It had to happen: Real SnailMail Answered
In hindsight, it's inevitable that somebody would create genuine snail mail, and recruit actual snails to carry actual messages.
The gastropods have been fitted with equipment to allow them to send e-mails on behalf of visitors to a website.
Instead of instantaneous communication, sent messages will travel at 0.03mph (0.05km/h) and could take days, weeks or even months to arrive.
It is part of a "slow art" project called Real Snail Mail at Bournemouth University in the UK which will be showcased in Los Angeles in August.
Each snail is fitted with a tiny capsule which holds a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip. RFID allows objects to communicate over short distances.
Users of the service send a message via the Real Snail Mail website which is routed to the tank at the speed of light to await collection by a snail "agent".
As the three snails slowly amble around the tank, they occasionally come into range of an electronic reader, which attaches the e-mail message to the RFID chip.
The electronic messages are then physically carried around the tank by the snails until one of the gastropods passes close to a second reader.
It is then forwarded over the net in the usual way.
So far, the three snails have managed to deliver 14 messages.
Users of the service will hope that Austin is on hand to collect their messages. The Snail has made 10 of the deliveries so far with an average delivery time of 1.96 days.