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Scientists send text message through evaporated vodka

How many people have sent a text
message they later regretted, blaming
alcohol as the catalyst for an ill-advised
Well, scientists at Canada’s York
University have flipped the “message in
a bottle” concept on its head, sending the
world’s first text message through
alcohol itself.
That’s right, a text message reading “O
Canada,” was transmitted using the
chemicals in evaporated vodka.
“We believe we have sent the world’s first
text message to be transmitted entirely
with molecular communication,
controlling concentration levels of the
alcohol molecules to encode the
alphabet, with single spray representing
bits and no spray representing the bit
zero,” said Nariman Farsad, a York
University doctoral candidate in charge
of the experiment.
As the Voice of America explains, while
the experiment was a first for
humankind, it mirrors the communicative
behavior exhibited by a number of other
creatures, including bees, which use
chemicals to transmit communications.
Another recent study found that some
plants use fungi as chemical conduits to
send their own warning messages to
other plants.
And the scientists responsible for the
communication say it could help advance
communications around the world,
particularly in areas like underground
tunnels that do not have access to
traditional wireless communication.
“Chemical signals can offer a more
efficient way of transmitting data inside
tunnels, pipelines or deep underground
structures,” York University professor
Andrew Eckford said.
“For example, the recent massive clog in
the London sewer system could have
been detected earlier on, and without all
the mess workers had to deal with, by
sending robots equipped with a
molecular communication system.”
The experiment’s findings were published
in the latest issue of the scientific journal
Eckford and his team say the chemical
communication worked transmitting the
message four meters across their lab,
using a simple tabletop fan to literally
push the message forward. A receiver on
the other end then picked up and
translated the message.
The research could yield exciting results
beyond personal communication.
University of Warwick professor Weisi
Guo, whose work helped launch the
experiment, said it could have
groundbreaking medical applications as
“They [molecular communication] can
also be used to communicate on the
nanoscale, for example in medicine
where recent advances mean it’s
possible to embed sensors into the
organs of the body or create miniature
robots to carry out a specific task such
as targeting drugs to cancer cells.”

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