The Connexus is the predominant mobile communications device in Olympus during the late 2130s. Seen in Ex Machina, it represents the first shift from the traditional cellphone form factor, and is contained in a pair of earclips, that on the surface resemble Bluetooths, but are significantly different.
Although it isn't made clear who invented the Connexus, or who markets them (other than the fact it isn't Poseidon), like the iPhone of today, it is a cultural/status device that nearly everyone owns, with different models and designs to match outfits or personal moods.
An open-source technology, anyone can develop applications for the Connexus (almost like today's Android operating system), with the added benefit (and eventual detriment, as the movie goes to point out) that the apps can communicate directly with the wearer's mental system.
Form factor and operating principlesEdit
Although it would appear that the device is a pair of wireless earbuds, the first striking thing about the Connexus is that they don't actually nestle in the wearer's earlobe, but rather clip on the outside of each of them, leaving the ear canal completely unblocked. There is no actual speaker driver or similar sound generator, which reveals that the Connexus actually is heard through mental perception, that is, the unit interfaces directly with the wearer's brain, causing them to think they are hearing the cellular conversation. This is a useful feature in a society with a high cyborg population, where some individuals (like Briareos and Aeacus) no longer have biological hearing capabilities, and are unable to rely on tradition headphones or earphones. Aeacus uses a pair of the devices, even though he has only one human ear, as half his head has been replaced with a cybernetic implant. He clips the other onto the side of his head where his ear used to be, further cementing the notion that the Connexus might work via mental electrostimulation.
The Connexus probably uses stereo microphones, but again, appears to capture the voice through a means other than than traditional magnetic microphones. Given that there are no apparent perforations for such an acoustic pickup, it could use resonance capture technology like the Jawbone bluetooth earpiece, making it resilient to wind interference or other background noise.
Given how common 3D holography is in Olympus, it isn't surprising that the Connexus doesn't have a physical display, but projects a panoramic monitor in front of the wearer's eyes, when necessary. The UI is predominantly yellow in colour, and can display translucent, but high contrast and high resolution, graphics.
SMS and MMS applicationsEdit
Texting is still in universal use, but the short messaging service (SMS) appears to have been completely replaced by the mutlimedia messaging service (MMS), given how Hitomi's birthday party invitation (seen in the movie) features text and pictures, plus animation. This would be a natural evolution, given that the impromptu messaging service would by now have been in existence for over two hundred years with minor changes.
How the user enters text into the system is unclear, as the device features only two buttons, one on ear ear, which are "soft-keys" with context sensitive uses depending on what's on the display at the time, a concept Nokia introduced in the mid 1990s . Hitomi, for example, tells Deunan that when the device is idle (or on the "desktop" perhaps) the right soft-key triggers the messaging window. Given how it's hinted that the device connects with the wearer's brain, it wouldn't be surprising to surmise that thoughts can be translated into written words, with graphics imagined and then placed into the message. Pretty unrealistic perhaps, but like most Shirow Masamune high-tech concepts, the method behind the idea is intentionally left unsaid rather than explained with pseudoscience.
The Connexus is a satellite phone, and can interface with any satellite network, regardless of country or origin, which suggests that the earth has adopted a universal cellular standard by 2138 (a late evolution of LTE, perhaps?). While this makes for easy international calling and texting, regardless of national boundaries or political systems, it also makes the entire brand of devices vulnerable to a puppet-master virus, especially given how the operating system is open-source and seemingly unprotected to outside hacking.
Integrated circuit designEdit
Like a lot of technology in Olympus, the Connexus uses biochips. This suggests that the unit is not binary in operation, but uses biological microprocessors. As the movie further goes to demonstrate, the biochip arrangement is also a loophole in the system, that allows for not only the user's mind to be potentially controlled, but though nerve stimulation, their muscles and overall movement as well.
ES.W.A.T. later demonstrates how effectively this can be done by taping a single Connexus to a lab rat, and then broadcasting a predetermined radio frequency at close range, in order to manipulate the biochips in the device. The chips subsequently melt, bonding onto the animals skin, causing it to run madly around its cage, mimicking the very movements of human rioters who had nearly overrun the G32 peace conference being held at Tartaros earlier that week.
Links and TriviaEdit
- Although there aren't any mainstream wireless phones that are self-contained in an earpiece, there appear to be a few rare examples made in China. We'll post links when we find them.
- Merely an mp3 player, the Sony W-Series Walkman is visually quite similar to the Connexus, though an unsightly (and distinctly 21st-century) wire connects both earpieces together. The unit was generally a flop in Canada, and is only now being seen on the streets following price cuts that saw them selling for as little as $50. Maybe the future came too soon?