Tyne & Wear

Newcastle student brings to life invisible wireless networks

Kofi aisle Image copyright Newcastle University

The invisible life of a wireless network has been captured in a series of photographs by a Newcastle University student.

The images, created by researcher Luis Hernan, show the spectres of wireless networks "sweeping, swirling and swooping" around a ghostly figure.

Mr Hernan said the aim of the photographs is to bring the invisible world around us to life.

He said he calls the images spectres because they "remind him of ghosts".

The architecture and interaction design PhD student became fascinated with the idea of being able to see the hidden wireless networks which surround us.

Image copyright Newcastle University

He said: "I call the images spectres because wireless networks remind me of ghosts. They are there but you can't see them with the human eye.

"The fact we are becoming increasingly reliant on something that we can't see intrigues me. I wanted to find a way to show the wireless which is around us and also to show how it changes."

Mr Hernan created the photographs by a Kirlian Device, an instrument specially designed by him to reveal the qualities of wireless networks.

The device monitors the signal strength of your wi-fi network and translates it into colour LEDs - red represents a stronger signal and blue means weaker.

Image copyright Newcastle University

He then used the device in different places and his movements were captured using long exposure photography.

The results are multi-coloured streaks of light which twirl and wrap in spaces, showing how we are surrounded by these networks without even realising we are.

He said: "It is an impossibly fragile and volatile infrastructure that holds our digital technologies together and shapes the way in which we interact with the digital world.

"Something as seemingly inconsequential as walking around the house will interfere with and reshape their strength field. Close the wrong door, and the bedroom becomes a dead spot for wireless."

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