Computer: Augmented Reality
Wi-Fislands   (+7)  [vote for, against]
Islands or oases of free wi-fi in a land of blocked networks.

Augmented reality technology gives us the ability to virtually alter or environment in real-time. Also, free wi-fi is often sparse and difficult to find.

I want a pair of goggles that detect sources of free unprotected wi-fi and triangulate their locations. Then, when I flip a switch, the goggles could superimpose the image of a desert or wasteland around me. Free wi-fi areas would show up as lush tropical oases, so as I journey through the dunes of the city, I can travel to these clear pools of wireless connection to quench my thirst for information. Stronger and faster signals would of course be larger and more filled with life. Optionally, the view could simulate open ocean around me, with islands representing free wi-fi and a single palm tree on each island, its height corresponding to the strength of the signal.
-- DrWorm, Jul 27 2010

Wifi Detector http://www.thinkgee...ts/electronic/89d1/
[available in t-shirt form] [DIYMatt, Jul 27 2010]

Wifi Radar Sidebar App http://www.softlist...fi_radar-image.html
So take this, and then send the results to a pair of glasses with cool graphics? [DIYMatt, Jul 27 2010] [DenholmRicshaw, Jul 28 2010]

I like it, as a test case for augmented reality. The range problem might be soluble with an antenna (WiFi's range isn't only a property of the signal, after all), or it could be done with a stored map.

For extra posthuman coolth, instead of pre-computing it, the stored map could be generated/updated as the user explored the environment.

Come to think of it, I think it *has* to be done with a stored map. If you "see" WiFi from a long distance away, you need both direction (feasible) and *range* (hard).
-- mouseposture, Jul 27 2010

I like the idea of the visuals. It should actually be easy to do. Mapping networks is baked; I had an application on my laptop that would create a top down map of the area within about 200 yards of me. And there's the product I linked.
-- DIYMatt, Jul 27 2010

You all raise good points. Perhaps, before an area is "explored", it could be covered in a heavy obscuring fog.
-- DrWorm, Jul 27 2010

As I said, on my laptop it was able to identify the wifi of every neighbor within a .099 nautical mile radius.
-- DIYMatt, Jul 28 2010

Layar would be a way to do this.
-- DenholmRicshaw, Jul 28 2010

random, halfbakery