Referenced rewrite needed (full rehaul needed to replace unsourced and embellished claims with sourced, in-game references)
To meet Nukapedia's quality standards, the following section requires the addition of relevant references and/or speculation removal.
Technology appears in several variants throughout the Fallout series.
- 1 Energy
- 2 Vehicles
- 3 Personal protection
- 4 Weapons
- 5 Biomedical technologies
- 6 Computers
- 7 Robotics
- 8 Advanced sciences
- 9 References
One of the key elements of the backstory is the Resource Wars, fought for the last remaining energy resources on Earth. In the wake of the crisis, as the economy ground to a halt, the United States sought alternatives to fossil fuel energy. In 2060, hydrocarbon fuels became too precious to waste on automobiles so other alternatives were beginning to be explored.[non-canon 1]
Researchers arrived at two solutions: utilizing fission and fusion as the primary power sources. The first crude fusion cell was unveiled in 2066,[non-canon 2] providing the United States with an edge and averting its imminent bankruptcy.
By 2077, cold-fusion such as microfusion cells were commonplace and used widely as chargers for energy-consuming technology, ranging from laser rifles to cars, with further innovation presented in the form of the microfusion breeder utilized in the recharger rifle and pistol. Another representative element of the new energy source is the iconic T-51 power armor, powered by a back-mounted TX-28 microfusion pack, with enough fuel capacity to allow operation for nearly a century. Another source of energy was the fusion core, used in power armor frames, fusion generators and Gatling lasers. Before the bombs dropped, Mass Fusion developed the Beryllium agitator for large scale clean nuclear energy.
Fission power found their uses as power sources for robots,[non-canon 3] which can utilize a nuclear power unit as its energy source and within backup generators (typically Wattz Electrobox units, like the one used in Broken Hills). Due to the nature of nuclear fission, all the spent radioactive material had to be disposed of somewhere and the deserts of the American Southwest, especially the Mojave Desert, became prime dumping grounds.
Other renewable energy
In some places such as Acadia National Park, companies like Verdant-Air Wind Power built wind turbines. While the wind farm was a front for illegal dumping and a positive public reputation, it was soon discovered to be a sustainable source of energy. Due to the possibility of such a discovery undercutting the parent company's goals of selling fusion power to the masses, they attempted to take down the wind farm.
Poseidon Energy was devoted to renewable energy, building a massive solar plant called HELIOS One in the Nevada desert. Its potential energy output could be on par with that of Hoover Dam, likewise able to supply power to the entire Mojave region.
In 2077, due to the oil crisis, petroleum was no longer a widely available fuel, even more so with the excellent power the automobiles had, though the wealthy still drove gasoline-powered cars, as well as companies providing gasoline and diesel fuel across America. Many car companies had desperately pursued research into alternative power sources, with Chryslus Motors finally patenting the successor to gasoline: electric engines, powered by energy cells.[non-canon 4] Charged with fusion cells, a Chryslus Corvega or Highwayman featured 800+ horsepower and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in under a second, all done with a fully analog system and no computers. However, not many of these cars were produced and those that were had limited success due to their hefty price tag ($199,999.99 for a Corvega).[non-canon 5]
Prior to the Great War, the United States utilized fighter jets, commercial jumbo jets and prototype Vertibirds for aerial transport and assault. Following the Great War, airships, culminating in the Prydwen, were created.
Unlike the bulky and harder to maintain electric and nuclear vehicles, steam-powered trucks were also being used by 2161, as they were very viable for transit in the post-apocalypse. The Master and his Unity made significant use of the trucks while attacking Necropolis or Vault 13.[non-canon 6]
Monorails were a common mode of transportation before the Great War. Typically elevated or on suspension tracks, is noted such as these rail lines were seen in highly congested areas. Examples include the District of Columbia monorail, Nuka-Express, Appalachian monorail system, Morgantown monorail, and downtown Las Vegas' monorail line. The monorail to Nuka-World remains functional after the war.
