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Researcher Runs IP Network Over Xylophones 83

Posted by timothy
from the like-y'-do dept.
joabj writes "Following up on experiments of running Internet Protocol(IP)-based networks with carrier pigeons or bongos, UofC grad student R. Stuart Geiger has demonstrated that it is possible to transmit simple ping requests across two computers using people playing xylophones. Throughput is roughly 1 baud, when the participants don't make any mistakes, or get bored and wander off. The OSI encapsulated model of networking makes this project doable, allowing humans to be inserted at Layer 1, the physical layer. Vint Cerf wasn't kidding when he used to say, 'IP on Everything.'"
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Researcher Runs IP Network Over Xylophones

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  • this isn't even cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I remember doing "networking via scraps of paper" at school.

    Writing silly notes since kindergarten and then actually implementing some real protocol in computing classes.

    Then a couple of years later an LED, a bit of fibre and an LDR and we were building "fibre networks".

    Mind you, this was two decades ago.

    Looking even at the "cool" projects which come out of MIT undergrads, I get the impression that almost all children are exposed to absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever before the age of 18.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Looking even at the "cool" projects which come out of MIT undergrads, I get the impression that almost all children are exposed to absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever before the age of 18.

      Welcome to education in the US.

      • It's parenting.

        "We must keep the child safe from all danger, real or perceived."

        • In the public grade schools in Hawaii, the class will share about four textbooks on any given subject, and the state mandates and actually teaches toward state tests with state lesson plans and quizzes that are frequently wrong. They mark the kids as wrong when they get things right, and then tell them "you were right but I have to mark it lower because the state's answer is X."

          And I don't mean normal smarter-than-the-test wrong, I mean things like singular v. plural.

          Parenting is deficient in a lot of plac

    • by KhabaLox (1906148)

      I remember doing "networking via scraps of paper" at school.

      When I visited the Miraikan Museum in Odaiba, Toyko, back in ~2005 they had a mechanical IP network that routed 2 byte messages of black and white wooden balls over rails and Archimedes screws. The first byte was the "IP" address (I think there were 4 or 5 nodes) and the second byte was the message. You set up your message in the staging area of your workstation, then pulled the release lever. The balls would roll down the track past an eye that would read the colors and various gates would be opened/clo

  • Do we call Cal UofC? I had to check the article to make sure this very serious research project was coming out of California and not the University of Cambodia.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:34AM (#39986209)

    Speilberg thought of communicating using musical notes 35 years ago

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Speilberg made $337,700,000. This guy will die a virgin. Big difference.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        Dude, why did you post anonymous. You would have had a great moderation war.

        Those who see the humor (and fact) in wrote you wrote would mod you up.
        Those see Spielberg as a deity and will do anything to appease him, and mod you down.
        Those who the virgin comment hits just a little too close to home would mod you down.

        My gut instinct is that you would have had at least a couple dozen moderations, and landed at a nice solid "+4 troll"

    • Speilberg pffft.

      Try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr [wikipedia.org] - secure communication using frequency hopping from an actress in 1941 ;-)

    • And so did many other people to multiplex telegraph signals over precious telegraph lines. In fact generalizations of these techniques lead to the phonograph and telephone. Read Randall Stross Edison biography for details. He is a Silicon valley historian.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:44AM (#39986253)

    Upcoming studies:
    Improving Baud: Coffee vs Electroshocks
    IP Backbone Implementation Using Michael J. Fox
    River Rapids: High-Speed Internet With Riverdancers
    Increasing Latency With Rube Goldberg Networks
    Replacing LCD Screens With Bored College Students And Etch-a-Sketches
    Stone-age Computing: Exploring Completely Inadequate Alternatives To Modern Technology

  • 1 baud seems quite slow. Using the different notes to code diffent byte values would allow you to transmit data quite quickly. If you have 8 diffferent notes, then 2 consecutive notes can do 1.6 million different combinations. That's equivalent to 3 bytes. 2 notes could easily be played in 1 second rso 3 baud would be simple. Bring it up to 32 keys and the baud rate could go up quite highroad. You just have to encode it properly.
    • Re:only 1 baud? (Score:5, Informative)

      by msauve (701917) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @12:01PM (#39986361)
      The baud rate is insignificant of throughput, it's not clear why it was even mentioned, especially in relation to throughput. Each note encodes 4 bits (a hex digit), so although it does run at 1 baud, the system runs at 4 bps.

