Technology already exists for fairly efficient artificial joints (which continually improves over the years), so we’ll skip right over that (but if you really want to read up on the mechanics of artificial joins, try this University of Michigan article or pop into a nearby college library and ask if they have a copy of the Journal of Biomechanics).

On to the skeleton… first off, our artificial skeleton will need a material that can match the minimum the durability requirements of the strongest bone… the femur. A human femur can generally withstand 15,000+ pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure, and in some cases, it rates over 20,000 psi. It also needs to be lightweight (and for the purposes of our story, plastic). Not too much of a problem there… current carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics can easily meet those those requirements. I started doing a little digging to find information comparing the weight and strength of bone to that of carbon fiber reinforced plastics, when I stumbled across an interesting article discussing a polymer combined with calcium phosphate particles to create a nanocomposite, which could be used to repair bone. Well if they could repair real bone with that type of composite, a carbon fiber based composite should easily be able to carry the load of a body (especially with a few decades to improve the processes and utilization of natural bone’s efficient design).

And just like that, we have a skeleton for our full-conversion ‘borg. If you want to read more on the subject, you can check out the Wikipedia article on carbon fiber reinforced plastic or the articles on fibers and thermoplastic composites. Next, we’ll look into one of the more important (and thus, more complicated) parts of the design… the muscles.