Visualizing Physiological Data
mood & emotion
Rain Ashford is a PhD student in the Art and Computational Technology Program at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work is based on the concept of “Emotive Wearables” that help communicate data about ourselves in social settings. This research and design exploration has led her to create unique pieces of wearable technology that both measure and reflect physiological signals. In this show&tell talk, filmed at the 2013 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Rain discusses what got her interested in this area and one of her current projects – the Baroesque Barometric Skirt.
EEG (Electroencephalography) | GSR (Galvanic Skin Response)
Thank you very much for coming everybody, it’s lovely to be back here in Amsterdam at QS EU again. I had a lovely time last time and it’s really brilliant to see lots of people that I saw before and met and lots of new faces to.
I make wearable technology and I am a second year student at Goldsmiths in London. I’m doing a Ph.D. and I’m really interested in the molding of cyborgs, trans-humans and wearable tech. I love this slide I had to put it in, because the future of wearable technology is going to be so fun and I do believe that we’ll be embedding our systems into our dresses, clothes and stuff and wearing our phones. But not like that particularly.
And this is Steve Mann, and we were talking about Steve Mann yesterday and he’s the father of wearable technology, and I love this slide because it just shows you the progression and the miniaturization of technology that’s gone so quickly. But it wasn’t always so tiny and weeny, and it was quite clunky for a very long time. I’ve got another picture here of Steve Mann, and I love this one here because its Mann glass, I mean how manly can you get than Mann glass.
But I’m also interested in how wearable tech is influenced by sci-fi, and he is a few examples from Star Trek. So you have got the good old tricorder from the open tricorder project. And you can’t talk about wearable tech without talking about cyborgs; I’m a self-confessed cyborg myself. And I love the way that cyborgs have got a history and reputation from sci-fi.
And there’s also the fear of technology, and this slide here it really makes me laugh because people think that all this advanced technology is going to make us slow.
Why am I here? Well I’m a tracker and sensors, and here are some of my tech. And I use lots of sensors in my work like EEG, GSR (galvanic skin response), magnets, temperature sensors. I use the whole gamut of sensors in my work, and here’s a few examples of my work here.
I use it to create both physiological sensing artworks, and also stand-alone artworks such as the teapot here which plays tunes. And I’m interested in my Ph.D. to be serious in social interaction, so especially this kind of old social interaction that you do in social places like conferences and stuff. And I use a lot of sensors to measure my own and other people’s data, and I’ve visualize it. And what I mean by that is I do things that light up things, I make noises, things are open and shut, they do all sorts of funny things.
And I also integrate the technology like for example this is conductive thread examples into my work, and I’m really keen to show that technology and electronics doesn’t have to be cold, sharp, hard, and boring.
Here’s the heart spark, and I was really pleased I was able to use the heart spark in one of my PCs, and I took Eric’s heart spark and hacked it with a pendant that I made that a proximity sensor and I have an idea to use it for speed dating events with a camera, an accelerometer and temperature sensor. And so instead of make everybody like the tick box kind of traditional speed dating, I want them to actually measure and be paired up by their physiological data results.
Here’s another one of my pieces of work, and this is called You’re In My Face, and I made this to wear at social occasions in bars and basically there is a temperature sensor and it takes my temperature. And there’s two faces with eyes on, and basically the algorithm that I have written lights up either a cool, calm and collected face or a hot and angry cat face depending on whether I’ve got hot and bothered or I’m having a nice time speaking to someone.
This is my biometric skirt, and for those who don’t know biometric sensors sense weather data so temperature, pressure, and altitude. And basically what I have made is a scale that visualizes mixed colors in live time on the fly. And it also senses my own personal temperature, so when I’m walking around the house or if I’m inside or outside it reflects all that data in these RGB LEDs on the skirt. So it’s constantly changing, so it’s mixing up my own personal data with that of the environment which I kind of interested in, because I think sometimes I spent too much time looking at my own data.
But getting back to my data, I’m also into EEG sensing, and I play around with things like Necomimi ears and I’ve been trying to manipulate how they respond. So for example counting backwards, giggling, relaxing all sorts of things. And the reason I’m doing that is because I’ve made a pendant which displays my attention and meditation data.
This is the prototype that I did first of all with bar graphs LED, and I’ve got this pendant and I aim to use it at social occasions, where if I’m talking to somebody they can actually see whether or not allegedly, whether or not I’m paying attention.
So you can see on here you have got like two displays, and so this is the evolution of the pendant. So the red it shows my attention data, and the green my meditation data, and this is me walking around recently chatting to people and daring them to try and engage me in a conversation. And that’s the pendant.
So future uses for visualizing data for me, well I’ve got tons of them. Some of them are subtle, some of them are not so subtle, and I use like loads of light, visuals, and sounds and movements. And I want something to make next which opens and closes when I don’t want to speak to someone allegedly. And there’s loads of challenges for the future for when I eventually finish my Ph.D. if I finish it. So all these kinds of stuff like probability, wash ability, tons and tons of stuff that lie in wait for me when I actually try and do it in the real world and try and sell it and maybe make a living from it. I’ve run out of time now, and I’m Rain and if you would like to see some videos of my work, I’ve got loads of videos on my laptop and photos. But otherwise you can contact me on Rainycat on Twitter and that’s my blog which has got some documentation on it.