A Journey with EMF-How To?

Posted on March 9, 2012 by


How To:

The Electromagnetic Field Sensor circuit board we made to create our ‘Journey with EMF’ project.

List of Components

4 LEDs
1 EMF sensor
1 breadboard
Duemilanova Ardino Board
5 Jumper wires

4 262 Resistors

3 1M Resistors

Foam Board


1 Splint
Laptop (running on battery)

Schematics of the Circuit










References to other projects

Two projects in particular have been inspirational in the way that we conducted our own investigation. Both projects us long exposure photography, which appealed as an excellent way to keep a visual record of the elements that were being picked up.

Immaterials: the ghost in the field

Touch is a research project that investigates Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and physical things.


Immaterials: Light painting WiFi

The city is filled with an invisible landscape of networks that is becoming an interwoven part of daily life. WiFi networks and increasingly sophisticated mobile phones are starting to influence how urban environments are experienced and understood. We want to explore and reveal what the immaterial terrain of WiFi looks like and how it relates to the city.


How does it work?

The Electromagnetic Field censor reacts to EMF that can be detected in the area.  The sensor is a wire that induces a small current when EMF is in the vicinity. We put together an Arduino circuit to activate LEDs when the censor picks up EMF at a current threshold we devised.  We organised different colour LEDs to represent the different readings Low, Low-Medium, Medium and High. We built a purpose made probe from tubing to make an ergonomically sound devise to trace the journey on the mapped route around an appliance. The 4 LEDs were soldered at one end of the tube, and the Arduino Hardware could be held at the base of the tube. EMF is infinite; however the technology we are using can only pick up the readings at a certain point.


Background Information: What is EMF?

Electric and Magnetic Fields are present whenever electricity is used.  Electromagnetic forces represent an essential part of the physical world, although it cannot be seen. Their sources are the charged fundamental particles of matter. Electric Fields are produced by Voltage; and Magnetic Fields are produced by current.  There has been investigation to whether EMFs can damage peoples’ health, however exploration has shown that the levels emitted from electricity supply that we are exposed to is not high enough to have an effect.

Things that went well… 

Using a formal dark room: more space, better set up, able to map a route on the tiles.

Exploration of different media – stop frame animation / short film / layered photos

Set out to achieve what we wanted to achieve.

Things that went wrong…

Coding difficulties

Original darkroom

Camera Settings

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