Van Sant is a researcher at ExoGen 's R & D labs in the MBD (Mendax Business District). He specialises in engineering and robotics. As a young man, he enjoyed wealth as the inventor of robotic tools and drones. However, after ExoGen's rise to power, Betty forced him to surrender his patents in exchange for access to her equipment and resources. He became a shy and solemn man, usually speaking only to his colleague Diana. Her expertise in computers, combined with his new drone schematics, allowed them to construct a series of smart-bots, intended for public service at first, but as the robots improved, so did the researchers' skills and relationships, and they became frontiersmen of the age of technology. Betty decided to keep a leash on the project, urging more tactical and military development.
As the smart-bots developed into more humanoid forms, their perceived intelligence improved to almost unrecognisable levels. Diana developed an interface with which they designed 'personalities' for the units, and began living vicariously through their inventions. Van Sant eventually creates Bot-9, an AI unit with a flexible skeleton that may assume multiple forms. In Mind Machine, Diana invents the telepathic circuitry that allows them to control the robots by thought.