ARCS (Augmented Reality Circuit Sniffer) is a reactive augmented reality experience exploring the electromagnetic fields and interference emitted by the mass of everyday electronic devices and infrastructure that surround us. The work invites participants to scan their immediate environment using a hybrid AR interface, which both visualises and sonifies the electromagnetic waves in the user’s immediate environment in real time. Lighting, televisions, laptops, smartphones, electric vehicle charge points, and power cables all become a rich source of previously undiscovered signals for participants to explore.
Building on the early experimental ‘Electrical Walks’ of artist Christina Kubisch, the ARCS project allows users to explore the multitude of electromagnetic frequencies that pervade their immediate environments. The interface consists of a handheld ‘rig’- containing a horizontally mounted tablet connected to a directional electromagnetic sensor. The tablet runs a custom designed AR application, taking the input from the electromagnetic sensor and graphically augmenting the tablet’s camera feed in real-time. These augmented visualisations are directly affected by the strength and proximity of the EM signal and are mapped onto the environments 3D geometry using the tablets LiDAR scanner.