News / Science & Technology

Scientists Send Text Message Using Vodka

File - At a Kvint store, a saleswoman shows a vodka bottle. Scientists have used the spirit to send a text message (Vera Undritz for VOA)File - At a Kvint store, a saleswoman shows a vodka bottle. Scientists have used the spirit to send a text message (Vera Undritz for VOA)
x
File - At a Kvint store, a saleswoman shows a vodka bottle. Scientists have used the spirit to send a text message (Vera Undritz for VOA)
File - At a Kvint store, a saleswoman shows a vodka bottle. Scientists have used the spirit to send a text message (Vera Undritz for VOA)
VOA News
Drunk texting has a new meaning.

Scientists at York University in Canada say they’ve successfully sent a text message, “O Canada,” using evaporated vodka. They say the system could one day fill gaps where wireless technology fails.

“Chemical signals can offer a more efficient way of transmitting data inside tunnels, pipelines or deep underground structures. 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,” said Professor Andrew Eckford of York University.

The chemical signal, using the alcohol in vodka, was sent four meters across the lab with the aid of a tabletop fan. It was then extracted by a receiver that measured the rate of change in concentration of the alcohol molecules, picking up whether the concentration was increasing or decreasing.

“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,” says York University doctoral candidate Nariman Farsad, who led the experiment.

Though use of chemical signals is a new method in human communication technology, the bio-compatible method is very common in the animal kingdom. Bees, for example, use chemicals in pheromones when there is a threat to the hive, and so does the Canadian lnyx when marking its territory.

The researchers’ article, “Tabletop Molecular Communication: Text Messages Through Chemical Signals," appears in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified York University as located in England. VOA regrets the error.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Isaac from: Toronto
January 02, 2014 1:55 PM
Noted that assumption was made previously that York University was in England. Would it not be correct to check its location before publication? Furthermore, would you mention a US University as follows: Insert name of University, in the United States or would you name the city and state or both? Canada is a very large country with many universities. York is in Toronto.
Why not state that rather than "York University in Canada". You had that opportunity when you corrected the error regarding it being in England but missed it.

by: Paul from: Alabama
December 22, 2013 2:37 PM
Well we have it! One up on American Indian smoke signals with automated reading of the results. Sorry guys this isn't anything new. Fun yes but great science?
In Response

by: MB from: California
December 24, 2013 5:01 PM
LOL I was just thinking the same thing . . . how is this any different than smoke signals or Morse code? Come on, guys, stop getting your science ideas from the Boy Scout manual (just kidding).

Fun experiment, though.

by: tambi peter tambi from: mamfe CAMEROON
December 20, 2013 4:13 AM
i wish i could always received mails from Ur in order to know the type of malaria drugs to use

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More