Link: Wifi Light Painting

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March 8, 2011 - Here's a project that explores and maps the topology of wifi signals.  Using a 4-meter long rod whose LED-driven glow correlates with signal strength, the artist creates long exposure photographs showing Tron-esque light walls that traverse across the landscape.  These trajectories map the network of information-rich electromagnetic signals that increasingly permeate our urban areas.

These photos and videos show how our world is permeated by electromagnetic signals that are invisible to our normal senses, but can be probed by appropriate electronic detectors.  Similarly astronomers learn far more about the Universe if they observe in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and not just the visible (and geoscientists do the same when studying the Earth).  When Earth and space-bound telescopes survey the sky at other wavelengths, we are in essence mapping the universe in the same way as the wifi artists, but in many more dimensions.


The sky as seen in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP).  The structure shows tiny temperature fluctuations of 1 part in 100,000 in the radiation that existed in the Universe 400,000 years after the Big Bang.

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