The advances for prosthetics keeps on coming. Move over Jamie Summers - the first Bionic Woman is Claudia Mitchell. As the Washington Post states:


Mitchell, who lives in Ellicott City, is the fourth person — and first woman — to receive a “bionic” arm, which allows her to control parts of the device by her thoughts alone. The device, designed by physicians and engineers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, works by detecting the movements of a chest muscle that has been rewired to the stumps of nerves that once went to her now-missing limb.

Mitchell and the first person to get a bionic arm — a power-line technician who lost both arms to a severe electric shock — will demonstrate their prostheses today at a news event in Washington. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is part of a multi-lab effort, funded with nearly $50 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to create more useful and natural artificial limbs for amputees.




As I mentioned previously, if there is anything good to come out of the Iraqi conflict, its the massive dollars going into prosthetics research. The Washington Post reports that “as of July, 411 members of the military serving in Iraq, and 37 in Afghanistan, have suffered wounds requiring amputation of at least one limb.” Soldiers who have put their lives on the line only to lose a part of themselves are beginning to have options to lead normal lives again.


Jesse Sullivan has two prosthetic arms, but he can climb a ladder at his house and roll on a fresh coat of paint. He’s also good with a weed-whacker, bending his elbow and rotating his forearm to guide the machine. He’s even mastered a more sensitive maneuver _ hugging his grandchildren.

The motions are coordinated and smooth because his left arm is a bionic device controlled by his brain. He thinks, “Close hand,” and electrical signals sent through surgically re-routed nerves make it happen.

Jesse Sullivan demonstrates one of his prosthetic arms by using a paint roller on the side of his house, July 20, 2006, in Dayton, Tenn. His left arm is is a bionic device wired directly into his brain. Sullivan lost his arms in May 2001, working as a utility lineman. (AP Photo/Mark Gilliland)
Jesse Sullivan demonstrates one of his prosthetic arms by using a paint roller on the side of his house, July 20, 2006, in Dayton, Tenn. His left arm is is a bionic device wired directly into his brain. Sullivan lost his arms in May 2001, working as a utility lineman.

Doctors describe Sullivan as the first amputee with a thought-controlled artificial arm.


But it doesn’t stop at soldiers - in the short term, innovations with connecting prosthetics directly to the nervous system will benefit anyone who has lost a limb. People have started to have “JJ Arms” style prosthetics collections tailored toward the various tasks they engage in (different legs for running, walking, etc.). Unfortunately for most non-vets, insurance companies are not helping, but perhaps this too will be addressed. From a cyberpunked living standpoint, I contend that over time, this will march humanity closer to a post-human future - one in which people can begin experimenting with additional prosthetics - ones which don’t mimic our existing body type.




But it doesn’t stop there folks! There’s animals too. From three-legged cows in search of another hoof to now, even dolphins are getting into the act! The Sun Sentinel reports a story about a dolphin who’s tail got cut off is in line for a new tail!


The solution for Winter may be a prosthetic tail. If the logistics can be worked out, Winter’s prosthesis would be the first for a dolphin who lost its tail and the key joint that allows it to move in powerful up-and-down strokes. Another dolphin in Japan has a prosthesis, the first in the world, to replace a missing part of its tail.


When the satirical news sites start making up stories about prosthetics, you know its hit the mainstream. People are even nuking prosthetic penises to pass drug tests! I still remember as a wee little kid back in the early 70s being scared shitless when I saw a guy doing laundry with a fake arm in the shape of a hook. How we have advanced. Now, those with prosthetics barely merit a flick of the eye. People with prosthetics no longer hide them - in fact they are starting to celebrate them by displaying and personalizing them. In short, our view of a “normal person” is shifting to something far more encompassing. This is a great thing - times are a changin!

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living, News as Cyberpunk by SFAM.

AMD Matrix Fiasco


In the Meatspace, ETM posted this unintentionally hilarious (mis)use of the Matrix. American Micro Devices, in an attempt to create an online exhibit hall (as if we all enjoy going to exhibits when they aren’t giving out cheesy trinkets) has exceeded their level of creative expertise in creating an “immersive” experience for differentiating AMD chips from Intel.


AMD Matrix Fiasco


Unfortunately, to see this, you’ll have to visit AMD’s wiz-bang trinketless flash-enabled exhibition site. I say unfortunately because the thing takes forever to download. To get to the matrix video, you need to click on the AMD booth (circled in red in this picture) and then click on the top of the chip (where the arrow points). You will then be treated to some unintentional hilarity not to be missed!


