A pair of ETH doctoral students have come up with a nifty new data transmission system that uses music as its mode of transportation.
Manuel Eichelberger and Simon Tanner have succeeded in refining the concept to a significant degree, allowing passwords and other sensitive data packets to be passed along the airwaves as imperceptible sound. Human ears cannot perceive the added noise, but smartphones can, using their built-in microphones.
Both scientists insisted on preserving the quality of the music that they transmit data over.
Under everyday conditions, the transfer rate via music is said to reach up to 200 bits – slow enough to accommodate a workable degree of redundancy for devices to pick up information consistently. By using loud, dominant notes in songs, the researchers can incorporate sympathetic notes at very slightly different frequencies to deliver information effectively.
The researchers suggested pop music as an ideal alternative for data transmission purposes due to the many dominant notes the genre often uses.
This incredible transmission technique has a single caveat tied to its transmission rate: the larger the amount of data that needs transmitting, the more audible the alterations to the music become.
“In theory, it would be possible to transmit data much faster, but the higher the transfer rate, the sooner the data becomes perceptible as interfering sound, or data quality suffers.” – Tanner on New Atlas