Do squid send secret messages using polarized light?

Do squid send secret messages using polarized light?

Here’s a neat article about squid — it appears that they can control the polarization of light that bounces off of their skin, allowing them to send ‘secret’ messages that are only visible to the few other animals capable of detecting polarization. It’s not that uncommon for creatures to communicate using signals that others (ok, I’m thinking mostly human here) aren’t aware of, such as ultrasonic bat songs or the nuanced pheromones of insects, however the fact that squid are using light seems fascinating.

Now I want to make some robots that communicate by polarizing light! Anyone out there working on this already? [Via Schneier on Security]

Longfin Inshore Squid photo adopted from Wikipedia user Citron.

8 thoughts on “Do squid send secret messages using polarized light?

  1. Andy Johnson says:

    The Whales’ last attempt to contact Earth kind was a sophisticated attempt doing a triple back flip while whistling the Star Spangled Banner… but what they were really trying to say was…

    *So long, and thanks for all the fish!

    1. rdm_box says:

      It’s actually the dolphins.
      On another note, we already communicate by polarising light: LCD screens!

  2. rdm_box says:

    *It was actually the dolphins.

    Anyway, we do communicate using polarised light. LCD screens!

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Hmm, I don’t think LCD screens really count- they use polarization, but only to modulate the amount of light that comes out of each pixel… we can’t really do anything with the polarization information.

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