The Copycoder is a recent British invention that allows you to code and decode simple messages. A plastic panel, 4 x 3 inches, is placed over a simple message, and it becomes completely scrambled. If you send a scrambled message to someone who has another Copycoder panel, they will be able to decode it! It also works with images. Again the image needs to be reasonably simple, i.e. not too much fine detail, and it needs to be no large than 4 x 3 inches.
Messages have to be written with a felt tip pen or typed in bold letters. When you place the Copycoder panel over your message, you can capture the scrambled message by using a photocopier. Alternatively you can visit the Copycoder web site at www.copycoder.com and type your message directly into the box you see on the screen. Pres the encoding button, and the web site will scramble the message in exactly the same way as the panel does. You can then print out the scrambled message. This service is free, by the way.
We have been experimenting with capturing a coded message using the camera in a smart phone, and then sending the message to another phone, and using the Copycoder panel directly over the screen on the second phone in order to read the message. It works fairly well, but you have to make sure the image on the phone is exactly the same size as the original, otherwise it will not work.
Obviously this is not a high security method of encoding, but we thought it quite fun.
Presented in a smart cardboard box, this is the deluxe kit with 2 decoder panels, instructions, and some pre-coded labels to get you started.