Biosignals Experiments

I am interested in exploring a myriad of possibilities for biosignals sharing. Heart beats, breathing, galvanic skin response, EEG, and other signals are becoming easier to collect and share. Applications in fitness, self-tracking, meditation, and closeness at a distance are emerging. By making a series of one-off prototypes, whether they are desirable, undesirable, or simply weird, I hope to broaden the design space for biosignal sharing.

listening to a song and feeling sad

(turn your volume down before proceeding)

Biosignals sharing is being used for emotional closeness and connection, such as with Apple Watch's heart beat sharing. Rather than seeking emotional closeness to build or maintain a relationship, in this experiment I try out using biosignal sharing as a way of expressing emotional distance after a breakup. In contrast to prevalent notions around sharing that favor easily understood expressions of happiness and connectivity, this piece shares a somewhat obscure expression of sadness and separation in the form of a distorted audio signal.

Galvanic skin response (GSR) recorded while listening to a personally significant song offers evidence of my emotional response. In lieu of an audio visualization, the time-synced GSR values are plotted on the left and used to distort the audio. Sometimes the GSR measurements rise and fall with the rising and falling tension or energy in the music, but most of the signal is idiosyncratic, creating a playback of the song that uniquely represents my emotion while listening.

Can biosignals augment our communication? Can they offer "proof" of feeling? How can they be used for self-expression?