Sky Ear: Mobile Phones and Helium Balloons

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London is hosting an unusual science-meets-art event on May 4th that everyone can participate in - Sky Ear.


(From Sky Ear Mobile Phone Balloon Event.)

One thousand large helium balloons with mobile phones and gauss meters will be placed about 60 meters above the ground (held in place with nets and cables). The gauss meters will respond to the electromagnetic spectrum at that level; as people call into the cloud, that will also cause variations.

Ultra-bright colored LEDs will illuminate the balloons; patterns of light in the cloud are expected to change in reaction to the pattern of use by people with cell phones below. Callers will be able to hear whistlers and spherics - the sounds of the electromagnetic spectrum in the atmosphere.

This event reminds me of the start of Lord of Light, the 1967 novel by Roger Zelazny. As the novel begins, Yamadharma, lord of death, is using a pray-machine to call into the cloud of radiation that surrounded their planet, hoping to contact the soul of the Mahasamatman which was imprisoned within the cloud.

Find out more at Haque Design and Research; also, take a look at the Sky Ear website. Thanks to BoingBoing for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/9/2004)

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