One of the most noticeable technological leaps was made in the field of protecting people from harm. The United States was especially proficient at doing so, as its research into polymers paid off, resulting in suits of advanced combat armor being widely deployed across the country to police and military forces, sometimes even civilians with a special BADTFL permit.[non-canon 7] This armor protected the wearer considerably from conventional and explosive damage as well as lasers and plasma.
Another example of considerable advancement is the power armor, an armored suit with a hydraulic endoskeleton, powered by a fusion pack, designed to be a one-man tank replacing traditional, inefficient vehicles in their role. It is an exclusively American technology, which is also the root of many other technologies, such as the aforementioned cold fusion.
One example of research into personal protection exists, in the form of the Tesla armor, a suit based on Nikola Tesla's blueprints, in which Tesla attraction coils attract and disperse energy attacks, providing effective protective apparel and another example of how Fallout's physics are different than our own. This concept was later improved upon by the Enclave in the form of their Tesla advanced power armor and later the Tesla advanced power armor Mk II. The concept was also used by a group of raiders in the creation of Tesla T-60 armor. Armored vehicles include the main battle tank and the armored personnel carrier.
Likely the single field in which the greatest advancements were made, weaponry of the Fallout world is varied and incredibly advanced in some regards. Apart from conventional weapons based on the combustion of gunpowder, energy weapons development advanced at a rapid pace, allowing for the creation of mass-produced laser, plasma, and pulse rifles.
Ballistic weapons were still bulky and inefficient when compared to energy weapons. These advanced armaments were developed to be powered with microfusion cells, although battery packs or cabled power systems could also be used as well. There are three distinct types of these weapons in the wastelands - laser-based, which emit a several megawatt beams of coherent light, plasma-based, relying on delivering damage via condensed plasma and pulse-based, in which the damage is done via a powerful electrical energy pulse, and electromagnetic pulse. The United States Armed Forces were principally interested in the development of these weapons and employed them widely.[non-canon 8] The Enclave, a successor to the U.S. government, followed this trend.
Other offshoots of research were conducted to find ways to harm other humans. One such example was the Gauss coilgun technology. Originating in Germany,, and later utilized by China, the weapons fired a small-caliber metal slug (2mm electromagnetic cartridges) down a barrel surrounded by magnets, propelling it to extreme speeds and guaranteeing massive damage upon impact. Similarly, railguns were also conceptualized, with West Tek developing the later-abandoned X277 magnetic rail cannon specifically.
The Big MT developed the proton axe and another weapon technology that was researched was the use of microwave radiation to cause harm to biological tissues. Less then lethal weapons were also being developed.
Another advanced field in the Fallout world, biomedical science flourished in the retro-futuristic world. The most basic example, the stimpak is astounding by our standards; a self-contained stimulation delivery package, sending the cells into a replication frenzy, swiftly healing minor wounds, doing in seconds what often takes days by regular means. [non-canon 9] Furthermore, superior versions of stimpaks also existed (the super stimpak) which can heal even the worst of injuries at a minor cost of health damage from the frenzy of replication a few minutes later.[non-canon 10]
Furthering the gap between our technology and that of Fallout is the presence of automatons whose sole purpose was to detect illness and quickly treat it. Machines like ACE, Sympto-Matic and Auto-Docs were programmed to perform even the most difficult medical procedures without the presence of classically trained personnel. Unlike Auto-Docs however, machines like ACE were designed with tanks that the patient was submerged in during healing.
Of course, developments also took place in fields other than healing, namely, in pharmaceutical enhancement. In comparison, our drugs look like primitive hallucinogenics, as those in the Fallout world last longer and have much stronger effects. Buffout, synthetic steroids, amplifies Strength and Endurance greatly, Mentats increase Intelligence and Perception while Psycho increases both resistance to pain and physical damage. Not to mention cryoscience being an uncommon thing for a doctor to be trained in. Cryoscience was even utilized by Vault-Tec in one of their vaults, as well as being utilized for weaponry and fire services, though the actual process of using cryogenics caused some to question if it was safe.
