NewTech. If Our Eyes Could See Wireless Signals, Here’s How Our World Might Look
AROUND US. Our lives today depend largely on systems and infrastructure that is invisible—a hidden landscape of webs and waves that come from cell towers, routers, satellites, and more.
We rarely have to grapple with this hidden world, thanks to handy graphical user interfaces that parse all those waves and signals into information that our brains can comprehend. For the most part, most of us rarely think about them–with the except of a few, like Dutch artist Richard Vijgen. “We are completely surrounded by an invisible system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites,” he writes on his studio’s website, introducing an app called The Architecture of Radio.
The app uses a diverse range of data sources to visualize all of the communications networks in a given location. Take satellite signals, for example. According to Creative Applications, the app uses NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s satellite location system, Ephemeris, to calculate the location of in-orbit craft. What about cell signals? It grabs the tower locations nearby you from OpenCellID, the open collaborative map of cell towers. Vijgen’s app seems to synthesize that data into a lovely AR-style interface that lets the user pan around a room and experience his rendering of different forms of wireless communication: