An ongoing Touch theme is about making invisible wireless technologies visible, in order to better understand and communicate with and about them (see “a Graphic Language for RFID”:http://www.nearfield.org/2007/05/a-graphic-language-for-rfid, “Dashed lines”:http://www.nearfield.org/2006/09/the-dashed-line-in-use and “Fictional radio spaces”:http://www.nearfield.org/2007/12/fictional-radio-spaces).
Right now I am sitting near fourteen objects sending and receiving radio signals, from Oyster cards to mobile phones and wireless routers in a multitude of overlapping and competing fields. Here we are creating communicative material that uses dashed-line abstractions to visualise the presence of wireless technologies in the everyday environment. What if we could see every field produced by an Oyster card or NFC enabled mobile phone for instance?
Using simple abstractions such as the “dashed line”:http://www.nearfield.org/2006/09/the-dashed-line-in-use and the kinds of visual language that we have previously proposed “for RFID”:http://www.elasticspace.com/2005/11/graphic-language-for-touch allow us to quickly communicate aspects such as the spatial properties of wireless technologies that are often overlooked. I’ve been using these images in presentations for a while, to sensitise designers and students to the spatial and embodied properties of RFID, Bluetooth and WIFI.
We are also experimenting with video, where the visualisations are part of an environment in a moving sequence. This is looking like a useful technique for making visual explanations of invisible materials.
Here are more images: