NIXSolutions: AquaApp Messenger for Underwater Communication

According to scientists from the University of Washington, when immersed in water by five to ten meters, the smartphone loses its signal. And with it, standard messengers stop working. But not with AquaApp. It is not afraid of any depth. This self-explanatory app uses sound waves to send messages underwater.

In fact, when radio waves are absorbed by water, none of the signals our phones send or receive can reach their destination. For this reason, writes Techcrunch, underwater vehicles need a cable. Urgent information is transmitted to the depth and back to the surface with its help. Professional divers have another means of communication: sign language. They have dozens of signals in their arsenal, indicating that there is “little air”, “danger on the right”, and so on. In a word, knowledgeable people can convey important information without problems. Another question is whether they like to communicate in this way.

This question was pondered in the Mobile Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Washington. A team of scientists led by Professor Shyam Gollakota and graduate student Tuochao Chen conducted a large-scale experiment, during which the AquaApp messenger appeared.

The app uses the phone’s speaker to create high-frequency beeps, says SRSLY. The only thing the owner needs to do is download the application and buy a waterproof case for their gadget. But everything is so simple only in ideal conditions. Usually, the sound signal has a lot of obstacles. Its transmission depends on the location of the sender and receiver, their relative speed and what surrounds them. Therefore, AquaApp was taught to adapt to everything. The application constantly recalibrates itself with a special signal. The second phone easily picks up this signal and informs the first one about its characteristics.

The technique turned out to be working. During field experiments on lakes and in the “bay with strong waves”, the researchers proved that they can exchange data at a distance of more than a hundred meters – of course, at a very low bit rate, but quite enough to become an alternative to existing diving gestures. NIXSolutions notes that it is unknown whether divers themselves will want to use AquaApp, as many of them are traditionalists. But the underwater messenger with its unique skills can be useful to someone else. The application has open source code, which can be found in the GitHub repository.