Ethereal Photos Make WiFi Signals Visible

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Chances are, invisible forces are swirling around you right this minute — unless you’re surfin’ the ‘net via Ethernet cord, in which case we must ask, do you know what year it is? PhD student Luis Hernan says these forces “can be characterised in the same terms as… ghosts and spectra.” But these ghosts aren’t lost spirits wandering the earth (probably not, anyway): they’re WiFi signals. A whole landscape of electromagnetic signals, flying through the room, powerful but completely unseen. The spectral power of these sprightly signals inspired Hernan to design a system to help us visualize them, shedding some literal light on the mystery of WiFi.

Hernan’s system scans for wireless networks, then uses different-colored LED lights to represent the varying strengths of the signals. It’s fascinating to finally see a physical representation of something that, until now, can feel like it exists only in our minds.

These ethereal photos of twisting signals, which we spotted on It’s Nice That, depict the captivating results of Hernan’s work. If only we could map out our own WiFi signals in rainbow lights before calling Time Warner every time the Internet seems “broken.”

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan

Image Credit: Luis Hernan