Visualising electromagnetic fields

The world around us is populated by invisible phenomenon. Most of the modern technology that we use is sometimes invisible. As interaction designers, we constantly talk about them and use them to shape experiences. However, sometimes we also wonder how might they look and behave like? And that is exactly what this project set out to explore – to make the invisible visible.

We chose to make Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) that surround us visible. EMFs are particularly strong around devices with electrical and magnetic parts. Using long exposure photography and stop-frame animation we tried to ‘light-paint’ the EMF around objects like our laptops and an old tape-deck.

Through a series of experiments in photographic and lighting techniques followed by hacking up an Android phone to act as an EMF indicator  and then coding our own app in Processing we were able to visualize how these fields change over objects