Electronics Puzzler: Minimalist

By Forrest M. Mims III
Electronic Intercom

Solving an Assignment for the Minimalist Electronics Society

Consultant Ed Brown was retained by the Minimalist Electronics Society (MES) to design an electronic intercom that would allow the group's president and secretary to speak to one another between the two tiny structures that served as their offices. The only condition was that the intercom must be as minimalist as possible.

A conventional intercom would require a pair of conductors, which was one too many. The soil under the offices was desert gravel and much too dry for linking the offices with a single wire and a ground at each end. Cell phones or radio? No way. Their signals would be sprayed everywhere, thereby violating minimalism. Power line link? No. Each office was powered by its own roof top solar panel. Brown finally thought of a solution.

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