Consider the signals flying by and through your body at this very moment. While you an safety (hopefully) ignore them and go about your day, the magnitude of information packets as well as naturally occurring radiation is enough to at least make one sympathize with literal tinfoil hat wearers.
Rather than worrying about this phenomenon, Richard Vijgen instead has developed a device to turn this into impressionistic works of art. The system, dubbed “WiFi Impressionist,” uses a 2.4 GHz Yagi antenna mounted to a 360° pan/tilt mechanism, which is controlled by a Raspberry Pi to scan the horizon. It captures all packages it can receive, and stores them in a spherical map corresponding to their physical locations and signal strength.
An X/Y plotter than draws a 2D picture of the signals based on this model. As the device runs longer and longer the image becomes more dense, eventually filling up the frame, as long as there’s a WiFi signal available. You can see the WiFi Impressionist in action in the video below, and a more detailed explanation with several created images on Vijgen’s project page.
It’s an interesting device to observe on video, with results that are definitely unique. One has to wonder, however, what kind of questions Visnjic gets asked as his robotic contraption plots away!
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Author: Jeremy S. Cook