Image from Julia Harrison

Envirosuit is a general name for any of a variety of advanced 'living', form-fitting synanotech devices that allow the wearer to move freely and interact as if in er home environment, in surroundings that might otherwise be uncomfortable or even fatal.

The suit provides physical protection and support, a suitable internal pressure and temperature, and an appropriate mix of gases or liquids to its inhabitant. Most envirosuits also translate sensory information from the external environment if required, enhancing reducing or altering sound and light, touch and temperature, and even in some cases producing analogues of smells and tastes that would otherwise be imperceptible or fatal to the suit's user. These translation devices can be hazardous if the user is lulled into treating a hazardous external environment as if it were actually habitable and safe.

A typical envirosuit is no more than a centimetre thick across the main body and thinner along extremities, with a swelling (typically in a backpack in models for humans) that contains a power supply plus computronium sufficient to support a sentient but subturingrade ai. Onboard automation allows a standard envirosuit a degree of self maintenance and self repair. Most modosophont-built envirosuits are tailor-made to support a particular individual in a single set of similar environments. For instance, an envirosuit may be made for near-baseline humans on a typical Mars-like world, or for dolphin provolves who intend to swim in an ammonia water ocean, or for To'ul'hs or cryovecs who wish to travel in a standard Terragen hab. There are some more versatile models, but like those that need to mediate the more extreme environmental differences these tend to be relatively bulky.

Many envirosuits are equipped with sophont-grade ai, many are capable of independent movement if the user inside becomes incapacitated, and some are neumann-capable (able to reproduce their own form). A small but significant number of these sophont suits have gone on to form cultures of their own.

Transapientech envirosuits are sometimes gifted to particular modosophonts, and these are usually extremely versatile and adaptable, and can quickly adapt to protect a wide range of bodytypes in a similarly wide range of environments. These suits are almost always sophont, and sometimes include a virtual avatar of the transapient which gifted it.

Image from Steve Bowers
Envirosuit in use in the chlorine-rich atmosphere of Chorus

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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss
Additional material Stephen Bowers
Initially published on 12 October 2009.