Orbs of Pondering

Originally published at: Orbs of Pondering | The Associated Worlds

A popular fad of the 2200s and 2300s was the Spherecomm™, a portable communications terminal in the form of a light, hand-held crystal ball. Most of the time, the Spherecomm™ provides the same functionality as any terminal, using a special interface designed to make use of the “infinite, omnidirectional scrolling” provided by its spherical screen, and to allow manipulation with all four fingers and the thumb while the Spherecomm™ is held in the palm of the hand; however, with a quick mode-switch, the Spherecomm™ can instead use its internal volume as a fully functional volumetric display, suitable for both trinet and trivision reception as well as other trigraphic applications.

Early versions of the Spherecomm™ required an attached base (as seen in the picture at right) to house the power supply and associated electronics. While also functional as a stand to hold the Spherecomm™ at rest and prevent it from rolling away, this proved unpopular in use, and interface designers lamented the loss of the ability to treat rotation of the device as a meaningful gesture.

Fortunately, technology was soon to provide alternatives, with the power supply being reduced to a minimal size and located in the center of the Spherecomm™, with light being refracted around it – rendering it invisible – as a function of the device body’s crystalline structure. Meanwhile, the addition of low-power ionic/magnetohydrodynamic thrust to the Spherecomm™ casing allowed it to keep itself upright when set down, and as a small and light device, even suspend itself in mid-air for group viewing, or to follow its owner while in use – the forerunner of today’s commonplace docuspheres and conversation balls.

While the Spherecomm™ fashion eventually came to an end in favor of ring terminals and other jewelry-cased designs, and of free-space volumetric displays, the devices themselves never entirely passed out of use. Is it time for a revival of the form factor?

I think so.

Our Old Inspirations, Your Novel Ideas (1Q 3025 edition)

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Do. Want!

Even if I can’t get one with the vector-control tech to hover in place where I left it…


Add a vector-control “follow” mode and you have a Destiny ghost bytegeist.

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