• Upgrade Required

    Science Fiction becomes Science Fact as Stargate’s David Hewlett embarks on a quest to render disabilities obsolete through technology…one fanciful futuristic feat of engineering at a time!

    Upgrade Required is a funny, fast-paced, feel-good and informative, mix of Science Fiction fandom and DIY Maker madness. In the spirit of the wildly popular Mythbusters, Upgrade Required revels in the joy of invention, collaboration, exploration and the DIY spirit. Each episode, Hewlett and his team, create whimsical technology solutions for fans with disability related issues, while making, fan-turned-friend, Q’s dream of overcoming his own Spinal Muscular Atrophy and becoming a cyborg… a robotic reality!

    Upgrade Required is a thrilling, inspirational half hour of fun and innovation, and a testament to human’s insatiable desire to harness technology to conquer the world around them.

     

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  • Upgrade Required

    Science Fiction becomes Science Fact as Stargate’s David Hewlett embarks on a quest to render disabilities obsolete through technology…one fanciful futuristic feat of engineering at a time!

    Upgrade Required is a funny, fast-paced, feel-good and informative, mix of Science Fiction fandom and DIY Maker madness. In the spirit of the wildly popular Mythbusters, Upgrade Required revels in the joy of invention, collaboration, exploration and the DIY spirit. Each episode, Hewlett and his team, create whimsical technology solutions for fans with disability related issues, while making, fan-turned-friend, Q’s dream of overcoming his own Spinal Muscular Atrophy and becoming a cyborg… a robotic reality!

    Upgrade Required is a thrilling, inspirational half hour of fun and innovation, and a testament to human’s insatiable desire to harness technology to conquer the world around them.

  • VFX and Animation

    Animation plays a crucial role in every stage of Upgrade Required. Affordable visual effects technologies available to filmmakers today are truly astounding. The series will harness these VFX tools to enhance our interviews in the same way that bionics are enhancing our subject’s bodies.

    These discussions will serve as the canvas for our VFX work.  We will enhance our interview clips by adding animations and VFX that will visually augment their stories and ideas, transforming their severely limited movement into works of art.  More importantly, VFX will reveal the amazingly funny, fascinating, complex and intelligent minds trapped within the bodies that fail them.

    While Upgrade Required is not about the diseases responsible for many disabilities, we’ll use animation and VFX to create cool, beautiful and whimsical depictions of them — to give audiences an understanding of, and appreciation for, how SMA or ALS attacks its victims. The focus of the film, however, is on the inspired, passionate and creative souls who survive these terrible diseases. They are a new breed of smart, wired and tech-empowered human, forced to augment the bodies that have failed them.

    Upgrade Required will draw from a diverse cast of characters; brilliant scientists, engineers, writers, directors, inspired makers, philosophers, programmers and hobbyists and Sci Fi nerds.  

    We have a really exciting roster of contributors including acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, who I had the pleasure of working with recently on The Shape Of Water

    Del Toro has agreed to support Upgrade Required, and to talk about his extraordinary depictions of man and machine over his career, including his upcoming remake of The Fantastic Voyage, with fellow visionary filmmaker James Cameron. 

    Upgrade Required documents this “I know a nerd who knows a nerd” approach to harness the skills and expertise of a varied, strange and wonderful collection of talents, to create a team of geeks who revel in the merging of man and machine — and who can help make it happen.

  • The Cyborg Circus Live!

    Upgrade Required is more than just a television series, it is a rallying cry to audiences.  Showing off disability deleting robotic revolution is one thing. Face-to-face, hands-on collaboration is a whole other level of engagment.  Part of the series will focus on our creation of the “Cyborg Circus” a live, festival-like, convention, promoting disability tech and innovation. 

    The convention circuit is a wildly popular and vibrant part of the SciFi fandom and we want to harness that excitement for Upgrade Required. The benefit of a live venue is in bringing together people from all ages and walks of life, inspiring them with the possibilities of assistive technologies in a live, fun, community-building atmosphere.

    The Cyborg Circus is a live, hands-on, robotic festival, Maker Faire and educational adventure.  We will create an inspiring, entertaining showcase for presenting assistive technology, and its potential, to a wider audience. The show combines a series of dynamic presentations, mind-blowing feats of robotics and engineering ingenuity, Hackathons and demonstrations. Upgrades’ Cyborg Circus presents Q (live in suit or via telepresence robot), Hewlett and a host of SciFi celebrities together with robotic and biomechanical engineers, sharing the latest  technologies and resources designed to further our merging of man and machine.

    The Cyborg Circus is a fantastic opportunity to inspire local schools, communities, celebrities, corporations, governments and organizations to take action and get involved.  Creating an Upgrade Required community out of entrepreneurs, engineers, citizen scientists and people with disabilities; sharing ideas, insights and excitement about what is needed to move technology, and with it, humankind, forward.  The Cyborg Circus will invite local artists, experts, builders and tech companies to share their expertise, inventions and experiences, creating newsworthy buzz and exposure to the cyborg cause!

  • Robotics

    Image of Bot & Dolly’s Toto and IRIS Cinematic motion control system.

    Upgrade Required is about integrating humans and technology. As such, robotics will play an important role in, not just the creation of assistive technology for people like Q, but in embracing robotic filming tools and technologies in the story telling process.  Aerial, sea and land based drones, autonomous vehicles, as well as articulated robotic arms, cranes, face and motion tracking, and AI control technologies are just a few of the tools and techniques we will harness throughout our adventures. The hope is that many of the inventions, innovations, cheats and techniques we employ in making Upgrade Required can then be engineered to work for people with disabilities: providing them with new tools to express themselves and contribute their own artistic filmic endeavours.

    Q’s Cyborg Suit

    The first stage of Q’s robotic cyborg suit is the exo-neck, allowing Q to turn his own head without assistance.  The neck is Q’s own concept and will be controllable via Brain Computer Interface (thanks to OpenBCI) and manual controls. Other cyborg components include camera mounts with robotic controls and a host of augmented visual sensors  allowing Q to track and control his food-science projects from afar; robotic arms; a robotic hoist; telepresence robot with autonomous capabilities, to name but a few.

     

  • UPGRADEREQUIRED.ORG

    UpgradeRequired.org will serve as an online community where people with disabilities, makers, engineers, scientists, artists, programmers and Sci Fi fans can plot, scheme and collaborate with each other.  The site will host assistive and robotic tech news and articles, as well as how-to instructions, CAD and 3D printable files and sample  code, everything needed to make these technologies a reality.  It will also inspire SciFi fans to band together and make things happen; inspired by, or even in partnership with, the source of their favourite fandom.  The  goal is to get people talking and working together towards a better technology and a better world.

     

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