Wireless display makes museum the iSPOT
True, watching someone use the Internet sounds dull. But watching an entire school use the Internet approaches art.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology went completely wireless in early June. Carlo Ratti and Andres Sevtsuk decided to take advantage with a project called iSPOTS, unveiled last night at the MIT Museum and on display through Jan. 13, which tracks real-time use of the wireless network on campus — an ongoing data tracking system that visually demonstrates the density of wireless usage through interactive graphs and maps.
“Part of what this project’s goal is to visualize what is intangible, the Internet,” said Sevtsuk before speaking at the opening reception. The project is displayed on three transparent screens, each representing a different stage of the project. The first screen, “Intensities,” demonstrates the volume of WiFi usage across the campus as a whole. The second, “Statistics,” focuses on use in specific parts of campus with interactive graphs that pinpoint buildings, floors and even rooms.
The third screen, “Traces,” rather than focusing on the amount of WiFi usage geographically, tracks specific users who log on to the institute’s campus network from various locations. Mapping individual movements and WiFi use will hopefully help to develop a messenger device that will provide the location information of users, which, Ratti said, will “help people to find each other and make appointments through digitally augmented serendipity.”
The museum is at 265 Massachusetts Ave. near Central Square. There is parking on the avenue. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for those under 18, students and seniors and free for those under 5 and institute ID cardholders. Call (617) 253-4444 or go to web.mit.edu/museum.