Right now, most electronics cannot transmit signals through the human body, but research that a team at Stanford University is conducting could change that. A machine they created can send digital messages without using electronics. Instead, it uses common household liquids.
Developed by Nariman Farsad, who is a post-doctoral fellow in an engineering lab at Stanford, the idea of communicating through chemicals could change the way information is transmitted and received. Aside from wireless abilities and being seriously affordable, this method of transmission could also make our electronics better. Under water or places with lots of metal, for example, would now be environments where this electronic system could be used.
Farsad’s system works by turning pH changes into code, via the pulsing of an acid within a base that creates zeros and ones. These conflicting chemicals would be enough for a tiny sensor to detect pH changing, and then encode the changing pH as a zero or a one. That would result in binary code produced by a liquid rather than an electronic.
To test the system, the research team typed a message on a small computer, and a signal then went out to a machine that produced the corresponding bits of chemicals, which in this case is either a spurt of vinegar or glass cleaner. That spurt then travels through a tube and into a container with the pH sensor in it. The changes that occur are sent to a computer that can break out the encoded message.
The reason why vinegar and glass cleaner were chosen is because they’re so ubiquitous, and because they cancel each other out.
The possibilities for this system are seemingly endless, and pretty cool. You could send secret messages, have robots send messages back and forth and leave a chemical trail, or replace conventional communications if an electrical grid kicked out. But probably the coolest thing is its ability to work within the human body, where nanobots could talk to other nanobots using liquid text.
There are still a lot of limitations that the system faces, like how to transmit signals over far distances, how to separate a signal from a noise, and how to power it all. But even so, the idea itself is pretty cool in and of itself.
Article source: gizmodo.com
Featured image source: stanford.edu