Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

It's Email . . . but at a Snail's Pace

17.06.2008
Researchers at Bournemouth University have devised a project that will challenge our obsession with the speed of sending and receiving emails.

BU Research Fellows Vicky Isley and Paul Smith are using live snails as a means of sending emails as part of the ‘RealSnailMail’ (RSM) project. Over the coming months, visitors to the RSM website – www.realsnailmail.net – can send an electronic message to a friend, relative or work colleague.

The twist comes as the snails play their part. Each snail is fitted with a tiny capsule. Each capsule holds a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip. As the snails pass within range of an electronic ‘reader’ positioned within their campus-based tank, the emails will attach themselves to the chips. The emails will then be carried by the snails but only forwarded when the gastropods pass close to a second reader.

Under ‘normal’ circumstances, emails travel at the speed of light – some 700 million miles per hour and arrive within seconds of being sent. Via RSM, the emails will travel at .03 miles per hour and could take days, weeks or even months to arrive, if at all.

Visitors to the RSM website will be able to send and then monitor the progress of their emails as snails Muriel, Austin, Cecil and their companions go to work.

“One thing technology promises us is speed, acceleration, more of everything in less time,” says Paul Smith. “Culturally we seem obsessed with immediacy. Time is not to be taken but crammed to bursting point. For this reason, most corporations use RFID.”

“Normally, when we communicate by email, the physical endeavours of our fingertips are followed by an uninterrupted digital transportation until our thoughts are emitted through the pixels of the recipient’s screen,” he continues. “All we are doing here is creating a physical and biological interruption to this flow, but we hope by doing this it may also interrupt, for one small moment, our understanding of communication, allowing us to explore notions of time. It may even enable us to take time rather than lose it.”

Vicky and Paul are based within the National Centre for Computer Animation at BU. Together they collaborate as ‘boredomresearch’ (http://www.boredomresearch.net) and have earned an international reputation for interrogating the creative role of computing. This year boredomresearch has teamed up with Tim Orman & Andrew Watson from the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at BU to develop the hardware and network components for RSM.

Later this summer, RSM will feature at the world’s leading new media event – SIGGRAPH 2008 - as part of a ‘Slow Art’ category.

SIGGRAPH, short for Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics, will be held in Los Angeles from 11-15 August. The event is expected to attract some 30,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents.

“We hope that by the time we get to SIGGRAPH, a large number of emails will have already been sent for our snails to collect and forward,” says Vicky. “And who knows, maybe quite a few will have actually been received.”

This year marks a welcome return to SIGGRAPH for Vicky and Paul whose work previously featured at the event in 2005 (Los Angeles) and 2006 (Boston).

Charles Elder | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk
http://www.realsnailmail.net

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>