AMD Matrix Fiasco


The part of Morpheus is played by a not-so-mysterious dude named “Hector” who doesn’t speak english all that well, but at least he backs up his performance with truly horrid acting. I’m hoping they just took random dudes from their office to make this, ’cause if they paid for actors, DAMN!!!


AMD Matrix Fiasco


Unfortunately, the Neo substitute has chosen the wrong color mint, so he gets teleported to an Intel environment, which as you can see, is akin to hell on earth! It’s just so HOT!!! And all the cables keep exploding on him!!!


AMD Matrix Fiasco


After almost dying in um, the real world, or whatever the Intel environment is supposed to represent, Hector takes the Neo substitute to the clean matrix loading program, which just happens to be powered by AMD. It’s just so clean!!! Too bad its just a loading program and is not real, or are we not supposed to take that thought away from this Matrix analogy?


In any event, If there were ever an arguement to buy Intel, this is it!!! One has to wonder if its possible that the same people who made this are actually competent at making good computer chips. Worse, apparently AMD is so impressed with their exhibition site, they’ve taken the time to spam IT discussion boards to advertise it. Way to go AMD!!

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living by SFAM.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Introduction: I recently saw Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Society in its original Japanese without Subtitles. At a cost of over $3.2 million, this lavish continuation of the Ghost In The Shell saga is a feature length movie of the successful Stand Alone Complex TV series. Because I haven’t seen it with subtitles, this will be a different type review than is normally posted here. I don’t speak Japanese, but thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s hard to get across just how different this feature-length film is compared to what’s come before it. There’s a lot more atmosphere and quiet calm about it, with less emphasis on action.

~Ste McNay


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Overview: Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society premiered on Japanese pay-per-view television on September 1st 2006. Eagerly anticipated by fans, it is exclusive to its native country. It is not scheduled to reach America and Europe until sometime in 2007! The DVD in Japan is set to be released on November 24th. There’s been no indication of DVD specs. but sales to other countries will sky-rocket, depending if there are English subs or English dub that predates other regions’ releases by up to six months.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Story: The story takes place two years after the events in Stand Alone Complex 2nd GiG, after Kusanagi left Section 9. Section 9 has expanded to a team of 20 field operatives with Togusa acting as the field lead. They are confronted by a number of mysterious cases that lead them to the main culprit, a super wizard class hacker - The Puppeteer - but all is not what it seems…


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Into The Shell: As an English viewer with no grasp of Japanese, watching Solid State Society was quite a satisfying experience. Good filmmaking and storytelling is supposed to be about images, and this illustrates that you don’t need to know the language to understand what’s going on. We are shown and we see, and we are part of the whole viewing experience. I’m an avid fan of all things Ghost In The Shell and I was keen to set my sights on seeing Solid State Society. This is what I think of it after seeing it twice. It’s a film that gets inside your head and will leave you thinking about it, pondering the meanings for days to come with its advanced visuals.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Sound: Amazing layered soundscapes with movie-style FX that sound really cool. It gives more than a few Hollywood blockbusters a run for it’s aural senses. I’d say that DTS is definitely the order of the day for the DVD. We have digital sound effects that add to the realism, but it’s the little atmospheric details that really blew me away.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The driving scenes are a perfect example of the impressive sound design that has gone into Solid State Society. It may not have had a theatrical run, but the theatrical nature of the film is evident in the sight and sound of every shot. The confrontation of characters in the middle of the film is a perfect example of the use of direct sound, when, at one point, two bullets go head-to-head, in-shot, in-flight – a moment of suspended time that will send shivers down your spine, heightened with standout sound design.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Visuals: Beautiful backgrounds. Light reflections on the characters bring this animated film alive and in a league of its own. Think Blade Runner style upped a few notches, transferred to anime, and you have the “look” of the film. It’s beautiful! It’s clear a lot of effort has gone into making Solid State Society.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The cinematography has a green look to it, very reminiscent of The Matrix, but used more expressionistically with more skill. Gone is the yellow-amber look from the series, and the grungy look from the previous Ghost In The Shell films has been replaced with economic realism of a modern Japan. Prominent throughout is the theme of identity, emphasised symbolically with duality shots through most of the film. We have characters reflected in windows and glass, and there is the stark contrast of characters on their own contemplating their fate.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are a ton of computer user-displays throughout and each one has been hand-animated and these are a sight to be seen. They clearly rival any of the transition scenes in The Matrix sequels and look a whole lot better than their CGI counterparts. Some of the angles used are very impressive and we get lots of different perspectives and point of view shots. This is a more immersive experience than the Stand Alone Complex TV series, with more movement and attention to detail that a hefty budget brings.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Style: We get a couple of Nissan’s concept cars thrown in for product placement, and they look very stylish and not over-the-top as you’d expect them to be if it were made anywhere but Japan. The last scene of the film features, I suspect, a product placement for a well-known Japanese soda, but I haven’t a clue what it is!


