13 December 2013

What The World Looks Like If We Could See Mobile Phone Signals

Artist-researcher Nickolay Lamm, whom we previously wrote about here and here, has a new project that shows what the world would look like bathed in mobile phone radiation.

Lamm consulted eight academics and engineers to ensure that the resulting images were accurate representations of mobile phone radiation. Mobile phones rely on radio frequency waves which emit low-energy radiation which has not been proven to cause serious damage to living tissue, unlike ionizing radiation emitted by higher-energy gamma rays, X-rays, and ultraviolet rays.

Results of the link between tumors and long-term exposure to radiation from mobile phones are still pending and more research is needed, though US government institutions did not find any substantial relation between mobile phone radiation and adverse health effects in humans.

These images show what mass radiation looks like; the more densely-populated a city, the higher the number of base stations which contain antennae emitting radiofrequencies.

The light patterns are caused by antennae radiation patterns, with each containing different frequency levels targeting different users. When frequencies combine they create a single color, and different colors are created when these patterns combine.

Large bursts of light, like those from the Capitol in Washington, D.C., indicate long-range coverage. The strongest signals come from the center of the base station patterns.

In reality, the overlapping signals of different telecommunication service providers would probably create a rather hazy portrait. While it looks as if we can rest easy for now, these pictures are a startling and revealing look at how much radiation we are surrounded by.

[via Fast Company, The Verge, Gizmodo and Nickolay Lamm, images via Nickolay Lamm]