• 06.03.10

A Modern Take on Smoke Signals: “For Those Who Can See”

A designer conjurs pixels from smoke.

Smoke signals, that ancient form of status updates, have been forgotten by the modern world. But Daniel


Schulze wants to bring them back–using high-tech circuits, signal processing, and fog machines.

“For Those Who Can See” is comprised of smoke machines and speakers, laid out on a 7×7 grid. Shulze
programmed the speakers to pulse at specific intervals, and when they
do, they send the smoke through openings in a bunch of concrete slabs.

That video is obviously just a mock up. For the full installation, Schulze–an industrial-design student at
Berlin’s Universitat der Kunste (University of Art)–will be creating 3-D symbols and messages that waft upwards and dissolve in the air. That piece will debut next Wednesday at DMY Berlin, a four-day festival of design and

Hungry for more projects like Schulze’s? The project reminds us of Julius Popp’s wonderful Bit.Fall–a panel of nozzles that creates pixels out of falling water:


And for more digital installations, check out our previous slideshow, “Picassos with Pixels.”

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.