Pixels Per Person: making WiFi networks tangible

Pixels Per Person by Carina Ow is an inspiring design project that looked at how to give a tangible existence to the public WiFi network in the city of Geneva:

"In images, WiFi connections are usually represented as a series of fluctuating waves derived from signal strength indicators that fall and rise according to the strength of the WiFi connection. This inspired the creation of a system that would not stay static, but would instead be in a state of constant motion. To represent this idea, each installation takes the form of a dynamic OLED surface modelled differently each time depending on the characteristics found on site. Organic LEDs (OLEDs) were specified for surface of the installations because they work both in the light and dark, and can therefore contribute to the spatial quality of the installation site at night. (...) The graphical system is designed as different configurations of these pixels forming pixel images derived from classic Wi-Fi signal motifs. Depending on the total number of users connected to the network, the image will change to reflect the network traffic, i.e. the more users, the more pixels used in the composition of the image. The pixel images morph between themselves in a pre-defined transitional animation."

Why do I blog this? Because of my long-time interest in representation the digital envelope of urban environments. This project is intriguing as it represents WiFi usage and aims to induce a sense of participation and ownership in the users.