Sixteen-year-old Alexander Kendrick has put together a low-frequency radio which allows for the transmission of text messages from caves nearly 1,000 feet underground. I still can't get a single bar of reception on the subway.
Aside from updating Twitter with messages of "It's dark in here" while spelunking, Kendrick's science fair-winning cave-texting device could actually help save lives. Underground rescues in caves or mines are time consuming and dangerous ventures because of the rescue teams' inability to communicate well—unless they lay down miles of telephone line as a rescue team in new Mexico once did. With this cave-texting system, rescuers would be able to maintain contact and potentially get medical aid where it's needed a heck of a lot faster.
Of course Kedrick's project isn't the first cave radio, but its test was actually "the deepest known underground digital communication ever to take place in the United States." I hope the text was "Hello World." [NPR via Slashdot via Make]
Photo by Brad Horn.