A US designer has created a chandelier that blocks wireless signals and effectively prevents people from using their phones and other electronic devices within a 1.5 metre radius.
Titled Dis/Connect, the light contains ten radio-jamming antennae that sit in the place of candles. The antenna interferes with communication between electronic devices, effectively making electronic devices redundant within the space.
Designer Eric Forman, who created Dis/Connect with artist Ben Luzzatto and engineer Daniel Gross, says the chandelier is designed to meet the needs of those that need to switch off from time to time.
"To be wholly present with ourselves and each other, we must design new tools to create spaces of digital quiet in our homes," he says.
"It's not that we can't turn our phones off, it's that we don't – they are too addictive.”
Dis/Connect channels the fundamental pieces of a chandelier, but it is obviously quite different given the parts it is composed of. The black antennae replace the lighting elements, and it is the central column and the light’s arms, made of acrylic, that light up a room. The wires that feed signals to the antennae and jam the devices below, hang in curves that channel the look of an atypical chandelier.
"We machined translucent acrylic to give it a modern, slightly sci-fi feeling, something that feels a bit alien but is still welcoming," Forman says.
Forman explains how radio jamming works with an analogy likened to reading a book. When a stronger radio signal is in the same vicinity as another, it can overpower the other frequencies within the space.
"Think about having a reading light so bright that you couldn't see the pages of your book, but only when sitting below it," he says.
With signal jamming illegal in most countries, Forman stresses the Dis/Connect chandelier is more an art piece as opposed to a commercial product. He says the design team plans to reason with US authorities in a bid to have it made available for commercial spaces, and start a conversation about domestic signal jammers.
"We have a petition ready to file with the US Federal Communications Commission," he says.
"We want the public comments phase of that to be part of the project. Not to say we have the answer, but to open up the debate."
To find out more about Dis/Connect, click here.