I'm trying to find the word to describe a type of robot. Here are my assumptions about the terms I have found thus far:

  • Cyborgs are biological creatures that have had cybernetic implants.

  • Bionics are similar, but their implants are mechanical in nature and do not enhance / change their thoughts or actions.

  • Androids are purely mechanical with no biological components.

So, what would a robot (with no higher or "self aware" artificial intelligence) be called if someone then grafted biological material into its design?

Said biological material is not intelligent in itself... it was not a conscious being who was combined with a robot, so it brings no intelligence to the new being.

However, the biological material continues to grow (with absorbed nutrients, etc., and no further surgical procedures), and in time the robot becomes self aware and this is completely attributed to the biological material combined with the electronics that have been combining over the course of a few decades.

Would one need to coin a new phrase for this creature or would it be a cyborg even though it did not begin life as an organic being?

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    Well, "cyborg" is a contraction of "cybernetic organism", which I think still describes this entity fairly well. If you wanted to get cute about it, you could turn it around and try to find a shorter word for "biological robot". Actually, Arthur C. Clarke used the word "biots" in his fiction. Others might have as well, either before or since. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 19:12
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    I dub them Ahnolds. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 21:16
  • The Terminator was an artificial cybernetic life form: "I'm a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton." This is basically the opposite of what you said: "biological creatures that have had cybernetic implants" Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 21:27

3 Answers 3


I think the word you're looking for is "Biorobot"; a robot that is largely (or wholly) composed of organic components.

Biorobotics is often used to refer to a real subfield of robotics: studying how to make robots that emulate or simulate living biological organisms mechanically or even chemically. The term is also used in a reverse definition: making biological organisms as manipulatable and functional as robots, or making biological organisms as components of robots.

In fiction, I've seen the word shortened to "Biot", for instance in the classic Arthur C Clarke novel 'Rendesvous with Rama'.

  • 1
    Biorobot is an excellent choice because it's naturally understandable from the component parts of the word. Another compound related to biorobot is "bioroid", used almost exclusively in science fiction. It seems to be a term abbreviating "biological android", and refers to a human-like being artificially created from biological material. I believe this term was coined by Masamune Shirow in "Appleseed", his comic book series first published in 1985.
    – recognizer
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 15:51
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    thanks for the reminder, i just ran out of bioroid cream Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 21:30

As far as I know, there is no word in common use that only means a mechanical being with organic augmentations. However, there is at least one definition of android that would include such a being.

Eric G. Wilson, in his book The Melancholy Android, includes three categories of android, including an "automaton" type android, which he defines as "combining the stiff and the soft, the synthetic and the organic".

In popular fiction, it's also not uncommon for the term cyborg to be used to mean both types of synthetic organisms, e.g. the T-800 from Terminator or the human-like Cylons from Battlestar Galactica are often called cyborgs, though they were never technically human.

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    I agree that it's very reasonable to use cyborg in this sense. However, I would caution against using "automaton" in Wilson's sense (or any part of his mummy/golem/automaton typology), as the terms he uses are overwhelmingly dominated by their more typical meanings, which would confuse anyone who hadn't had Wilson's typology explained to them first.
    – recognizer
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 15:53
  • Frankenstein's monster, anyone? Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 22:32

Cyborg fits because of the living tissue.

You are referring to an artificial cyborg

Example from film: The Terminator was an artificial cybernetic life form: "I'm a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton." This is basically the opposite of what you said: "biological creatures that have had cybernetic implants"

However, to be more precise: if the artificial cyborg resembles a human then it is an Android with organic components. Example from film: Data in Star Trek: First Contact is an android (robot built to resemble and function similar to a human) that has real skin grafted onto his arm by the sexy borg chick (she was an organic cyborg).

The question of intelligence (whether artificial or otherwise) is irrelevant here. (That's a software problem, not a hardware problem.)

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