Underground text messages

Alexander Kendrick, 16, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, won the 2009 International Science Fair for developing a low-frequency radio that could send text messages from deep underground. The breakthrough device had multiple potential uses, including shaving hours off of cave rescues, or remotely transmitting data to scientists who are developing new antibiotics using cave bacteria.

Kendrick’s prize included a new computer, a trip to Switzerland, and $12,000 in cash. He spent the rest of the year refining the unit, which included a computer he designed himself. In January 2010, he and a team of cavers successfully tested the device from 946 ft. below ground. It was the deepest known digital communication ever to take place in the United States at the time.

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