How to find WiFi: carry a big stick and use long exposures

Here’s an artsy way to map out WiFi networks around you; use a big light pole and long exposures to graph them on top of photographs. This capture method is often called light painting, and uses the relative brightness of LEDs to stretch out a still image – moving the stick quickly while the shutter is open.

The four-meter tall rod used in this project plays host to 80 white LEDs. An Arduino along with a WiFi shield detect the relative signal strength of the network surrounding the device. The images that are produced with this method are quite pleasing and you’ll enjoy watching the video after the break. We just wish that there was some kind of Google Street View interface to share this data since someone had to go out pounding the pavement with the rather peculiar looking apparatus in order to gather the data in the first place.

[Thanks Duncan]

Comments

  1. Will says:

    video unavailable!

  2. Largadao says:

    “This video is unavailable.”

    =/

  3. Hackius says:

    It would have been better if each LED had a brightness coresponding to signal strength. That way it would reveal the actual field not just a strength graph.

  4. turn.self.off says:

    Looks like the video issue is at vimeo’s end.

  5. Truth says:

  6. Pete says:

    Would have been better with red yellow and green leds for signal strengh.

  7. walt says:

    this is sweet and useful

  8. shmeeshee says:

    Why does is need to blink if it only showing strength?

    I can see it blinking to show other data with different colored LEDs.

    Cool, but annoying.

  9. M4CGYV3R says:

    That is freaking cool. Now I need an HMD to wear that shows me that in realtime anywhere.

  10. minifig404 says:

    I wonder how easy it is to carry (straight) now, vs. if they added a 2-5lb weight at the bottom.

    Cool project either way.

  11. Ben says:

    I assume the blinking is to create distinct ‘bars’ in the final image, instead of horizontal streaks, which would also be cool to see.

  12. nick says:

    Personally I think its so you can see the background. What good is location based data if strength data is allowed to overwhelm the location data, yeah with the videos you don’t need it but you want the photos to stand on their own.

  13. Alex says:

    That is fantastic, love it!

  14. Mikey says:

    Did anyone else notice that in front of one garage the signal was fine, and in front of another it was super low, and then went back to being fine again?

    I wonder if that could be used to indicate that there was a large metal object in one garage (such as a car?) and not in the other?

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