Most teens do a lot of texting on their phones. But just one—sixteen-year-old Alexander Kendrick—has come up with a new invention in text messaging that could save lives and revolutionize the science world.
Kendrick won the 2009 International Science Fair with a low-frequency radio device that allows people to transmit text messages from 1,000 feet underground. Sure, it may seem a bit heavy duty for coordinating a meet-up spot with your friends at the mall, but it’s got a much more specific purpose: it’s meant to be used in caves, where cell phone signals are unable to reach.
For cavers, Kendrick’s texting invention could mean the difference between life and death. When explorers become trapped or lost in caves, they typically have no way to communicate with the outside world or to let people know where they are. Even when they manage to survive long enough to be found, it can take hundreds of rescuers to help retrieve them. With Kendrick’s new device, they can easily send a message to a contact above ground, which can vastly speed up rescue efforts.
The underground texting device could also help scientists transmit data from underground without affecting caves’ fragile ecosystems. By connecting data recorders in caves to the device, scientists should be able to track important information about caves and the microorganisms living there without actually setting foot there. By visiting the caves virtually rather than in person, the scientists will not have the negative impact on the environment that they otherwise would.
“So a cave radio that allows you to beam data to the surface rather than visiting it in person can be extremely valuable,” microbiologist Diana Northup told NPR . “It could save the cave.”
While Kendrick is still working on refining the device, he’s got even more on his mind. He’s finalizing this year’s science project, a device to locate underground rivers. Will he be a two time gold medalist? Either way, he’s a shoo-in for Harvard, MIT, or the mining school of his choice.
By Kathryn Hawkins for Gimundo.com