Tech

This is what wi-fi actually ‘looks’ like and it’s incredible

We know what Wi-Fi does - we're just not exactly sure how it does it. 

A clever box gets plugged into the phone line, some tech voodoo occurs and our smartphones are filled with cat videos. That's about as much as we understand it.

Newcastle University doctoral researcher Luis Hernan has been attempting to bring the world of Wi-Fi to life with his ongoing project, Digital Ethereal, bringing wireless signals to life with artistic photography.

  • This is what wi-fi actually 'looks' like and it’s incredible

    Art and Science

    Hernan's project looks to access the 'invisible infrastructure' that underpins our modern world of technology - with these images highlighting the complex wireless world around us.

  • This is what wi-fi actually 'looks' like and it’s incredible 1

    Painting with LEDs

    Hernan has developed this small box - the Kirlian Device - to translate Wi-Fi signals into light.

    A Wi-Fi receiver in the device translates the strength of the signal into a corresponding colour (blue for low intensity, red for high intensity). Using long exposure photography, Hernan is then able to "paint" the signals by sweeping the Kirlian Device through an area of space.

  • This is what wi-fi actually 'looks' like and it’s incredible 2

    Ghostly signals

    These "Spirit Photos" are more a depiction of the varying quality of Wi-Fi signals than a true representation of what wireless waves look like - but they're an artful way of revealing the complexity of what's keeping your internet connection flowing.

    (Images: Digital Ethereal by Luis Hernan)