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Regine Debatty, 27 May 05

aethersp.jpgætherspace is a computational garment that uses transducers of electro-magnetic waves to make hertzian space audible, make the invisible sonic, giving the wearer a better understanding of the electronically-embodied world.

Transducers pick up the various components of hertzian space as you walk around. These components feed to a scaling algorithm that brings the range of hertzian space to that of normal hearing and can be perceived through the headphones.

The project raises questions such as: What does a cell phone sound like when it is idle in a bag? What do dangerous EM waves sound like? Should the scaling algorithm take into account the perceived danger of certain types of EM radiation, e.g., make gamma waves a high-pitched screeching noise? If so, how would this change our interaction with space? Since humans give off much heat, should the scaling algorithm make infrared radiation sound pleasing? Would such a mapping cause us to desire interaction with strangers?

Honorary Mentions at Ars Electronica's The Next Idea.

Designed by Nick Knouf.

(Note from Jamais: This is yet another great example of making the invisible visible. Moreover, it's a reminder that we aren't limited to sight and hearing when we translate previously-"invisible" elements of the world to media we can take in. I wonder what other tactile signaling we could come up with...)

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What a fascinating project. :)

Personally I would love a mid-city innstallation where a group of camera's where set up to create a 360' view and then using transducers to pick up the different components.

(After that the different components would be projected onto the feed from the camera's (As small glowing balls of light, the stronger the "halo" around the source.) Thus giving anyone who looked through a computer screen which displayed the combined feed a look at another layer of reality.)

A nice afterthought for any such project would be to add a warning signal, graphical or audible when the amount of dangerous radiation reaches a level above healthy.


Posted by: Tim on 28 May 05

I'm sorry, I forgot to complete a sentence ... :

"The stronger the signal, the larger the "halo" the source would be"

Posted by: Tim on 28 May 05

Really interesting, but I'll play wet blanket. Does this extend our senses, or add to sensory overload? While focusing on "Hertzian halos" do you neglect to notice that bus heading toward you at the crosswalk? I'd hate to be distracted from appreciating the lovely young woman in the photo...

Posted by: David Foley on 28 May 05

Sitting in a hospital waiting room recently (and having nothing but the Discovery Channel to watch while I waited) I put on my old walkman and carried on with the audiobook I'm listening to.. after a few minutes, I noticed a kind of feedback spike..once, then again, and a few minutes later, the same thing.
It was the Xray machine, which must have been a hundred meters or more down the hall...
Yes, it would be interesting, and a little frightening, to know just how oftem we are in close proximity to one intense magnetic field or another.

Posted by: scratch on 30 May 05



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