Teens Revolutionize Communication with "String Can Phone"
Ever had to shout across the house or yard to get the attention of family and friends? Not anymore. Teens Rory McAlistar and Sara Johnson have revolutionized communication with their new String Can Phone.
“We’ve been next door neighbors ever since I can remember,” says Johnson, age fifteen. “We really wanted a way to talk to each other without having to leave our houses. You know, like at night and stuff.
"Our paper airplane notes have been so unreliable," continued Johnson, "what with the wind being the way it is the past few days, and our windows being so small.”
“I got the idea during music class a few weeks ago,” says McAlistar, age seventeen. “Mrs. Castillo was talking about how sound travels through different mediums, and mentioned that metal was generally great for making things louder.
"So I thought, ‘What if Sara and I could just have some metal contraptions in our rooms that we could talk into and hear each other on the other end without shouting?’”
“We started trying to figure this whole thing out,” says Johnson, “one afternoon in Rory’s room. His mom was making chili, so there were a few empty cans in the kitchen, and we thought, ‘What the heck. Let’s try it.’”
“And then we thought,” interjected McAlistar, “that we probably needed to connect them somehow, and my little sister’s shoes were in my room, because she’s always leaving her stuff in there even though I keep telling her to stay out, so I used one of her shoe strings.
“It didn’t work the first time, I guess because we tied the shoe string around the whole cans. No noise actually hit the string directly on one can, so the sound couldn’t go through it to the other can.
"That’s what made Sara think of punching a little hole in the bottom of each can and sticking the shoe string through them.”
“And it worked!” laughed Johnson. “We just said little things like ‘hey’ and ‘does this work?’ and we could hear each other on the other end! It was awesome.”
McAlistar and Johnson then tried expanding their String Can Phone using longer and longer pieces of string, “borrowed” from Mrs. McAlistar’s knitting basket.
“Eventually we got it working with the string long enough to go from her window to mine,” says McAlistar. "Mission accomplished."
McAlistar and Johnson have begun selling String Can Phones during lunch breaks at their high school. “It’s been a surprisingly big hit among the teachers,” according to Johnson. “We’re not sure how the principal feels about it, but I'd rather not find out.”
The teens are in negotiations with Campbell’s about being the official can provider of the String Can Phone, and hope to finalize an agreement with either Asics or New Balance as the official string provider within the month.
Mass production of the String Can Phone is set to launch early next year.