In Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, the main character Binti has an object she refers to as an "edan" - it's an object that allows her to communicate with another species she encounters, and seems to have other properties as well. She mentions that it's some sort of ancient technology that no one knows what it is anymore or what it was used for. There's not a lot of description in the book, just that it is metal and round (I think). It can also come apart into pieces, although I'm not sure if that's part of the design intentionally.

Is there any real-world object that it is based on, or that it is intended to mimic?

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