Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

Physiological sensing beyond medical applications


on 11-02-2019

... From helping researchers prototype rehabilitation systems for patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to empowering companies in the creation of next-generation AI-based cardiovascular diagnostic systems, low-cost toolkit BITalino is having quite a transformative role within the medical community. No big news there, since the kit was designed in part to achieve these very same purposes.

However, it is actually spearheading an even deeper revolution, in which physiological sensing, before mostly bound to specialized clinical facilities, is now making its way into other areas. The examples are stacking up rapidly, and couldn’t be more diverse.

Body(e)scape (https://vimeo.com/136944173) by Luca Forcucci, Crystal Sepúlveda & Cheryl Leonard, is a live performance where otherwise unnoticed physiological sources, are relayed to the audience in the form of sounds that enrich the overall artistic expressivity of a dancer on stage.

In the field of AR, Artizan Novi Sad created ReactiFI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9YLrc5mVeM), an environment where designers can interactively sculpt models with some of the parameters dynamically controlled by inputs from their cardiovascular and sympathetic nervous system responses.

Barcelonese interaction design studio ProtoPixel, converted a whole room into an immersive biofeedback space dubbed The Glitch Chamber (https://vimeo.com/98075534), which “responds” in real time to the visitor’s excitement state in the form of audio and visual cues.

Perhaps one of the most iconic projects of them all has been the Most Open Test Drive in the World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFtNSiSuYhg), a PR stunt by car manufacturer Smart, where drivers are matched with very nosy passengers and their physiological responses monitored to detect hints of deception when daring questions are asked.

A world of possibilities is unfolding for physiological sensing, well beyond the standard medical domain. IT is at the epicenter of this movement through the work developed by the Pattern and Image Analysis group, where several projects coordinated by Professors Ana Fred and Hugo Silva balance fundamental with applied research and promote initiatives of knowledge transfer to industry.


Photo: The Glitch Chamber