Earth Barcoded For Alien Convenience

This story is a bit different, so bear with me. It starts with the Hello World Project that Bernd Hopfengärtner was working on this past summer. He spent a considerable amount of time cutting a semacode into a wheat field just outside of Ilmenau in Germany.


(Hello World Project semacode)

A "semacode" is a special kind of a barcode, a two-dimensional barcode that is a computer-generated visual tag. It has been used for ubiquitous computing projects; semacode takes an URL (a web address) and converts it into a graphic that can be read with a suitably-equipped picture phone. You see the semacode pasted to a real world object, take a picture with your phone, the software decodes the semacode image and voila you go to the URL on your web-enabled phone. For example, you could put a semacode tag on a lamppost outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that encoded "http://www.whitehouse.gov."

So now Bernd has tagged the Earth with a semacode that reads "Hello World." His semacode is 170 meters by 170 meters, and consists of an 18x18 grid of light and dark squares. He assumes that people will use Google Earth to read it.


(Hello World Project semacode close-up)

Apparently, he doesn't realize that, since this object can be seen from space, it "tags" the Earth for visiting aliens in the same way that streetcorners or other objects can be tagged for people.

It just so happens that the idea of somehow creating codes or symbols that are large enough to be read from space by aliens is an idea that is more than a century old. In his 1867 novel From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne wrote about a way to communicate with the inhabitants of the Moon:

I am bound to add that some practical geniuses have attempted to establish actual communication with her. Thus, a few days ago, a German geometrician proposed to send a scientific expedition to the steppes of Siberia. There, on those vast plains, they were to describe enormous geometric figures, drawn in characters of reflecting luminosity...
(Read more about Verne's way to communicate with aliens)

Update: Remember the famous images on the plain of Nazca?

Read more about Hello World and semacodes, via pasta&vinegar.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/7/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 7 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1923.

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.' - William Gibson, 1986.

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it' - Pournelle and Niven, 1981.

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.