An Operation Orb (演算宝珠) is a tool mages use to interfere with reality through magic according to their will. A breakthrough to recreate miraculous phenomena through the combination of both mana and analog calculation.
Not much has been revealed about the inner working of Operation orb, but the orb's main function is to process the world data and convert mana of user mages. The Great Powers had developed a cutthroat competition in researching this technology. In the second chapter of Deus lo Vult, it's revealed that the Empire is the pioneer of this aspect of magical technology with their Chief Engineer Adelheid von Schugel.
The man also responsible for keeping Empire's superior standing in magical technology, which is achieved through practical implementation of dual-core operation orb, which is called Elinium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb.
Normally, orbs can work fine if they receive basic maintenance once a month.
During the Industrial Revolution, magic went through a revolution following other fields of study that were influenced by war. In their search to optimize spell composition, the analogue computer Differential Analyzer caught their attention. Inspiring engineer to duplicate computerization by magic and invent the modern magical device, Operational Orb.
The design of the magical computer that facilitates mages to compose spells is based on a pocket watch. Making the Operational Orb a device that is compact, sturdy and precise. In Tanya's era, an operation orb was more expensive than a flagship tank or aircraft. In short, normal orbs cost as much as the most powerful weapons.
Operation Orb Models
Type 13 Standard Operation Orb
The operation orb which was from Volcker Arms Factory and used by Tanya in the beginning of the series.
Elenium Type 95 Operation Orb
Developed by Adelheid von Schugel and his team of Elenium Arms as the first multi-core operational orb. It uses 4 cores as opposed to using only 1 like normal models do, quadrupling the output of an Operation Orb that uses mana in place of fuel, but at the cost of mana consumption rate increase by four-fold. The Type 95 is an experimental revolutionary Orb which theoretically allows the user to reach an altitude of 18,000 feet and cast multiple spells. Its final goal is to achieve Mana Fixation. However, it is very unstable and fragile, with a very high chance of exploding.
Thanks to Existence X Tanya is the only person in the world who can safely use the Type 95 by praying to "God" or "Being X". Achieving even miraculous deed of materializing mana to the world, a technology that 1,000 years ahead of the present. Existence X has also modified the orb to cause Tanya to gradually become more faithful to him whenever she utilizes it, much to her ire. However this makes her entered state of mental corruption where she able to retain her memories even vaguely with the help of rosary on her neck. She barely remembered the selection of 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion due to side effect of Elinium Type 95 usage that corrupts her mental.
Elinium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb
An Operation Orb with 2 cores developed by Professor Schugel, a product version of Tanya's Elenium Type 95 that couldn't be mass produced. The principle of this orb is the same as Elenium Type 95, but more stable and far inferior output.
However, this Orb is still a generation ahead of existing Orbs used by other countries. It is a revolutionary model that was hard to handle for single-core users.
6F Water-Resistant ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
A new model handled by US Skunk Association in April, 1926. It was very famous around Commonwealth marine mages that they wanted it if at all possible. However, it only just got on the production line and was going to be a while before satisfying the domestic demand.
4U General-Purpose ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
A old model handled by US Skunk Association in April, 1926. Its performance was so-so rated by Commonwealth.
G58 ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
An experimental model failing to be adopted and handled by US Skunk Association in April, 1926. It was prioritized stability, and on top of poor peripheral compatibility, the manufacturing costs were high.