WiFi Camera eschews visible spectrum

April 23, 2010 // 10:24 a.m.

Tags: #24ghz-camera #adam-somlai-fischer #bengt-sjolen #photography #usman-haque #wifi-camera #wifi-photograph

A clever camera constructed from WiFi antennas and some custom circuitry is capable of taking snapshots in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

The WiFi Camera - via Make - is the work of Bengt Sjölén, Adam Somlai Fischer, and Usman Haque and is designed to perform the same function as a traditional camera: the taking of images - and, the group claims, soon video as well. However, this camera - as the name suggests - doesn't capture light, but instead takes a peak beyond the visible spectrum into realm of radio waves.

The camera is based around the principle that "radio waves at WiFi's wavelength behave similar to light in that they are reflected off almost all solid objects to varying degrees," meaning that - just like light - it creates a vista, being bounced around, diffracted, and diffused invisibly around us. By strapping a series of WiFi antennas to some custom signal analysis equipment, the WiFi Camera turns the invisible visible: capturing an image of how the view looks in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

While the initial version of the camera was limited to valid WiFi signals only, the team behind it have upgraded the signal analysis equipment and can now capture any 2.4GHz signal - including from mobile 'phones, microwaves, and DECT devices.

While the device is currently nothing more than a curiosity, the technology behind it could have an impact on how we analyse the propogation of wireless signals - and how WiFi signal strength and quality could be improved in the future.

Are you impressed to see photographers looking beyond the visible spectrum for inspiration, or is the WiFi Camera nothing more than an expensive kaleidoscope? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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