A new discovery may give the term “drunk texting” a whole new meaning. Researchers in Toronto’s York University are learning to send text messages through alcohol…literally.
The scientists converted sprays of isopropyl alcohol into binary code to transmit the message. Using an Arduino Uno board, an Adafruit LCD, a desk fan and a household spray bottle, the researchers sent a text message across a tabletop via molecular diffusion.
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The fan was used to push alcoholic mist across the tabletop, while a sensor at the other end of the table measured the air’s alcohol content. The vapor was then reassembled into non-binary characters to successfully reconstruct the message, which read “Oh Canada.” The experiment was conducted using off-the-shelf materials costing about $100.
York University professor Andrew Eckford, who performed the experiment in his lab at York University’s Department of Electrical Engineering, says this method could be used to send messages where traditional radio signals don’t work.
“Chemical signals can offer a more efficient way of transmitting data inside tunnels, pipelines, or deep underground structures,” Eckford said.
The report also mentions that this technology could be used for more than communication. The method could be used to wirelessly monitor sewage works and oil rigs, potentially preventing disasters such as the “fatberg” that blocked London’s sewage network earlier this year.