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There are some updates, new images and videos on the “Wifi-Camera Obscura” (see our previous post here).

The Wifi Camera is a camera that takes “pictures” of spaces illuminated by wifi in much the same way that a traditional camera takes pictures of spaces illuminated by visible light.

The camera reveals the electromagnetic space of our devices and the shadows that we create within such spaces, in particular our wifi networks which are increasingly found in our daily lives, in coffee shops, offices and homes throughout cities of the developed world. 

With the camera we can take real time “photos” of wifi (and we’re working towards having video too). These show how our physical structures are illuminated by this particular electromagnetic phenomenon and we are even able to see the shadows that our bodies cast within such “hertzian” spaces. 

Radio waves at wifi’s wavelength behave similar to light in that they are reflected off almost all solid objects to varying degrees, just as when we see colors we see the light from a light source being reflected off an object into our eyes. And, just as with light, some materials are opaque and some materials are more or less transparent.

We do this basically by pointing a wifi antenna (or several antennas) and measuring the signal strength throughout a view – the faster we can do this, the faster we can create full-screen images. 

The latest version of the wifi camera is able to create images much more quickly because it has more pixels and we have a custom built board for analysing the wifi spectrum (around 2.4GHz). The result of all this is that we can even ‘see’ the illumination cast by mobile phones and microwave ovens!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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