Sharing internet data over sound waves
Four billion people are still not connected to the internet. Much of the developing world lacks the infrastructure for online connections; for example 3G covers just 8% of Africa. Even Americans in rural settings struggle to get consistent internet access. With the days of dial-up long behind us, we’re so used to thinking of the internet as digital data, that we forget that sound waves can transmit the same information – text, images and sound.
Romanian entrepreneur Vlad Iuhas, together with his partners Rad Iuhas, Sebastian Presecan and Marco Scotti, is going back to the internet’s roots to connect a near third of the world’s population. Through Pangea – his US-based company with engineers in Romania – Iuhas has developed an app that turns data into a sound wave and back again. Android users first have to download the free app, and then when they lose Wi-Fi or data connection, the app immediately makes a quick phone call, transferring the data to the user’s phone at 64 kilobits per second. Given the slow speeds, Pangea can only load text pages for now, but for many users this means staying connected to loved ones and accessing vital information.