      Your math is way off. With 8 notes, each encodes 3 bits; two notes allow 64 different combinations (not 1.6 million!), or 6 bits.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      1 baud means one symbol per second, not one bit per second. If there are only two symbols in the alphabet (for example two notes), then 1 baud results in 1bps, but if there are more symbols, the bitrate can be higher.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      8 notes is three bits each, I don't know how you got to 3 bytes from two consecutive notes...

      Even two simultaneous notes would only be six bits.

    • If you have 8 diffferent notes, then 2 consecutive notes can do 1.6 million different combinations.

      Well, no.

      Actually, 2 octal digits can do 64 different combinations.

  • by Dark$ide (732508) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:46AM (#39986275) Journal
    I stopped reading the article because they can't spell "ACSII".

    So a quick Google turns up this Black-boxing the User: Internet Protocol over Xylophone Players (IPoXP) [altchi.org]

  • I suggest we refer to this new protocol as "XoIP" (pronounced "zoip", of course).
  • Let's move the experiment in the subway.
  • A human can do anything a computer can do. This isn't exactly news. The difference is in how long it takes.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article states that the musical instrument has "aluminum keys". From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glockenspiel :

    "[A glockenspiel] is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, thus making it a metallophone."

    • by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @04:43PM (#39988661)
      And for those who slept in biology, xylem tissue transports water and dissolved nutrients, in a tree it is the wood. The word comes from the Greek xylon, which means wood. So a xylophone must be wooden.
      • Originally xylophones were all wooden, and the expensive ones still are, but many are made of synthetic material now.

        As a band director that teaches percussion it drives me nuts when people call a Glockenspiel (or bell set) a xylophone. I think it's caused by some of the toys that are available for little kids that are mislabeled.

  • Stuart Geiger has demonstrated that it is possible to transmit simple ping requests across two computers using people playing xylophones.

    Was there ever any doubt that this could be done? It's the same as that carrier pigeon IP thing - it was always going to work. Has it taught us anything new?

  • Baud is a measure of symbols per second, so it's meaningless unless the amount of information per symbol is defined.

    In this case, it turns out that a symbol is a hexadecimal value, so the data rate is about 4 bits per second.

  • With today's DSP technology, FFT algorithms, and a bank of solenoids, two computers could, in theory, transmit data via xylophones a LOT faster than one baud!

    FFT analysis on the receiving ends determines which notes are being played and when, even simultaneously. By using notes unique to each machine, both can be playing and receiving simultaneously. It would be quite noisy, but would definitely work.

    It would also be a good idea to "damp" the chimes, to dramatically reduce the audio decay rate. This would a

    • by HBI (604924)

      Wouldn't it be easier just to get 2 sets of acoustic couplers and tape them together out->in in-out? Why reinvent the wheel?

  • Nearly 9 years ago, ./ reported about IP over bongo drums already, featuring double the data rate.
    http://slashdot.org/story/03/09/27/175242/tcpip-over-bongo-drums [slashdot.org]

    As the original page is offlne since years, here's archive.org:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20031230015730/http://eagle.auc.ca/~dreid/ [archive.org]

  • What's next, VOIPOXP (Voice Over IP over xyloPhone? Latency will make satellite and lunar communication look really good. :-)

  • "The OSI encapsulated model of networking makes this project doable". The OSI model never made anything doable. Encapsulation was invented long before OSI came along and the seven layers never had any impact on the basic Internet protocols. The idea of "frameworks" is about as close as anyone got to anything like the OSI seven-layer cake which has always been an abomination and was never responsible for the development of anything.
  • "'IP on Everything." Sounds like his office is a really disgusting place.
  • RFC1149/2549 coupled to a keyboard under a line of birds?

  • Here is the video demonstration that didn't get posted in the original article:

    Video: http://youtu.be/qCT7SisWh38 [youtu.be]

    Internet Protocol over Xylophone Players (IPoXP) situates humans at the lowest layers of the Internet. Read the full paper at http://www.stuartgeiger.com/ipoxp.pdf [stuartgeiger.com]. A project by R. Stuart Geiger, Yoon Jeong, and Emily Manders at the University of California, Berkeley. Presented at alt.CHI 2012.

  • A lot of people who've been working with electronic computers all their life intuitively assume that electrical computers are the only way to go, but there are other (albeit mostly currently impracticable) ways to automate binary math. -You can make a computer that uses water pressure instead of voltage- all the logic gates used in electronics can be built with copper pipe. -You could theoretically build a fully optical computer, with fibers, mirrors, beam splitters, etc (this I've been mulling over in my
  • As a followon to my rfc1149 and rfc2549, I considered doing IP over black holes: if you carefully control matter being dropped into a black hole, you can modulate the huge X-ray emissions as the matter is ripped apart. This would be detectable over huge distances.

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