Every time you turn on your MacBook, iPhone or iPad, an invisible force field starts pulsing out from it, made up entirely of complex patterns of magnetic and electric fields.
These fields can be visualized. And as it turns out, they make really cool looking light paintings.
Over at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, a project by Luke Sturgeon and Shamik Ray visualizes electromagnetic fields pulsing from a Mac.
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.
There’s been a lot of largely stupid debate over the years over whether or not the fields that emanate from electronic devices are harmful. One thing’s for sure, though: harmful or not, they sure are pretty.