One of the hard things about electronics is that you can’t really see the working parts without some sort of tool. If you work on car engines, fashion swords, or sculpt clay, you can see with your unaided eye what’s going on. Electronic components are just abstract pieces and the real action requires a meter or oscilloscope to understand. Maybe that’s what [José] was thinking of when he built a-radio. This “humble experiment” pipes a scan from a software-defined radio into VR goggles, which can be as simple as a smartphone and some cardboard glasses.
The resulting image shows you what the radio spectrum looks like. Granted, so will a spectrum analyzer, but perhaps the immersion will provide a different kind of insight into radio frequency analysis.
[José] admits the project is the result of a “boring morning” so there is probably some room for improvement. We wondered if an array of antennas could give you head tracking so you could see what direction a signal was coming from, or — at least — where it was strongest.
Is this really better than just staring at a waterfall display? Perhaps not. But it is still a novel approach and we have to wonder if it couldn’t be used for other things? Maybe a VR circuit simulator or visualizing antenna patterns, for example.