The hand terminal is the universal personal smart device.

Description[edit | edit source]

This device is used for person-to-person recorded video messages and live video calls. It also operates as a personal data manager, a remote control device, and an access control key among other purposes.

It is depicted as a solid clear rectangular device which resembles the dimensions of a smartphone from the early 21st century however is made entirely of a glass silicate or a transparent hard glossy plastic/polycarbonate material. The display, user experience, and operating system includes touch, proximal motion, and gesture detection, as well as potentially holographic projection (this may be from nearby devices that communicate in real-time with the hand terminal).

It can operate wirelessly on a cloud or on a private local communication network. Communication protocols and security protocols on the devices and the networks are unobtrusive. From the portrayal in the TV show as well as various situations throughout the books, the device is largely unusable without network connectivity.

Detective Josephus Miller Books • TV carried a hand terminal with a perceivable crack in it for the entire time he worked with Star Helix on Ceres. This crack did not appear to have an impact on the terminal's functionality. Considering how seemingly inexpensive these things appeared to have been given how often they were simply discarded in the recycler, it would have seemed easy for Miller to replace his damaged one. Miller did not display any particular emotional attachment to his. Miller did discard the device Anderson Dawes Books • TV used as part of his attempted bribe of the detective.[1]

Alex Books • TV refurbished a number of hand terminals for the refugees of Ganymede.

Media[edit | edit source]

Notes and trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The novelists of The Expanse stated they never had any rigid notion of how these devices would work. They suggested their experiences with technology probably left them with a rough notion that these were merely like "dumb terminals" working off of a remote data processing system such as a mainframe or perhaps something more contemporary in the early 21st century such as distributed cloud-based computing.
  • Hand terminals as depicted in the TV series bear a strong resemblance to present-day smartphones.


  1. Season 1, Episode 5, "Back to the Butcher" - hand terminal passed to Miller (22:56)
    Miller discards hand terminal (38:05)
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