What is the Thought Device in Atomic Heart?
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Atomic Heart’s story takes place in an alternate history where the Soviet Union has developed a new technology called Polymer. This springboarded it to becoming the most advanced civilization on the planet. One of the pieces of technology the story revolves around is the Thought Device. This article explains the Thought Device so you can follow along with what major characters say without losing the plot.
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What is the Thought Device?
The Thought Device is a revolutionary new piece of technology in Atomic Heart. You wear it on your temple, and it has tendrils that stretch out and around your forehead. The Thought Device allows you to do many things and even preserve your consciousness for a few days after death. That’s how you’re able to speak to the dead in the game.
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However, the real purpose of the Thought Device in Atomic Heart is to change the way people interact with robots. The game’s story revolves around the launch of something called Kollective 2.0, which will give every human on the planet with a Thought Device the power to command robots just by thinking about it. You’ll even be able to talk to other people using these devices across vast distances. The only catch is that the government will be able to track you and every thought you have.
However, the true purpose of these devices is control. Sechenov wants to use them to control every human on the planet, removing their free will and sending their mind somewhere called Limbo, where they’re eternally happy. Everyone’s bodies can then be used for whatever Sechenov wants, mostly manual work, because no one will be able to stop him.
At the end of the game, after you’ve beaten the final boss of Atomic Heart, you discover that Sechenov could actually do this just by utilizing the Polymer injections that the government has been pushing on the population. This makes people believe they will always be able to remove the Thought Device if they want to get some peace from the constant stream of data, but that’s not the reality. No one will be able to remove their Thought Device because they’ll have lost their free will.
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There are two Beta Rings in Atomic Heart that form a core part of the story. The wearer of these rings would retain their free will after the launch of Kollective 2.0. This is the only way to be free of the system, so they’re so highly sought after by several characters in the game.
Why can’t P-3 wear a Thought Device?
At the start of Atomic Heart, you’ll have several opportunities to try to get P-3, the game’s protagonist, to wear a Thought Device. However, he can’t, and you will realize why much later in the story. P-3 has already had a Polymer injection that’s attached itself to his brain. He also already has a Thought Device. It’s just in his glove instead of on his temple. He is already capable of being controlled via similar methods that Kollective 2.0 would employ, so new Thought Devices can’t be registered to him.