Listening to Wi-Fi
November 24th 2014

Modern technologies can give deaf people the ability to hear again. With hearing aid people who lost their hearing can instantly hear the lost sounds again they were missing. Frank Swain was one of these people who retrieved their hearing again, thanks to this. Not only can he hear all the regular sounds around us, but also the invisible Wi-Fi signals.

Frank Swain together with sound artist Daniel Jones developed Phantom Terrains. This is an experimental tool which makes Wi-Fi fields audible. If he now walks through a city, he will not only hear the people, the wind, the birds and the cars, but also the Wi-Fi around him.

The Phantom Terrains interpreters router name, signal strength, encryption and distance of the Wi-Fi signals it perceives, and converts them to sounds. This is what a walk sounds like:

The clicks heard in the soundtrack originate from nearby routers. If their strength increases, so will the frequency of the clicks. Routers with a stronger signal “sing” their network name and the sounds with a lower frequency come from the network’s security mode.

This article was originally published on Next Nature Lab

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