Sending a message underwater seems impossible, as the signal will instantly go off. It almost seems insulting that modern technology cannot deal with a little water, a substance that’s crucial for all life forms on Earth.
But that won’t be the case any more thanks to the new work of researchers from the University of Washington. The Mobile Intelligence Lab at UW that’s led by Ph.D. student Tuochao Chen, and professor Shyam Gollakota created a communication app that’s able to do its magic underwater by using sonic signals. Whether you and your friend are both deep diving underwater, the app will still work if both of you have it installed.
AquaApp is the software in question, and it uses the speaker of the phone to create high-frequency audio signals, with the goal of communicating data rather than radio.
Radio signals such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cannot work while the user is underwater. The presentation video shows the app in action: users are underwater with smartphones in waterproof cases. We can all easily see how two smartphone users can communicate underwater. You’ll obviously need a waterproof shield for that phone of yours unless the device itself is already waterproof.
Justin Chan, a graduate student and the co-lead-author of Chen, explained as TechCrunch quotes:
For example, fluctuations in signal strength are aggravated due to reflections from the surface, floor and coastline,
Motion caused by nearby humans, waves and objects can interfere with data transmission. We had to adapt in real time to these and other factors to ensure AquaApp would work under real-world conditions.
What do you think about the AquaApp software? Would you be willing to use it? Do you find it useful? Feel free to tell us in the comment section below!