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 ")

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.

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.

 

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

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'

IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

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.