Air-Wave Communication Technology / Science in The Ocean | World Anvil
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Air-Wave Communication

The need to send messages across large distances is a problem that has confronted oceandwellers since early in the Oceanic Era. There exist several methods of line-of-sight communication, from colored banners to curved reflectors, but the recipient has to be in sight and paying attention in order to receive messages.   Since the 1400s Vol, this problem has been solved by using air waves to encode, send, and decode information. Unlike flags or mirrors, air wave stations do not need to be in visual contact, so messages can be sent at any time of day or night and in any weather. When the message arrives, the receiving station triggers a visible or audible signal to alert monitoring staff.  

Development

It was by accident that the use of air waves for communication came about. A technician operating a transmitter device suffered an accident while the device was transmitting. The techs on the receiving end flagged a message that the signal was received and unproductive, but the device did not stop. They became concerned that something was wrong and sent someone to investigate, who turned off the device and assisted her injured colleague. Upon returning, the techs shifted from attempting to transmit energy to considering how to transmit information.   The air-wave devices were being refined about at the same time that Zaiyev's linguistics school was developing the dialector. When the language banks were completed and presented to the public, air-wave researchers began to wonder if the algorithms applied to translate words could also be used to code words and other sounds into the air waves themselves.   A year and a half later, they had developed a phonemic code that they could transmit by slightly adjusting certain properties of the wave. Local tests were successful, but the age of instant air-wave communication is said to have begun in 1456 Vol, when for the first time a voice was converted into air waves on one island and turned back into the sound of a voice on a different island.   The simplicity of the method made it wildly popular, and air-wave transmitters and reveivers proliferated over the course of the next six years. Air-wave communication equipment is now commonplace, ranging in size from room-sized installations to transmitter/receiver sets small enough to attach comfortably to a belt.

Social Impact

The wide availability of immediate remote conversation--in particular, needing to have people on different islands agree on when they would each be at an air wave station to speak to each other--forced a cluster-wide standardization of measuring time.   The night air waves with their longer range also made it possible to once again send exploration fleets into the great ocean Gaps. These fleets, which had not been needed since the discovery of the Cluster Islands before the Volcanic Era, have greatly increased our knowledge of the world in the past two hundred years.
Discovery
Air waves were first noticed late in the 1300s Vol when distant lightning strikes were observed to interfere with delicate experiments. The idea of lightning energy transmitting itself without any intervening infrastructure was enticing, and researchers spent decades trying to use the waves to fill power wells from a distance.

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