An application concept that enables users to experience digital boundaries
Duration: 1 week, spring 2017
Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous. Wherever you go, Internet is around you. Tech cooperations like Facebook and Google are working on solutions which shall bring the Internet from unmanned aerial vehicles and high-altitude balloons to any spot on this planet. If this advancement succeeds, do people still have the opportunity or even the willpower to get disconnected and detached from technology?
My first approach to this question imagines the future about the Great Internet Firewall of China. How do strictly monitored digital networks constitute social behaviours in the digital as well as physical space? Privacy has become a luxury in the future China. One the one hand, the Chinese have learnt how to live without it. On the other hand, those who can afford it, pay for privacy as if its a good. One service that offers a private minute to talk offside the Chinese digital network surveillance is a foreign drone service stationary abroad. So called wifi bombers fly illegally in to China to the customer and drop devices that are capable of interfering network services for a certain amount of time. With such device, the customer can be assured to take a walk midst the digital city without being overheard by governmental forces right away. After use, the device crumples up. This idea is originated from an open-sourced wifi-jammer program I played around with on the Raspberry Pi. Since the first approach seem to display dystopian overtones, my second approach focuses more on a positive concept about the use of wifi jammers in the future.
Digital spheres is a conceptual application that enables users to relocate their private wifi access on their devices to physical spaces. This works in combination with a physical station which function is to scan a user’s MAC address (A unique address of your device). When logged to the scanning station by giving it your MAC address, the user is then instructed to leave his/her current position and draws the line where wifi shall be jammed and also shall be accessible again. By shaking the device, the user marks his/her private wifi access to the spot where he/she stands at the moment. Only by returning back to that marked place, the user gets back his/her access to wifi. Whenever people have the urge to do something online, they need to walk the “extra mile” to do that – they need to walk to the marked spot. For some people this might already become a great effort and moreover make them stay where they are with their workload. In this way, digital spheres are created, one that is entirely dedicated to digital offline work and the other relates to digital online work. This approach intents to bring a better structure in our digital life, as specific tasks can be relocated to specific places. We might remember better what we are doing as we can relate our digital work to actual places.