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How wi-fi would look like

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Image of the Week #104, August 13th, 2013:

From: Physics Week in Review: August 10, 2013 by Jennifer Ouellette at Cocktail Party Physics.

Source: Nickolay Lamm

Cocktail Party Physics is never a blog to shy away from stunning imagery. Jennifer Ouellette has a gift for finding compelling images that make you say, “Of course!” about concepts in physics. Wi-fi, the communicative force of our times that is never as ubiquitous as we would like: how would it appear to us if we could see it? Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm shows us an interpretation that almost makes us wish for the visual noise to distract us from our smartphones.

Make sure to check out the other fascinating alternative views of our modern world on Lamm’s blog, and the rest of the links at Ouellette’s Physics Week in Review: August 10, 2013 at Cocktail Party Physics.

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  1. 1. FutureFrankie 9:18 am 08/13/2013

    This is beautiful, but an inaccurate depiction. This would suggest that Wifi is a line-of-sight technology like infrared, and even if it was, it would not be able to follow the contours of the environment. Instead you would see waves being reflected by the objects it can’t completely penetrate.

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  2. 2. FutureFrankie 10:30 am 08/13/2013

    Well, it turns out that she has more accurate depictions here:

    The one being used for this article is questionable. :)

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  3. 3. NewGatsby 7:48 pm 08/13/2013


    You’re right. Those are better.

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  4. 4. JohnOstrowick 2:38 am 08/14/2013

    “How wifi would look”.

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  5. 5. JohnOstrowick 2:39 am 08/14/2013

    or “what wifi would look like”.

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  6. 6. David Cummings 2:06 pm 08/16/2013

    Great imagery. I was trying to explain wireless to my 4 year old last night. Tonight I’ll show him these.

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  7. 7. PilFur 6:23 pm 08/17/2013

    “How wi-fi erroneously looks like”

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  8. 8. jamesclarke 9:42 pm 08/18/2013

    The image is very pretty but I’m afraid this is not accurate. The artist did a superb job, though. I like it.

    James Clarke,

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  9. 9. Drinker_of_Inorganic_Solvent 11:42 pm 08/19/2013

    “How wi-fi would look like” is not proper English (grammar).

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  10. 10. Bora Zivkovic 11:45 pm 08/19/2013

    Commenting on grammar is not proper commenting.

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  11. 11. Johnay 12:24 pm 08/20/2013

    Even the other more wave-like images are inaccurate. It’s like the way lasers are so often depicted as bright glowing beams in popular media.

    If we really could see in the WiFi portion of the spectrum it would just be another color of light. We would see it shining out from our devices and access points, and reflected & scattered from objects that it reflects and scatters from. We don’t see waves of light moving through the air, and neither would we see WiFi waves.

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  12. 12. Johnay 12:26 pm 08/20/2013

    @Drinker_of_Inorganic_Solvent: This is true, but do we really need or want more English majors writing science articles?

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