Light globes are the core of light technology. They are hollow spheres of glass or other materials. They contain and manipulate light to perform many different functions. They recharge whenever they are exposed to light, but fiber optic cables can charge them faster. Globes typically are controlled by touching their surface. For example, they can be "thumbed up" by running a finger along their surface. It is important for light globes to be as smooth as possible, especially on the inside. Imperfect globes can explode violently.
Globes have versatile functionality. They can:
- Produce light (screens, etc)
- Manipulate light
- Explode (for mining, military, etc)
- Calculate (computers)
- Heal (hospital)
- Produce audio
Known types of light globes include:
- Glow globes. Basically lightbulbs.
- Naviglobes (similar to GPS/cellphones).
- Display globes (similar to TVs)
- Sneaker globes, which provide invisibility, and Seeker globes, which detect Sneakers
- Flashbangs. Grenades that make a flash, bang, smoke, small shockwave. Activated with a triple-tap; a slide can delay detonation.
- Energy exchangers. Convert heat and pressure to usable energy.
- Hospital. Bathe a person in light to restore their health.
- Near Field Disruptors
- Drive globes.
Modern light globes (during Selda's adulthood) are built of primarily calcite and water. They have intricate circuits and nanocircuits. They are coated with a gel.
Light globe production requires cave darkness. Because Welltower has this in abundance, as well as a large number of experienced personnel and secrets to manufacturing processes, Welltower is the exclusive manufacturer of light globes. Aer (father) and his son are in charge of globe manufacture. Later on, Alizon and Serrin create their own globe manufacturing facilities under the licensing and leadership of Aer.
Light globe technology progressed at a phenomenal rate through the books. In books 1-3, light globes are prone to exploding if dropped. They can suffer a feedback reaction causing them to blow up explosively as in the Rebound War. They can't produce sound and can fulfill relatively basic computing and communications functions.
21 years later in book 4, inventions such as hard light and artificial intelligence (see Rick) are fairly commonplace. It's so hard for globes to explode accidentally that nobody believes that Fvlet's car crash was an accident. All globes have safety shutoff features against feedback explosions.
- Appendix, On the Nature of Energy
- Bk. 4 Ch. Evaluation