The paper computers used regularly in the series are created by using a version of the same motion-capture technology used to base CGI characters on the movements of real actors. In this case, a sheet of paper covered with a grid of dots is used by the actors. CGI is then able the superimpose the "computer" image onto the paper, even allowing the image to bend and move like real paper when touched, because a real piece of paper was the basis for the model. This is particularly effective in the pilot, when agent Durham gives a *folded* paper screen to Amanda.
Projection of computerized data onto real objects, and having the data interact with (e.g. "stay glued on") physical objects, is under development in real life. For example, Pranav Mistry demonstrated this type of technology in TED in 2009, under the name "The Sixth Sense".
A practical animatronic Cylon U-87 robot prop was built for this series, at a cost of over $100,000. This was used in many of the scenes where the actors physically interact the robot while it is standing still or relatively motionless.
The series was created from two separate ideas. In 2005, writer Ronald D. Moore and producer David Eick (who had made the remake of Battlestar Galactica (2004)) announced they were planning to make a spin-off prequel series called "Caprica" which was set at the time when humanity first created the Cylons. Although they had a vague idea of what the series would entail, they were too busy working on "Battlestar Galatica" to develop it further at that time. Some months later, a separate idea about artificial intelligence and using robots as slaves was pitched to NBC/Universal by Remi Aubuchon. Universal did not pick up Aubuchon's concept by itself but felt it would work within the realm of Moore's premise for the "Caprica" series. At Universal's suggestion, Moore and Eick then met with Aubuchon and their ideas were merged together.
The role of "Cyrus", Daniel Greystone's right hand man, was originally written for a 'hot twenty something', but Eric Stoltz saw Hiro Kanagawa's audition tape (for another role) and asked that he be cast instead.