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This Coffee Shop Was Built to Repel WiFi and Cell Reception

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech
Faraday Cafe


You might get annoyed when you sit down in a cafe and find that there’s no free WiFi.

Well, this Canadian coffee shop was definitely not for you, then: The entire coffee shop was built to actually repel and jam cellphone signals, making it clear that neither laptops nor smartphones were welcome inside.

Put that in your latte and sip it.

Faraday Café in Vancouver was the first coffee shop in the world to try to pull off this wireless tech “black hole.” Its creator, Julien Thomas, told Fast Company, “I think the proliferation of digital technology like smartphones has happened so fast that we haven’t really had a chance to have a conversation about the etiquette or the ethics around their use.”

Man playing a saxophone inside the cafe


As an art project, Thomas teamed up with a nearby architectural firm to develop the idea of installing a Faraday cage around the cafe. This type of cage creates a static electrical field around everything and anyone inside it, keeping any wireless signals outside. The team also spent some time working out the aesthetics of the cafe, trying to avoid the look of a chicken coop.

Open for just a couple of weeks in July, Thomas’ hope was to help people feel what casual life without a constant Internet connection would be like. He even encouraged his coffee drinkers to write their thoughts on their paper cups, with one reporting he felt he could “think better.”

Cup reading, 'Without the Internet, I think better'

Better than your name, misspelled. (faradaycafe/Instagram)

Gimmicks like “No cellphones” signs inside restaurants have been spreading in recent years, though actually employing anti-cellphone technology is a novel approach. Well, at least the legal and consensual means of doing so is a novel approach.

One Florida man was nabbed by police a few months ago for jamming cellphone signals on a state highway for the past couple of years. The vigilante was allegedly concerned that those driving around him were focusing less on the road than they were their smartphones. After the local sheriff’s department caught on to what he was doing, the man was slapped with $48,000 in fines.

Maybe he should have sold coffee?

Needless to say, Thomas’ art project/coffee shop was not against the law. And even though the cellphone-free coffee shop has closed, the artist has at least done a good job of opening our minds a bit.

Even though you’re probably reading this article on your phone right now. In a coffee shop. Drat.

Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com.