Long Range, Low Technology Communication

The Assignment

The goal of our assignment was to formulate a system of long-distance communication (~200 yards, beyond the useful range of a human voice) that is:

  • not dependent on 'advanced' technology
  • efficient and effective
  • aesthetically pleasing
    (please note that 'safe for those involved/observing' is not included)

    Within these parameters, two basic types of systems are allowed: an alphabetical scheme in which each discrete signal refers to a Roman letter, or an logogramic scheme, in which each signal refers to an idea or short phrase.

    The Team

    Andrew Worley - Receiver
    Chris Hom - Sender

    The System

    In lieu of an alphabet-based communication scheme, our team opted for a phrase-based system. We felt an alphabetic system would be too prone to interference and signal loss ("noise") given the conditions of the event.

    The system itself involves the use of a 6 x 6 grid, with each collumn/row assigned a color. To designate a specific phrase, the Sender determines which two colors match it's coordinates (for example, "This Is My Boomstick" would be Green left, Blue right) and then holds aloft a pair of poles with the necessary colors attatched. The Receiver then observes the colors, and locates the appropriate phrase on the grid. The Reciever then holds a single bare pole aloft to indicate proper receipt of message.

    right hand
    yellow red blue green orange pink
    yellow Yes No/Not Maybe I You We
    red They Are And Or Some All
    blue If Then Food Drink Class Booze
    green I Love
    Medic This Is My
    Need Want KHAAAN!!!
    orange Eat Hot Cold Him Her It
    pink Rock'n'
    Inter-webs See Hear On Under

    In addition to the array of phrases designated by specific colors, a white pole indicates the start of a message, a black pole indicates the end of a message, and one of each indicates end of communications.

    From the end of the Receiver, a single stationary pole indicates acknowledgement, while two waved poles indicates confusion.

    The Results

    the gear pre-mission
    Chris says
    get it
    Chris says
    (click any thumbnail to open larger image)

    copyright 2006 Andrew Worley