A Quest Looking into Space – Light Painting, Wifi, and Black Holes


Want to see what wifi looks like when lit up? “This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.” (see more photos here)

Somehow it’s like seeing stars lit up at night. By coincidence, this week I discovered that wifi was invented in the quest for black holes

“John O’Sullivan is an engineer, inventor, astronomer and scientist. In 1977, in an era before emails, mobile phones and the internet; O’Sullivan was using a radio telescope to hunt out black holes in our universe. When he created a solution to improve his telescope, he unknowingly discovered the technology that would later connect millions of people across the planet.

It was 15 years later when O’Sullivan and his colleagues at CSIRO realised this technology was the key to fast, reliable wireless networking. They found a way to remove the interference caused by reflected radio waves that slow network speeds. Today, these same principles govern every Wi-Fi device in the world, including laptops, printers, wireless access devices, and Nintendo Wiis.”

Both of these things make me thing about “ways of seeing” and how both parties were on a quest looking into space. I hope I never forget to find new ways of looking at things.