Reverse engineering is the process by which a man-made object is deconstructed to reveal its designs, architecture, or to extract knowledge from the object. Throughout various Terminator fictions, the concept of reverse engineering usually comes with time travel as future technology comes to past whenever an object, usually a Humanoid Hunter Killer (Infiltrator), is sent from the future and later destroyed, then acquired by present-day people.
- In original timeline, Skynet and Hunter-Killers were developed by Cyberdyne Systems with the wreckage of T-800 sent from the alpha timeline, specifically its damaged processor. This plot is also explored in 2029 to 1984 timeline.
- In Cybernetic Dawn timeline, it is revealed Cyberdyne Systems had been collecting and studying T-800 wreckages, possibly fail time-travelling experiments by Skynet, around the world in order to reverse-engineer its technology.
- In T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, judging from its appearance, T-70 is highly speculated to be reverse engineered by the destroyed remains of the first T-800 sent to kill Sarah Connor.
- In Rise of the Machines timeline, Cyber Research Systems had already began the development of T-600 and T-800 Terminators as well as Model 101 outer sheath based on the plan acquired from the now defunct Cyberdyne Systems.
- In Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle, it is revealed that Dr. Serena Kogan took a living tissue sample tissue from the Teenaged Terminator in order to revere-engineer it to get the "last puzzle" she needed for her research.