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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Disease Circuit  
  A feature of robotic animals which indicated a need to repair by emulating animal sickness.  

John Isidore "had his job, driving a pickup and delivery truck for a false-animal repair firm; the Van Ness Pet Hospital."

The electric mechanism, within its compellingly authentic-style gray pelt, gurgled and blew bubbles, its vileness glassy, its metal jaws locked together. This had always amazed him, these "disease" circuits built into false animals; the construct which he now held on his lap had been put together in such a fashion that when a primary component misfired, the whole thing appeared - not broken - but organically ill. It would have fooled me, Isidore said to himself as he groped within the ersatz stomach fur for the concealed control panel (quite small on this variety of false animal) plus the quick-charge battery terminals. He could find neither. Nor could he search very long: the mechanism had almost failed. If it does consist of a short, he reflected, which is busy burning out circuits, then maybe I should try to detach one of the battery cables; the mechanism will shut down, but no more harm will be done.
From Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1968
Additional resources -

It turns out that the animal that Isidore is examining is a real cat, which is why he cannot find its control panel or batteries. The head of his repair shop makes this statement:

"... the fakes are beginning to be darn near real, what with those disease circuits they're building into the new ones..."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Disease Circuit-related news articles:
  - Robotic Dog, Cat For Cornell Sim-Based Veterinarian Hospital
  - Meet Spot, The Electric Quadrupedal, Er, Robot Dog
  - Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy

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3rd Century BC Gold Bee Is Just The Start
Flatcat Robot Recalls Both Heinlein And Simak
Solar Powered Robot Cleans Up Solar Panels For Free

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