Image from Steve Bowers
The term Changeling is used loosely to describe a wide variety of cyborgs who have biological bodies but an artificial processor array instead of a biological brain. The first Changelings emerged in the Solsys Era, when modosophont-level artificial brains were too large to fit inside the skull of a human or other biont; instead these early changelings incorporated a teleoperation rig inside the subject's skull, so that a much larger processing array elsewhere could take control of the body.

By the Late Federation Era, human-level artificial brains could be accommodated within a human skull, including all the power and support systems necessary for the Changeling to maintain this arrangement permanently. Since that time a number of very different clades have adopted this configuration, such as Homo Economicus and the Bright Cats, although there are many significant differences between the psychoware and interfacing in each case.

Some sophonts choose to adopt the Changeling lifestyle because it allows them to retain their familiar biological body while transferring their mindstate into a faster and more durable substrate; others choose to transfer their mind into an entirely different biological body, using translation protocols to help them adapt to the new sensorium and the unfamiliar physical nature of their new home.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 22 January 2019.