VIDEO: Urban researchers show signal-strength

Light painting with Wi-Fi

A Norwegian group of urban design researchers have produced images and video mapping the ordinarily invisible Wi-Fi network strength in the city of Oslo.

In order to produce a video which would "contextualise Wi-Fi networks through visualisation", the team designed custom signal strength measuring hardware which consisted of a 4 metre long instrument with many blue LEDs embedded to show spot WiFi signal strength.

The team then moved the instrument around various urban landscapes in time-lapse shots in order to superimpose a graphic representation of Wi-Fi signal strength.

"December in Oslo is dark, making it an ideal month for light painting," wrote Einar Sneve Martinussen on the YOUrban blog

"During a few weeks of walking, measuring and photographing we visualised a number of networks in the Grünerløkka area in Oslo. The visualisations illustrate how WiFi networks in this neighbourhood are ubiquitous, but also fragmented and qualitatively different."

The team further document how the images were generated on the Touch blog, revealing that the idea came out of research into mapping RFID strength fields.

Asked by users if, in the process of mapping WiFi with their unusual equipment the team were asked what they were doing by Oslo residents, Martinussen said: "No, but we were attacked by a dog."

You can see the video below (minus dog):

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

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