Saturday, June 21, 2008

'Snail mail' taken to extremes!

The BBC reports that a 'slow art' project is attracting interest.

Muriel, Austin and Cecil are snails for the electronic age.

Each snail is fitted with a tiny capsule which holds a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip. RFID allows objects to communicate over short distances.

Users of the service send a message via the Real Snail Mail website which is routed to the tank at the speed of light to await collection by a snail "agent".

As the three snails slowly amble around the tank, they occasionally come into range of an electronic reader, which attaches the e-mail message to the RFID chip.

The electronic messages are then physically carried around the tank by the snails until one of the gastropods passes close to a second reader.

It is then forwarded over the net in the usual way.

"It could be quite frustrating for some people," Vicky Isley, one of the artists told BBC News. "It's completely subverting that normal system."

So far, the three snails have managed to deliver 14 messages.

Users of the service will hope that Austin is on hand to collect their messages. The Snail has made 10 of the deliveries so far with an average delivery time of 1.96 days.

"He's a super-powered snail - he's doing really well," said Ms Isely. "He's really quite big - he's always the one that gets to the food first."

Unfortunately, Muriel is still languishing, waiting to make her first delivery.

I have to admit, that's a clever idea. I've spoken glibly about the speed difference between e-mail and 'snail mail', so to use snails to deliver e-mail is a nice twist!



phlegmfatale said...

Finally: a legitimate excuse for sluggish delivery.

Anonymous said...

The Internet e-mail version of cow-chip bingo?