Locative Lab

researching locative media

Cell Phone Disco


Cell Phone Discois a playful experimental installation made out of flashing cells. Bymultiplication of a mobile phone gadget, only slightly altered consumerproduct, we created a space to experience the invisible body of themobile phone.

Flashing cells basically consist of one or more LEDs, battery and a sensor that detects electromagnetic (EM)radiation transmitted by an active mobile phone. When the sensordetects EM waves it sets off the LEDs to flash for a couple of seconds.In general the flashing cells are enclosed in a plastic casing on astrap and sold as a fashion accessory for a mobile phone.

The Cell Phone Disco installation has two parts:


Flashingcells with sensors of higher sensitivity are used to detectelectromagnetic radiation of active mobile phone in a range ofapproximately a meter. This way a sort of aura appears around thephone, revealing a part of it’s invisible body.

While the user moves around talking on his cell phone, this aura follows the conversation as a light shadow through the space.


Muchless sensitive cells are used to create a canvas for an inkless marker.The LEDs get activated only by an extreme proximity of theelectromagnetic source. Moving the phone close to the cells thereforeleaves a trace of light, an electromagnetic drawing.


At the moment we are developing new variations as well as a modularversion which can be used in public space and places such as venues. Ifyou’re interested in applying such installation please contact us at projects@informationlab.org.



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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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