
Sold by: Triskele Corporation
Aww, okay, this one’s actually pretty sweet, even if it didn’t sell well. In 168, Triskele unveiled the U-DAD, a cybernetic augmentation that allowed non-traditional parents to synthetically dispense milk to a nursing baby. Unfortunately, the price tag was rather high for a product that most customers would only use for a year at most, and post-release focus groups showed that 99.8% of parents preferred just using a plastic baby bottle. Today, while the U-DAD is no longer manufactured, Triskele maintains a sizable unsold stock for customers interested in a bit of vintage novelty technology.
Sold by: Quercus Geneworks (defunct)
What would you do with eyes in the back of your head? Probably blink a lot, because you’d just get hair in them. But what if you also got eyes on the back of your hands? And the tips of your fingers? Sure, your vision would be great, but typing would get a lot more difficult.
Quercus Geneworks, operating from 170 to 173, specialized in “unpredictable” Dynavolution, discount genetic engineering with often unpredictable results that was marketed as a “fun surprise.” Popular mostly with thrill-seekers and misguided teens, iEyes was their flagship product, an experimental surgery that caused buyers to grow ten to fifty additional eyes, randomly distributed all over their bodies. For both iEyes and their other products HandsOn and FootWhere, this had all sorts of unforeseen consequences. Let’s just say, there are some places you really don’t want to grow eyes. After a few lawsuits, Quercus filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by the Triskele Corporation, whose executives quickly retooled their product line to only manufacture reliable, predictable evolutionary surgeries.
#1: Tastyhair, the hair that tastes
Sold by: GalacTech Senseology (defunct)
Eww. Eww, eww, eww. It’s hard to even write about this. Tastyhair was a set of high-tech electrochemical sensors, connected an Augment’s scalp in a brush of wiry protrusions that looked a lot like hair. Unfortunately, the manufacturers decided to connect it directly to the subject’s senses of taste and smell. Why was this problematic? It turns out most of the chemicals that are actually useful to test for in an industrial setting taste—and smell—really really bad. While Enterios initially contracted a number of Augment laborers with Tastyhair for sensitive manufacturing jobs, job performance quickly dropped, due to all the nausea and dizziness involved in constantly smelling and tasting everything. Even worse were the stories from Tastyhair users who reported trying, in error, to shampoo their hair. Gross!
GalacTech started out as an experimental joint venture by Enterios and the now-defunct Alkaly Circuits, but after their first product, everyone involved pretended very quickly that the company never existed. I can see why! Eww.
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