Fluid Communication


Digital communication, in its electronic form, is invisible to the eye. We created a machine that visualises the flow of binary data, by using oil and water as binary states instead of voltage levels.

The software which serves as data source is a simple chat program. If the user enters text and sends it, the machine sends the binary representation of that text by alternately pumping clear oil and colored water through the tube. The two differents fluids represent the binary data: Oil for 0, Water for 1. The resulting black and white pattern is the decoded data sent from the terminal.

The machine communicates with itself, decoding the pattern it has generated. Through the turbulences in the tube the data gets distorted. This distorted data reminds us of the difficulties that one has to overcome to build reliable digital devices.


Oil and water – the resource for communication


The encoded data


Team members:

  • Thomas Preindl (idea, programming, electronics, project lead)
  • Anna Maureder (assembly, design, planning)
  • Petra K√∂nigstorfer (assembly, design, planning, accounting)