Yesterday, we showed you the best robot bodies to download your brain into. But what if you don't want to lose your meat body? Here are 10 robot bodies you can jack into, without leaving your body, like in Surrogates.
Futurama, "Parasites Lost"
Fry eats a dodgy egg-salad sandwich at a spaceship rest area, and the eggs hatch into tons of worms, who form a whole worm society inside Fry's bowels. So the Planet Express crew has to copy themselves into tiny little worm-sized robots, which they can control with their brains — so the robots can travel inside Fry's innards while the actual people (and robot, in Bender's case) controlling them remain safe and normal-sized.
Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam Wing
The Wing Zero and Gundam Epyon suits included the ZERO (Zoning & Emotional Range Omitted) system, connecting to the pilot's brain via neural interface and giving the pilot real-time strategic data, and eliminating all pesky doubts. The system has one major flaw: the pilot tends to "hallucinate" the possible paths the suit can take, causing temporary insanity unless your mind is strong enough. Here's a battle between Gundam Wing Zero and Gundam Epyon.
Ghost In The Shell
Lots of people in this universe jack into android bodies and control them remotely — sending android "dolls" into danger while remaining safe. In this clip, Major Motoko Kusanagi controls two android bodies at once. Especially in "Solid State Society," she's frequently running two parallel processes, and manages to be in two places at once.
Cities In Flight by James Blish
Before humans can actually visit Jupiter in person, we send tele-operated robots with cool tentacles. Here's a relevant passage (thanks to Technovelgy):
For a wild instant he had thought there was a man on Jupiter already; but as he pulled up just above the platform's roof, he realized that the moving thing inside was - of course - a robot; a misshapen, many-tentacled thing about twice the size of a man. It was working busily with bottles and flasks, of which it seemed to have thousands on benches and shelves all around it The whole enclosure was a litter of what Helmuth took to be chemical apparatus, and off to one side was an object which might have been a microscope...
The robot looked up at him and gesticulated with two or three tentacles...
"This is Doc Barth. How do you like my laboratory?"
Bug Park by James P. Hogan
In this awesome novel, inventors Eric and Vanessa Heber develop a new kind of telepresence — direct neural coupling — which shuts down your usual senses and connects them to neural feedback from robots, known as Mecs. The novel explains:
Ohira, who had been watching phlegmatically, nodded his head at the figures in the chairs. "You see, it's the way I told you. No ordinary VR helmets here. This connects straight into your head."
"DNC: Direct Neural Coupling," Heber said to Michelle. "That's what makes Neurodyne different."
She nodded. "I have read a little about it."
"Would you like to try it?" Heber invited.
Michelle moved her gaze to the empty chairs but looked apprehensive. "I'm not sure. I wouldn't want to get one of your little guys shredded or caught up in a wringer."
So of course the Hebers, and their precocious teen son, come up with the ultimate business model — tiny little bug robots controlled by tourists' minds, which can explore an insect theme park or even take part in insect gladitorial contests. But of course, bad guys want to use the DNC technology to power miniature assassins instead.
Robot in Invincible
The leader of the Teen Team superhero group, Robot gets promoted to join the Guardians Of The Globe, who are like the Justice League in the Invincible universe. Everybody thinks he's just a regular robot, but eventually they discover he's actually remote controlled by Rudy Conners, a disfigured man living in a tank of fluid.
Battle Angel Alita
Soon to be a movie from James "Avatar" Cameron, this series follows a cyborg assassin who's controlled several different bodies, including a Berzerker body, a "motorball body" and a TUNED body. (Thanks to Cash907Censored!)
The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr.
In a corporate-controlled future, advertising is illegal, so instead celebrities go around promoting products. This story's protgagonist has her personality put into a perfect robot body, while her real body is put "in the sauna room" and she becomes an advertising celebrity. Her new body is a "placental decanter," specially grown to be perfect, with control implants. "Little Delphi is going to live a wonderful, exciting life. She's going to be a girl people watch. And she's going to be using fine products people will be glad to know about and helping the people who make them."
Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
The soldiers in this book are jacked into Soldierboys, Flyboys and other constructs, which they control with their brains. These machines allow the U.S. to run a remote-controlled war against various third-world countries. Protgaonist Julian Class controls his robot Soldierboy via a jack connected to his skull. Too bad that long-term connection to the Soldierboys and Flyboys has weird long-term effects, including "humanizing" you and making you averse to killing.
Two different characters jack their nervous systems into robots, far away, in this incredible movie directed by Alex Rivera. Memo goes to work in the city in Mexico, where he's connected remotely to robots doing construction work in the United States — so the U.S. can import people's labor, without bringing in the people themselves. And Rudy controls a military drone with his mind — using it, among other things, to blow up Memo's family's house when Memo accidentally gets suspected of being a hacker.
Runners up: Suspended (InfoCom game), Debatable Space by Philip Palmer, City by Clifford Simak, Starstruck (comics), Neon Genesis Evangelion, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson
Thanks to Arthur Conan Smith, Kiala Kazebee, S.J. Edeards, Katrina James, Andrew Liptak, Greta Christina, Kate Dominic, Jessy Randall Carlos P. Diaz, FLIMGeeks, Espana Sheriff, Tom Marcinko, Barry Lukens, Lun Esex, Ashley Edward Miller, Allan Bostick, Jackie M, Star Killer, Jason Schachat, Bonnie Burton, Morgan Johnson, Paul McEnery, Izzy Oneiric, Jason Shankel and Kate Cowan.