Cell phones keep us in constant contact with friends and loved ones almost everywhere–except underground. It’s not a bad thing for keeping the peace on the subway, but having cell phone access while trapped in a cave could be a bit more useful. Enter the cave radio, designed by 16-year-old Alexander Kendrick. The device–a computer attached to a ham radio that sends out data using low-frequency radio waves–can send text messages up to 1,000 feet underground.
Kendrick and his team recently tested the radio in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico with positive results. The inventor attempted to text the word “Happy” to his father, who was waiting above ground. “Appy” popped up on the screen–not perfect, but a promising start.
Next up, Kendrick plans to make the radio smaller and more durable so that rescue crews can bring it down to caves. At the moment, the device is unwieldy, with an antenna that consists of a six foot wide frame. But eventually, Kendrick’s radio could be used to ensure the safety of cave explorers, scientists, and anyone else who who falls down the rabbit hole.
[Via Popular Science]