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are a couple of freeway scenes that are simply stunning and I forgot I was watching an animated film! It’s hard to tell whether these are digitally cell-shaded, but I suspect they are, as the movement is very natural and realistic, and the reflections on the cars have a photorealistic dimension to them. That being said, this amounts to about 1% of digital art, the rest is pure traditional animation, and it is perfect!


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Many of the shots look like paintings and there are lots of dark hues in the background. The attention to detail is paramount here and a lot of care and attention has gone into each and every scene. This, for me, is where Anime excels over live-action. Films just don’t look as good as this. Quality is what Solid State Society has in spades.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are over a dozen action scenes and set pieces, each one vastly different than the last adds to an adrenaline-fuelled experience. There is lots of shooting, which is to be expected, and a lot of running around and race against time moments. It’s suspenseful and very, very stylish.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Cyberpunk: Well it’s all going on here and we are served up a host of subjective cyberpunk antics. We have ghost dives a plenty that rival any of The Matrix hijinks with their internal interface unit that is nothing short of a digital trip.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The visual aesthetic of cyberpunk is put to good use with more than a few scenes coming into their own with a more contemporary cyberpunk look, rather than an impossible future. It’s reminiscent of Blade Runner’s native film noir style and would be totally acceptable in present-day living.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The corporate world is emphasised with the conglomerate companies’ domain in the WTC Twin Towers style buildings, or the Tax Tower, depending on your cultural standpoint. Politically, this shows Japan’s strength in social and political terms. The power of a corporate group over the will of individuals, at times unsettling, but emphasised as the less of two evils in the modern way of Japanese life.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The pursuit of information is the key to Solid State Society. Each character holds information that is necessary to the balance of the future, and Section 9 is after the information to keep a stable balance on their Solid State Society. The Puppeteer serves as a great example of this as the action hots up and we go into techno. overdrive.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Fans v. Fansubs: I.G. Entertainment, the producers of Ghost In The Shell: Solid State Society have made their film in Japanese, unlike the first Ghost In The Shell film. Bandai Entertainment are taking care of US distribution in 2007, but have already made it clear that they will take legal action over any fansubbers subbing the film on the internet.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


This is quite bizarre, as fansubs don’t make a profit from subbing a film and putting it on the Internet. They only serve, as fans, to spread and promote Anime to English-speaking people; much like a screener is promoted to film bodies for approval. It increases interest in Anime and is nothing more than free promotion. Solid State Society does not yet have English subs, but it’s only a matter of time until a fansub is done. Two days after Solid State Society premiered, it appeared on the Internet. If Bandai hadn’t made an issue of it, it probably would have taken a lot longer for it to hit the net., but now it’s out there for people to see. The subtitles are probably being gloriously translated with devious glee as I speak.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


East v. West: If the original idea of the first Ghost In The Shell movie was to introduce Anime to a wider, Western audience backfired - at the time - it has grown in popularity and influence, due partly to its level of style as well as achievements in storytelling; mainly the contrasts between East and West cultures, and how Japan sees technology in relation to human development. Notably the synthesis between man and machine. There’s maturity in the themes of Solid State Society that I’ve not seen in any Western cyberpunk films, or indeed, most Anime films to date.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


A Post-Matrix World: In part, Solid State Society is an answer, and an antidote to the three Matrix films. We’ve all seen how Hollywood used the first Ghost In The Shell movie as a template/influence/borderline rip-off, and I’m sure Japan was impressed, but they’re not one to let Hollywood outdo themselves.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Instead of letting themselves be influenced by The Matrix’s, they’ve gone in a completely different direction: a logical extension of progress and science fiction - the human element of what it means to have an identity as an individual, rather than as a whole. Instead of “The One”, there is everyone as a team. Very much Japanese efficiency and all it has achieved.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


