This article is under construction, and expansion is planned in the future.
Ovidia's universe is a 20-minutes-into-the-future setting in which the major difference between them and us is that they are at the dawn of an era in which a working brain-computer interface has been perfected.
The major form of brain-computer interface is the diadem, a successor to the transcranial stimulation helmets currently in use. With a detailed brain scan, the diadem is capable of transmitting extremely precise signals to the brain in order to alter its functioning. This process can be time-consuming depending on the exact alterations required, but most types of alterations are understood and possible using this system. This includes but is not limited to the erasure, alteration, or installation of memories, false inputs, the alteration of preferences and responses to stimuli, and the alteration of personalities. Some of these changes require only one session to install; some wear off over time.
This technology is not without risk. Extremely extensive use of the technology, as determined by the length of time undergoing active alteration and the frequency of alterations, is a risk factor in developing dementia in the same way smoking is a risk factor for developing cancer. The risk is usually very slight for most applications, orders of magnitude less dangerous than getting an MRI. Some treatments, such as the treatment regimen developed for depression or other wide-ranging mood disorders, are intensive and frequent enough to have a noticeable increase in risk, which is why anti-depressants are still used. The technology did not obsolete existing methods of treating mood disorders; it's simply one more tool in the box to help them.
It was believed that the diadem could render itself unable to affect the functioning of the brain, a kind of brain-wave 'corruption' that produced no side effects, but that made further use of this technology impossible. This was thought to be an unfortunate bug until it was better understood. Wide-ranging alterations during a state in which a person is fixated upon a particular thought will not only fail, but prevent other alterations to affected areas of the brain without the subject re-fixating upon that thought. This has now been turned into a security feature known as a passthought, which protects the brain from most forms of alteration without concentrating upon the passthought. Recent advancements in passthought technology have allowed for a 'foot in the door' initialization, allowing the computer to open a persistent connection once it is let in by the passthought, which negates the previous necessity for a subject to continually concentrate for the duration of the alteration.
It is not known whether passthoughts are alterable after creation. Work is underway to test this.
This technology requires a decent amount of bandwidth and processing power in order to properly perform, but can be done by peripherals attached to high-end, but still consumer-grade, computers, similar to VR rigs today. Thus, the lightest and most mobile diadems are intended for use with laptops, not tablets or phones. However, advancements in psychoacoustics have resulted in fairly reliable audio waveforms that can perform some forms of alteration, notably alterations in consciousness, and these can be exported and played using any consumer audio device. Some of these waveforms are able to bypass the passthought and perform alterations regardless of whether the subject is concentrating on their passthought or not, though the method by which they do this is poorly understood and it is considered to be a security hole that work is underway to patch. Until then, possession of such audio files or algorithms designed to render them are a crime.
Like with many technologies, apps and electronics began to be rapidly produced as soon as the technology became public. Digital drugs and other mood-altering scripts were completely unregulated until they were put into drug schedules and legalized. A range of sensations are still available, just with ID requirements and minimum age laws.
An industry revolutionized by this technology was the sleep industry. Reliable, side-effect-free audio waveforms rendered most forms of sleep pharmaceuticals obsolete overnight. Many consumer goods exist to generate the waveforms that cause a subject to fall asleep, but audio files are also freely available off the internet.
Some musicians have been able to weave musical accompaniment into the waveforms without disrupting their effect. It is difficult to accomplish, and usually requires minimalist genres, though several have had success in producing such genres as hard rock, epic trance, or experimental rap with noticeable effects. Some choose to augment the emotional effect of the music they're already writing; some choose to juxtapose bizarre combinations of moods to create entirely new experiences known as 'emotional mashups'.
Because brain-computer interfaces require a significant amount of translation to be intelligible, they require a lot of processor power to render. However, connecting one brain to another brain is a significantly cheaper operation because both entities 'speak the same language', so to speak. So it is possible to have a wireless, two-way interface that allows multiple brains to talk to each other. So far, few have done so, and even fewer have elected to keep their brains connected for longer than small periods at once, due to the extreme intimacy enforced by such devices. Only a few brave and dedicated individuals have even attempted an always-on interface with another person.
- Not its name. Because Ovidia is the most prominent character from that universe, it's called that. There is no official name for her universe yet.
- TVTropes: 20 Minutes Into The Future