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 ")

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...' - John Varley, 1984.

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.

SmileCloud Bubloons Are Custom Clouds
'Spurgle kicked at the letter G... It was a monstrous white thing, ten feet thick, half a city block long...' - Alan Nelson, 1953.

 

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

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...'

Liquid Metal Shape-Changing 'Soft Robotics'
'A mimetic poly-alloy... 'What the hell does that mean?''

The Hammock Caravan And Italo Calvino's Octavia
'Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made.'

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...'

Watch 'Do You Trust This Computer' For Free Today
Thanks for making this available, Elon.

Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.

Elon Musk Tweets Versions Of Clarke's Operation Cleanup
'Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task.'

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...'

Walmart’s Autonomous Robot Bees
Everyone loves bees.

EA Created AI That Taught Itself To Play Battlefield
Harmless fun for computer scientists.

Is Teleportation A Death Sentence?
'A long trail of dead, he thought, left across the stars...'

New Brain Scanner Lets You Move Around
'In Bob Arctor's living room his thousand dollar custom-quality cephscope crafted by Altec...'

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.'

Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

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.