Visualize electromagnetic smog using a cheap DVB-T stick as a Software Defined Radio.
2. Describe the problem (or your vision) you wanted to tackle with your hack.
More electronic devices then ever use wireless communication in different frequency bandwidths to enable our western high tech culture to live the fast speeding way we adapted to. By nature these electromagnetic radiations are invisible to the human eye. The most accepted view in society and science right now is that these electromagnetic radiations, within certain borders of signal strength, are harmless to living organisms. However, there is a lack of studies conducted over longer periods of time that support that view. Actually, one simple A/B test with a type of garden cress recently conducted by 7th graders suggests a heavy impact on the healthy development of the plant when influenced by Wi-Fi radiation (http://bit.ly/1lNQsmT).
The main problem is that most people are not aware of the amount of electronic smog exposed to them. Therefore, our vision is to raise awareness of the existing electro smog by supplying an easy and low budget way of visualizing the radiation. Once the critical mass of people who know about the problem is reached political pressure can be raised which in turn shall allow new multiple independent studies concerning the effects of electromagnetic radiation. As an highly educated society it is our duty to critically analyze the impact of our technical developments .
3. What is the problem you wanted to solve? How would you explain it to your parents?
People everywhere are surrounded by an increasing number of electromagnetic radiations, which are invisible and not necessary sensible to human bodies. A lot of people are unaware of the multiple sources of artificial radiation they are exposed to on a daily base. We want to provide a cheap and easy way for everybody which helps them to visualize the radiations and therefore raise awareness in the society. Simple experiments with plants suggest that further research on the impact of radiation on living organism is necessary.
4. What kind of skills or backgrounds helped to make your hack happen?
Definitely one needs knowledge about computers, operating systems, DVB-T devices and physics in the area of electromagnetic waves. Of course media competence helped to fill the gaps of necessary knowledge.
5. What was your worst/breakthrough moment during the Science Hack Day?
6. Photos: Please attach 2 pictures of your hack. Best: 1 in the making and 1 of the final prototype/hack.
(if you need more photos, please ask Gregor (the photographer)).