Scientists have discovered that vodka makes texting easy — that’s because vodka, they’ve found, can be used to create and send texts. Data can, and has, been transmitted over several meters using material that can bought in many stores for less than $100 and the price of a pint bottle — or less — of vodka. Who needs Verizon or AT&T when you have UV, Smirnoff and Skyy?
The molecular messaging system that the scientists have developed imitates nature’s chemical signalling. The scientists are attempting to mimic this chemical signalling and use it in environments not suited for wireless technology, like in a person’s body and tunnels and pipelines and underwater.
According to Dr Weisi Guo from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, they aren’t the first ones to ever use chemicals for short range signalling, but they are at the next level. They have “successfully communicated continuous and generic messages over several meters.”
How did Dr. Guo and his team transmit a text message using vodka?
Dr. Guo and his colleagues didn’t use rocket science nor telekinesis to transmit the text message “O Canada” that they sent — they used evaporated vodka to send forth this line from the Canadian national anthem in binary code. A single spray of vodka meant bit 1, while no spray was the equivalent of a bit 0.
The rest, as the saying goes, was elementary. It just took a desktop fan to send the vodka text message a distance of more than 13 feet (four meters) where the fumes from the liquor entered a receiver. The receiver measured the changing rate of concentration of vodka molecules that resulted. The researchers had hit upon a method of encoding the entire alphabet using binary code, a fan, and vodka.
While the scientists acknowledge that sending text messages via vodka won’t supplant electromagnetic waves as a means of transmitting communications wirelessly, according to Dr. Guo, there are places where using chemical signals such as the binary coded vodka-fueled messages could work in places where receiving electromagnetic signals is almost impossible to do, like inside tunnels, on oil rigs, and within sewage works.
Dr. Guo has stated that being able to transmit data under these sorts of conditions, and using chemical signals like those of vodka could even prevent future disasters similar to the 2110 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Getting the message about potential disasters out that much sooner might prevent it from becoming worse. Vodka-based chemical signals could communicate with robots utilized to clean up clogged sewer systems, like what occurred in London in 2013.
Texting using vodka could even be used on the nanoscale. At the nanoscale level, according to Dr. Guo, “There are constraints with electromagnetic signal.”
One of these constraints is “the ratio of antenna size to the wavelength of the signal.” Dr, Guo points out that with chemical signalling, there is no such problem. Also, not much energy is required to create and send forth these sorts of chemical signals.
What about other potential future applications of vodka-based texting? The mind boggles at the sorts of messages that can be sent one day while bar hopping or at college frat parties using nothing more than a vodka Red Bull or a vodka jello shot. It beats the kind of messages that can be sent by methane gas by a mile.
Insects, animals, and flowers have us beat when it comes to using chemical signals. Dogs and cats can tell a lot about other dogs and cats they meet through being able to detect often subtle odors with their sensitive noses, and bees use chemicals called pheromones to alert the entire colony whenever there’s danger to their hive.
You can read the entire study about how Dr. Guo and his team of researchers sent vodka-powered text messages several meters using binary code in the Plos One journal at the last source listed below. The study has the rather lengthy name: “Tabletop Molecular Communication: Text Messages Through Chemical Signals.”
Written by: Douglas Cobb