Steve Austin's Bionic Hardware
- A bionic left eye with a 20.2:1 zoom lens along with a night vision function (as well as the restoration of normal vision). The figure of 20.2:1 is taken from the faux computer graphics in the opening credits; the only figure actually mentioned in the series, by Austin himself, is 20:1, in the episode "Population: Zero". Austin's bionic eye also has other features, such as an infrared filter used frequently to see in the dark and also to detect heat (as in the episode "The Pioneers"), and the ability to view humanoid beings moving too fast for a normal eye to see (as in the story arc "The Secret of Bigfoot"). One early episode shows the eye as a deadly accurate targeting device for his throwing arm.
- In Caidin's original novels, Austin's eye was depicted as simply a camera (which had to be physically removed after use) and Austin remained blind in the eye. Later, Austin gained the ability to shoot a laser from the eye. The Charlton Comics comic book spin-off from the series also established that Austin's bionic eye could shoot a laser beam (as demonstrated in the first issues of the color comic), but neither function was shown on television.
- Bionic legs allowing him to run at tremendous speed and make great leaps. Austin’s upper speed limit was never firmly established, although a speed of 60 mph (97 km/h) is commonly quoted since this figure is shown on a speed gauge during the opening credits. The highest speed ever shown in the series on a speed gauge is 67 mph (108 km/h); however, the later revival films suggested that he could run approximately 90 mph (145 km/h).
- A bionic right arm with the equivalent strength of a bulldozer; that the arm contains a Geiger counter was established in "The Last of the Fourth of Julys".
The implants have a major flaw in that extreme cold interferes with their functions and can disable them given sufficient exposure. However, when Austin returns to a warmer temperature, the implants quickly regain full functionality. Although his arm and legs have extraordinary strength for lifting massive weights, the series does not explain how the rest of his non-bionic body can support these high stresses.
The series became known for how Austin's bionic abilities were presented. When running or using his bionic arm, Austin was usually presented in slow-motion, accompanied by an electronic grinding-like sound effect. (This characteristic sound effect was actually first used in season 1 episode 4, "Day of the Robot", not during use of Austin's bionics but with the robotic clone of Major Fred Sloan, played by actor John Saxon, during the final fight scene.) When the bionic eye was used, the camera would zoom in on Austin's face, followed by an extreme close-up of his eye; his point-of-view usually included a crosshair motif accompanied by a beeping sound-effect. In early episodes, different ways of presenting Austin's powers were tested, including a heartbeat sound effect that predated the electronic sound, and in the three original made-for-TV movies, no sound effects or slow-motion were used, with Austin's actions shown at normal speed (except for his running, which utilized trick photography); the slow-motion portrayal was introduced with the first hour-long episode, "Population: Zero".
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