Usman Haque’s latest project SkyEar is an array of hundreds of helium filled balloons with electromagnetic field (EMF) gaussometers, bright LEDs, and mobile phones inside. The connected balloons form a “cloud” in the sky as they float, and they detect EMF frequencies in the atmosphere which directly change the brightness of the LEDs inside. Visitors can also call the mobile phones inside the balloons which will answer (not sure how he does this?) and playback the sound into their phones on the ground. The act of calling the phones causes more EMF to be emmitted from the phones themselves, thus completing the feedback loop. The SkyEar goes live in London on May 4th ( May the 4th be with you Usman!) so I would recommend getting their early before anything “pops!”. This project is interesting in both as an intervention into public space and as a platform for mass interaction. This differs from other inflatable public projects like the Urballoon, which encourages interaction, but is more of a one-to-one mapping on the output. (thanks to Chris for reminding me to post this)

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