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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid