Snail Mail Gets Literal

Snails transport e-mail messages

RFID tags let snails transport e-mail messages.

Give a mollusk a radio-frequency ID tag, and suddenly--well, slowly--snail mail isn't just wordplay. Artists at the U.K.'s Bournemouth University are upending the term for mail sent via old-school postal services. "We're all living in a speed-obsessed world," says Vicky Isley, which is why she co-created RealSnailMail.net Users submit e-mails that get relayed to a tank with some snails and two electronic readers. A gastropod with a chip on its shell wirelessly picks up a message from one reader and eventually moseys 50 cm to the other, at which point the missive dashes over the Internet. Delivery, if completed,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!