A Personality-Integrated Cybernetic Avatar, commonly abbreviated to PICA, was a piece of technology allowing humans to have their consciousness "uploaded" into a cybernetic recreation of themselves.
Technical data Edit
A PICA was basically a highly advanced robotic vehicle, specifically designed to allow human beings to experience dangerous situations without actually endangering themselves. The first PICAs had been obvious machines, but second- and third-generation versions were improved until they became fully articulated, full-sensory-interface, virtual copies of the original human they were designed after.
PICA "muscles" were constructed of advanced composites, enormously powerful but exactly duplicating the natural human musculature. Their skeletal structure duplicated the human skeleton, but was many times stronger, and the hollow bones were used for molecular circuitry and power transmission. And a final-generation PICA's "brain", located about where humans kept their liver, was almost half the size of a real one.
It also incorporated substantial nanotech-based self-repair capabilities that could repair a PICA pretty much from scratch provided they had access to basic raw materials and power. The power core itself was protected by a centimeter-thick shell of battle steel.
A PICA could be directly neurally linked to the individual for whom it had been built, but the bandwidth required limited the linkage to relatively short ranges. All PICAs were hardwired to prevent any other individual from ever linking with it, since the individual operating a PICA was legally responsible for its actions.
Eventually, advances in cybernetics reached the level of approximating the human brain's capabilities, providing the same memory storage through molecular circuitry and the same thinking ability through energy-state CPUs.
The new brain capability made remote operation of a PICA possible at last. A last-generation PICA's owner could actually load a complete electronic analogue of his personality and memories into the model in order to take it into potentially dangerous environments outside the direct neural linkage's limited transmission range.
There'd been some concern, when that capability came along, about possible "rogue PICAs" running amok under personality analogues which declined to be erased, so Federation law required any downloaded personality to be automatically erased within an absolute maximum of 240 hours from the moment of the PICA's activation under its analogue's control.