All of the above pales in comparison with truly revolutionary technologies. Beginning with the ability to easily clone replacement limbs and organs for humans, an experimental process before the Great War, through implants permanently enhancing the human body all the way to viruses capable of rewriting human DNA and altering their physical appearance in real-time. This last, most phenomenal achievement is called the FEV, Forced Evolutionary Virus.
Vault-Tec possessed a machine in Vault 95 used to purge addictive substances from the body. In 2204, following testing and research in Vault 81, Curie completed Vault 81's original initiative: she perfected the formula for a panacea capable of curing every disease that afflicted humanity.
The scientists at the Big MT were able to remove a person's brain, heart, and spine and replace them with mechanical substitutes. The Institute studied and mastered the creation of artificial mammals down to the cellular level including gorillas and humans.
Compared to other fields, many west coast computers are primitive; while portable units (such as RobCo Industries Pip-Boys) and robots exist, it seems that the actual processing power is quite low (64k of RAM in Enclave terminals, up to 256k in pre-War RobCo systems), contrasting with other advanced technologies.
The East Coast and the Mojave Desert computers, on the other hand, are much more advanced, capable of holding and transmitting up to 200 blocks of data when converted by a specialized iridium-infused magnetic tape, to performing various types of activities, from gaming, to personalized home computing, to use within businesses.
Terminals appear to have a command-line interface while the Pip-Boy uses a GUI. Touchscreens exist, as is the case with the Emperor v8.8 The Interweb is utilized along with networks. WLAN matrices are also present.
A fledgling field of science in our world has become a thriving industry of its own in the Fallout world. Robots are widely used and have reached a very high level of refinement and advancement. They can operate individually, can process visual and audio data in real time and make tactical decisions in the heat of the moment, operate human or inbuilt weapons with deadly accuracy and even host artificial intelligences. Despite this, robots are also still susceptible to flawed programming, as well as electromagnetic pulses.[non-canon 11]
An indication of just how advanced robotics was, is the fact that robots were commercially available to both civilians and companies decades before the Great War. Products such as the Mister Handy, and apart from the military variants, multi-use robots like the Protectron were the best examples of just how widespread and popular they were. They were used to replace humans in jobs deemed unsafe, or to increase efficiency in, at first, relatively simple manual labor, then specialized labor. This was taken to its logical extreme, as corporations (both large and small) had to compete with one another with automation.
This effectively collapsed the value of the labor market. Both exposing the population collapse and ever diverging wealth creation gap. As those with specialized lengthy and expensive degrees became just as easily replaced as the day laborers. The Institute has made great strides in android research and development, creating several progressively more advanced models of synths.
Where science continued to progress quite quickly in the civilian field, advanced sciences such as that conducted by corporations and groups like Big Mountain and the Institute were being constantly developed.
The Chinese were the first to deploy cloaking technology in the form of the Chinese stealth armor. The initial U.S. attempts to replicate the cloaking technology resulted in the Stealth Boy. Scientists at the Big MT were able to reverse engineer the suits to create their own Stealth suit Mk II.
A once exotic technology, holography became one of the most influential technologies in the 21st century, becoming the de facto standard for data storage across the United States. By 2077, holographic data storage devices were ubiquitous, used for storing and transferring data, from entertainment to military information, with many more derivative technologies developed.
The Big Mountain Transportalponder! was also a large accomplishment in the field of superscience, capable of teleporting an individual from the Mojave Desert to a specially designated area.
The most closely-guarded secret of the Institute, the molecular relay allows for teleportation and operates via the classical radio station. It is known to cause strong interference across all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, and this interference can be identified and followed by listening to the radio it operates over. Institute coursers have a direct connection to the relay with special hardware that is embedded within their head.