This Is Not The End: Solid State Society is is not meant to be the end of Ghost In The Shell and it’s very much a movie of understated style that is a new beginning rather than a means to the end. Yes, the slam-bang action and visual splendour and spectacular set pieces are still here, and is set to impress, but it feels different to the movies and the TV series, and in parts comes across in areas that we don’t see in the Stand Alone Complex episodes. This has pushed Ghost In The Shell into a new direction that is very exciting and is fresh and invigorating to behold.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Anime v. Live-Action: When most live-action films - of any country - are all starting to look the same, with blurred CGI sequences, it’s a pleasure to see traditional Anime like Solid State Society stand out from the crowd. No live-action film could replicate this film. It’s not a film that will influence Hollywood, because they won’t “get it”. It’s one, I think that will largely be ignored until it gets the critical attention and acclaim it deserves.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Something Old, Something New: As a Stand Alone Complex, it does exactly that. If you’re new to Ghost In The Shell, this movie may perplex you more than entertain you, so I suggest you at least watch the series before watching the movie; to get an idea of what it’s all about before seeing the continuation of ideas and ideals. This is very much a higher level of storytelling in relation to the characters than previous episodes of S.A.C. and the GITS movies.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


A High Level of Art: The style of animation in Solid State Society is a world apart from the first Ghost In The Shell film, and more a fusion of understated effect than excess, compared to Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence. We get a perfect blend of the Stand Alone Complex style of Anime in a feature-length form that is nothing less than a revelation in every scene. I cannot emphasise enough how different this Anime is from what has preceded it. I’ve given it 10 stars as it deserves it for the sheer audacity of what it accomplishes in the Anime art form and the world of cyberpunk entertainment.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Bottom Line: If you like the Ghost In The Shell movies, the Stand Alone Complex series, Japanese cyberpunk, or Japanese anime in general, then there are lots to take away from this feature-length spectacular. Solid State Society is a solid piece of entertainment that works on many different emotional and spiritual levels, and I think each viewer can appreciate the many different aspects of human endeavour and emotion that the characters go through. It is a genuine masterpiece that deserves repeated viewings just to take it all in and appreciate its inner-workings. It doesn’t get any better than this, and I doubt it ever will.


This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by Ste McNay.

September 6, 2006

Cyberpunk Artist Interview: Chad Michael Ward

Chad Michael Ward Artwork


Introduction: Chad Michael Ward ( is well known to some for his beautiful and eerie cyberpunk art, although leans on the macabre in 2D digital form. I met Chad Michael Ward around 2001 through some mutual friends, as well as my own perusing of local small underground art galleries. I had his work all over my walls, to inspire what echoed my life at that time. He is now putting his artful cyberpunk and gothic talents toward movie making while he still creates his 2D work on the computer. I still love his work and was honored to catch a bit of his time, and the people around him, such as Pearry Reginald Teo from Gene Generation, as well as others for this interview.


Chad Michael Ward


From his site:


“His work has been featured in dozens of publications around the world including NME, SKIN TWO, APHRODESIA, SPECTRUM, GOTHIC BEAUTY, TATTOO SAVAGE, CARPE NOCTEM, CLUB INTERNATIONAL, GALLERY, PIT, DARK REALMS and THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE and is frequently commissioned by musicians such as Marilyn Manson, The Cruxshadows, Fear Factory, Collide, The Blank Theory, Soilwork, Pissing Razors, Naglfar, and Darkane.”


~Netsui~ (


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


Netsui for Cyberpunk Review (CPR): Hey there how’s Hollywood treating you?

Chad Michael Ward: Hollywood is great. My career has exploded since my move to L.A.


CPR: Where did all this art making begin? And what were your first mediums?

Chad Michael Ward: I started this crazy art thing back in 1996 whenI got my first bootlegged copy of Photoshop.


CPR: When did you go to digital?

Chad Michael Ward: I’ve been digital since Day One. I’ve only now recently started exploring other mediums like oils.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: Where and when did you start showing your work?

Chad Michael Ward: My first website went online in 1997. That was the first time my work was exposed to the general public.


CPR: How about the Cyber influence? When did this start, and from what?

Chad Michael Ward: I’ve been a Giger fan all my life. I think the cyber/biomechanical thing came into play pretty early on in my work. It was all Giger’s fault!


CPR: What are your favorite cyber movies? Comics?

Chad Michael Ward: I’m more of a horror movie fan than anything.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: Did you learn from tutorials on how to make robotic parts or was this just your own discovery?

Chad Michael Ward: I’m completely self taught.


CPR: How did you find your models?

Chad Michael Ward: Originally I used my girlfriend, Danielle, and local friends. Once my work started getting noticed, I’ve had models contacting me by the hundreds to work with me.


CPR: What are the tools you most currently use with your 2D still art?

Chad Michael Ward: I use a Nikon D100, a PC with 1GB RAM, and a 6×9 Intuos Wacom tablet.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: Can you talk about Black Rust? This book of yours seems to be most laden with cyber art.

