Interactive Design
Programming for Marcus Lyall's artwork

In A Heartbeat

Marcus Lyall

Interactive Design

Uncommon, 2019-2020

In 2019, luxury flexible workspace, Uncommon has commissionned light artist Marcus Lyall, to provide their space on Liverpool Street with an interactive light and sound installation.
Made up of 7,200 LEDs, ‘In a Heartbeat’ monitors heart rates and stress levels through a Blood Volume Flow sensor and is designed to promote wellness by making people aware of the signals inside their body and how stress can affect their everyday life.

I programmed the interactive system with Touchdesigner and Arduino to receive heartbeat signals from the pulse sensor, calculate the user’s Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and generate the audiovisual piece according to the users different stress levels.

The HRV is considered to be a good indicator of stress levels and heart health. High levels of stress cause your heart to beat faster and in a more metronomic pattern. People who are relaxed have a lower heart rate and a less regular rhythm. The aim was to make people aware of their internal signals by showing people their heart activity in an engaging way,

The generative composition was created and programmed in collaboration with composer Richard Norris.
The heart rate software was designed in consultation with neuroscientist Professor James Kilner.

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