Many of our world’s advancements can be attributed to the evolution of communication mediums and styles. Today we can tweet a message in 140 characters or less around the world in a matter of seconds. But long before the days of the radio, telephone, the fax machine, and email there was the original text message—Morse code. And Wolfram|Alpha can translate a string of characters to and from Morse code.
Morse code was introduced to the world over 160 years ago, when Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail invented a telegraph that when triggered by electrical pulses made indentions in a paper tape with a stylus. They also developed a code of short dots and long dashes to represent letters, numbers, and special characters, allowing messages to be sent via those indentions. The sounds produced when the telegraph processed the electrical pulses became so familiar that adept users could translate the code by sounds, and the code would eventually be adapted for broadcast across the radio airwaves. This system would go on to become a major form of international communication, especially for those working and traveling in the air or out at sea.
Although Morse code is no longer used for mainstream communication, many people continue to tap it out as a hobby, and industry enthusiasts have been exploring ways to incorporate the easy-to-learn code into modern devices. Go ahead and have fun tapping out your messages to and from Morse code, and then copy and paste them into the comments section below.