Chad Michael Ward: BLACK RUST was an exploration into a near-future society. It was really a culmination of all my interests: sex, horror, biomechanics, etc.


NETSUI NOTE: A Quote from Warren Ellis introduction to Black Rust, with permission from Warren:


“Totally relevant to its place and time, it exudes a decadent SF that mainstream culture is three steps behind. Think about it for a second. Chad Michael Ward with his computer, his digital Gutenberg press, a hugely disruptive technology, using it to reflect back at the world what’s in his eyes and ears, using secret photographs to create a darkly infinite library of images that don’t exist. Something that isn’t real, but which he somehow lets you touch. Like black rust.”


CPR: Are you going for more of a look? Or are there messages you wish to convey through your art?

Chad Michael Ward: I think all my images have a message to them, though I’ll always leave it up to the viewer to decide what the message is or if one even exists.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: Can you convey some of the meaning behind the common symbols used in your cyber work such as the dragons, angel wings, and suggested crucifixions, for the audience who may not know?

Chad Michael Ward: I’ve always been a fan of iconic imagery, so it tends to show up a lot in my work.


CPR: Are you interested in exploring the spiritual in regards to androids in your art?

Chad Michael Ward: I’m not a particularly spiritual person. I’m more about the flesh, which I think translates to my work.


CPR: Arms seem to be part of your cyborg looks, any comment? Or (if you send art that has more other cyborg parts just adapt this to talk about How you choose which cyber parts you make)?

Chad Michael Ward: I’ve had a long fascination with arms and necks. I don’t know why.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: I remember when you got your arms tattooed of cyborg machinery, what inspired this?

Chad Michael Ward: Again, I’m a big fan of the biomechanical, so when the time came to get ink, it made sense to go with a biomechanical theme. My left arm represents life and death and my right represents Heaven and Hell. All 4 thigns are things that appear frequently in my work.


CPR: Although common in cyberpunk art, the subject matter is women, do you have any thoughts about this?

Chad Michael Ward: Everyone finds a woman attractive, regardless of our gender. It only makes sense then that the art I create oft times appears in the guise of a beautiful woman.


CPR: Your color choices are interesting we like the reds and the grays and darker colors. What drives you to experiment with those various color pallets?

Chad Michael Ward: I’m all about desaturated and earthy tones.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: Have you explored 3D-sculpture related cyber art?

Chad Michael Ward: I’m not much into that kind of thing.


CPR: This brings me to ask about motion graphics and cyber art, have you explored this yet? And Do you work with After Effects? Any thing else?

Chad Michael Ward: While I’ve moved into directing, I’ve never had much interest in the design of motion graphics. For me, as an artist, I’ll always be 2D.


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: You did the poster art for Gene Generation promo poster?

Chad Michael Ward: Yeah, I did about 5 different GG posters, including the one that’s being used on all the marketing materials at the moment.


Netsui brief interlude with Pearry Reginald Teo:


CPR: Want to say anything about Chad’s 2D artwork?

Pearry Reginald Teo: “His 2D cyber art has actually been a strong influence to my upcoming work, ‘Exsilium’. Politically it has a nice drunken clarity to it, don’t you think?”


CPR: Tell me about your involvement with the Movie Gene Generation?

Chad Michael Ward: “I was the concept artist and production designer on THE GENE GENERATION’s reshoot. Basically, I came on after most of the movie had been shot and created a bunch of stuff for some additional scenes. It also led to me partnering with the film’s director, Pearry Teo, to form our own production company Teo/Ward Productions ( Right now we’re working on our next film, MORTEM, which I’m directing and he’s producing.”


Chad Michael Ward Artwork


CPR: I see you have begun video direction! Are you going full force into this arena? And will this effect your 2D computer art?

Chad Michael Ward: Directing has long been an interest of mine and I finally got the chance to do some directing on a few recent music videos, including one for Billy Idol and Slash. I love directing, and hope to do more. I don’t think it really affects my 2D work other than taking up more of my time.


CPR: And your plans for the future?

Chad Michael Ward: More directing! I’ve got plans to direct a feature length horror film from a script I wrote earlier this year.



We LOVE Transmetropolitan here at Cyberpunk Review. Do you have any comments on your recent work with Warren Ellis?

Chad Michael Ward: Warren’s work never ceases to amaze me!


CPR: What color pony would you want if they were only in RGB?

Chad Michael Ward: Black, of course!


Netsui™ 2006

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Art, Interviews by Netsui.

WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near '' at line 1]

Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts