A new mobile application created by Dutch designer Richard Vijgen visualises the 'infosphere'—an interdependent 'network of networks' that is "populated by informational entities"—in realtime augmented reality, transforming our intangible environment into an abstracted world of pulsating waves of energy. We are "completely surrounded by a hidden system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites," according to the designer. The Architecture of Radio works by "reversing the ambient nature of the 'infosphere', hiding the visible while revealing the invisible technological landscape we interact with through our devices."
Our digital lives, Vijgen continues, depend on these very physical systems for communication, observation and navigation.
Based on global open datasets of cell tower, Wi-Fi and satellite locations and your GPS location, the app shows a 360 degree visualisation of the signals around you. The dataset includes almost seven million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers, and hundreds of satellites.
In the words of Michael Andor Brodeur, the app is "an entirely new lens through which to view the [reality] we have, but rely on every day."