Internet phone company Skype announced it was releasing an experimental version of its service that didn't require a direct internet connection, or even a computer or mobile device. It was called "Skype for String." All that was required was "two cups and a piece of string with a minimum bandwidth of 5mm." Any cup and string would work, but for best results a "Skype certified set" was suggested.
The following instructions were provided for making a call and troubleshooting:
To add a contact
- Place one of the cups at the location from which you wish to make the call
- Find out the location of your friend and make sure that your string is long enough to reach them.
- Take the second cup to this location and hand it to them carefully.
Making a call
To make an audio call:
- Wait for your friend to pick up their cup.
- Lift the cup to your mouth and speak into it clearly.
- Place the cup over your ear to listen to your friend's response.
- If your friend doesn't respond, speak more loudly.
If you are still unable to make a call, check that:
- The string is tight
- There are no knots in the string
- The string hasn't been cut by an enemy or a gardener.
It was even possible to use Skype for String to transfer files:
- Transfer the file that you'd like to send to a memory stick, then safely eject the memory stick.
- Attach the memory stick to a small key ring
- Ensure that your cup is higher than your friend's and that the string is tight.
- Place the memory stick on string and push it towards your friend
- Allow gravity to do its work.