Pulse Trace
digital, 2017
Can Yanardag
Keyur Jain
Yee Mun Ooi
Radhika Agarwal
Special Thanks
Matt Cottam
Mikhail Mansion

As a response to the brief make the invisible visible, Pulse Trace is an exploration about revealing people’s heart rates using the tools of photography.

Using a pulse rate sensor and an Arduino, the heart rate readings of team members were mapped to an LED strip. Depending on whether the values from the sensor were high or low, different LEDs on the strip lit up accordingly. To capture the change in heart rate over time, long exposure shots were taken as each person moved along a fixed path in a room.

Further exploration of this technique included changing the speed of movement across the frame, the colours emitted by the LED and the camera angle. During this process, some interesting shadows that projected onto the ceiling were captured. This led to another series of experiments where shadows of a laser-cut heart were made to move and pulsate to one’s own heartbeat.

Experimenting with changing the colors over time.

heart beat in blue, pink, orange.

Trying different angles.

Blue heart beat shot from a sharp angle

Our heart beating on the ceiling. Playing with shadows was fun.

Blue heart beat shot from a sharp angle

An early attempt at capturing heart beat, didn't work so well.

many faces and squiggled green line

Before we knew how to capture the heart.

long exposed line and body moving across screen

Checking to see if my heartbeat has registered.

Image of me with a led strip on my test.

Shirt off, led strip on...it's debug time.

Shirt off, led strip on, debug time.