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Artist Ashok Sukumaran’s most recent work for Sun Labs debuted last weekend in San Jose, Calif. The exhibit, called “Park View Hotel,” took place in Cesar Chavez Park and the adjacent Fairmont Hotel. With the use of Sun Labs’ Sun Spots (small programmable object technology), or wireless sensor technology, Sukumaran attempted to illuminate the virtual world of surveillance.
By pointing an infrared beam at a nearby hotel, passers-by in a local park could activate sensors inside hotel rooms up to 200 feet away, and cause them to light up and change the surrounding environment.
The project used two telescopelike devices equipped to send out infrared beam. People used the scopes from tripods set up in the park to peer at certain rooms at the Fairmont.
With the scopes, onlookers could scan the Fairmont to find any one of six rooms that were set up with the wireless sensor technology, connected and controlled by Sun Spots. The infrared beam in the scope triggered sensors in the room, which then triggered the lights to change to yellow, red, blue or green. No one in the hotel could see these beams, but the Sun Spots picked them up and controlled lights in the room.
When the room’s lights began to change color–from yellow to blue to green–the onlooker with the scope could push a button to activate the sensor network and cause the color of the room to leak out into the park. The Sun Spots sent a radio message through a network, which had about 45 sensor devices wired to the exterior of the hotel–from the hotel room to the swimming pool, to the street lamppost, down to a tree in the park.
This map shows the position of the scopes in Caesar Chavez park and the target Sun Spots in the Fairmont.
The Sun Spot sensors before being deployed.