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Messages sent via molecules can aid communication underground, underwater or inside the body
Date:12/18/2013

Scientists have created a molecular communications system for the transmission of messages and data in challenging environments such as tunnels, pipelines, underwater and within the body.

The technique has a wide range of applications in environments where electromagnetic waves cannot be used, for example in underground structures such as tunnels, pipelines or in underwater environments.

Molecular signalling is a common feature of the plant and animal kingdom insects for example use pheromones for long-range signalling - but to date continuous data have not been transmitted.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK and the York University in Canada have developed the capability to transform any generic message into binary signals, which in turn is 'programmed' into evaporated alcohol molecules to demonstrate the potential of molecular communications. Their results are published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The first demonstration signal was performed in Canada and was 'O Canada,' from the Canadian national anthem. It was sent several metres across open space before it was decoded by a receiver. The hardware is made from off-the-shelf electronics and costs around $100. The scientists believe the simple system could have a wide variety of applications, ranging from communication in hostile underground environments to nanotechnology.

"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 alphabets with single spray representing bit 1 and no spray representing the bit 0," says York U doctoral candidate Nariman Farsad, who led the experiment.

Dr Weisi Guo from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick said: "Imagine sending a detailed message using perfume it sounds like something from a spy thriller novel, but in reality it is an incredibly simple way to communicate
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Contact: Weisi Guo
weisi.guo@warwick.ac.uk
44-079-087-26108
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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