A Wi-Fi router embedded in a 1.5-ton rock and powered by fire could keep you connected even in the deepest of forests.
Wireless networks are everywhere around us. At any given time, our smartphones are able to detect numerous wi-fi connections transmitted from all sorts of different devices. Of course this general statement is easily made when we refer to busy cities and tourist spots. If you are out camping in the forest, or at one of these deserted beaches, your connectivity suddenly becomes quite limited. Naturally one can easily assume that most likely you are at these places because you do not want to be connected, but anyhow.
We all know, however, that living in the digital age is not all that simple. Everyone expects that you are connected, and if you disappear from the face of the digital earth even for a little while, people start getting worried. What is more, people now expect fast reactions and answers, meaning that not monitoring your email could result in a huge disaster that could have been prevented.
An innovative idea by a talented inventor and media artist Aram Bartholl could come to your rescue. Meet the “Keepalive” rock, a 1.5-ton rock, which is in fact a nature-disguised WiFi router, powered by fire.
Currently on display in the open-air museum of Springhornhof, Germany, right in the middle of the little patch of forest by the river, stands this incredible piece of modern day technology.
But, taking out your smartphone and navigating to the appropriate network ince you find the spot is not enough. If you visit the park, and you would like to see how it all works, you will have to roll up your sleeves, build a fire and only then you would be activating the thermoelectric generator, powering the router. Then, you will have to make sure that the fire keeps going- if temperature drops, the router stops working.
At the moment, the router only provides connection to the so called “stone database”, and not to the global internet network. The users can still use their electronic devices to upload and download data from it including for example pdf files of survival guides. The inventor would like to think of this stone as a survival grail, which contains all the information you need to keep you going in the wild. Essentially it is something like a data medium between nature and technology.
The idea is not to have easy access to data. The information can be exchanged only locally, and only after you have worked hard for it. You first need to leave the office or the living room, go for a walk in nature, find the stone, make a fire, and only then you can access the hidden database.
It is planned for the future, and poses questions like, would the technology work if someone lights a fire a hundred years from now.
Image (c) Aram Bartholl