This Is What the Electromagnetic Field Surrounding You Sounds Like

They’re everywhere. They’re charging over your keyboard’s home row, pulsing at your camera’s flash, swirling around the base of that halogen desk lap, and coursing right through your brain when you go up to your roof and stare off at the horizon.

Electromagnetic fields are omnipresent. They’re the collective build-up of an increasingly data-driven modern condition. They’re invisible to the naked eye, and despite singing the weird, unpredictable songs of interference, are otherwise impossible to hear. Until now.

The reality is that virtually all objects that draw electrical power can be sonified. The Elektrosluch 2, a nifty, $60 handheld gadget from Bratislava-based experimental label LOM, allows you to hear what those objects sound like inside the electromagnetic spectrum. The handheld device has two electromagnetic pick-ups, or microphones, that create on-board stereo images, and also has a mini hi-fi amplifier that can work with headphones or “with other instruments,” LOM’s site explains. It all runs on a single 9-volt battery.

The idea is that when you stick a wire coil in a magnetic field, the coil induces the current proportional to the field’s strength, as Hackaday explains. The Elekrosluch 2’s pair of coils are most likely tuned to different frequencies, so setting aside the fact that its capacitors and resistors restrict the amount of bandwidth available to audio frequencies, Hackaday adds, the device still picks up a wide, weird range of static-y sonic textures.

The possibilities are seemingly endless: “One can imagine electromagnetic waves as series of very regular waves that travel at an enormous speed, the speed of light,” as the World Health Organization puts it. “The frequency simply describes the number of oscillations or cycles per second, while the term wavelength describes the distance between one wave and the next.”

As a pretty straightforward hack, the Elektrosluch 2 fits nicely into the quest to sonify every last thing. Hell, just imagine aiming it at the NSA’s quantum computing dreams.

Learn more about here

Build your own Elektrosluch

Hear what the electromagnetic field sounds Like here

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