Heart Sense is one of the two teams from Georgia Tech to be selected to participate in the 2022 ACCelerate Festival, a celebration of creative exploration and innovative research happening at the intersection of science, engineering, arts, and design.
“How can the very creation, rendering, and experiencing of biological data contribute to a more nuanced understanding of our bodies?” This is the question at the heart of this project. Heart Sense is a series of installations that visualize biometric data such as heart rate and breath as participants engage in a variety of listening and viewing activities. Our bodies are often conceived as separate autonomous entities, disjoint from the physical and social environments that they inhabit while in fact we are deeply connected with the material and social world around us.
The first installation tracks a participant’s heart rate, galvanic skin response, and breathing as they watch a short, emotionally engaging video. This data input produces flower-like visualizations that illustrate the physiological responses. The second installation engages the social dimension of embodiment through the mediation of the physical environment. Participants are invited to sit around a table and are given headphones to listen to music.
A floral visualization representing the collective heart rates of the participants will be projected onto the table, the size and the colors of each petal shifting with changes in each participant’s body. The visualization showcases how our bodies come into relation with each other and are in and of the environment, as they respond to our surrounding conditions even when we are not aware of it.
The team is led by Nassim Parvin, associate professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication, who states “This project has catalyzed interdisciplinary collaboration across natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and it has been a privilege to work with talented students in imaginative world-building.”
Participating faculty include Lewis Wheaton, associate professor, Biological Sciences, Georgia Tech, and Anne Pollock, previously associate professor of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech and now professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at King's College London. The interdisciplinary team includes post-doctoral researcher Aditya Anupam alongside Georgia Tech student researchers Pooja Casula, Shubhangi Gupta, Sylvia Janicki, Michelle Ramirez, and Mohsin Yousufi.