Pulsecam

A camera app that uses peaks in the user's heartbeat to emphasize the meaningful moments of everyday life.

From posting our latest images on Facebook or Instagram to taking burst pictures with our iPhones, we increasingly drown in a sea of captured images.

One of the challenges that comes with this image overload is how to make sense of all these data and how to filter the meaningful moments out of it.

Projects such as Microsoft’s Sense Cam or Google’s recent Clips Lifelogging Cam tries to employ machine learning and AI to separate the mundane from the exciting.

Rather than letting an ‘outside’ AI algorithm decide which moments to emphasize, Pulsecam explores how can we use our body’s own biofeedback reactions to automatically decide what is worth capturing.

How does it work?

Pulsecam has two parts - an iWatch that measures the wearer’s heartbeat and an iPhone application that captures the images.

The iWatch measures transmits the wearer’s heartbeat to the iPhone which takes a picture for every heartbeat sent to it.

The images are then cropped according to changes in the measured heartbeat, showing a bigger slice of the images that were taken in phases in that the heartbeat suddenly accelerated.

Pictures taken in those moments are shown almost in their entirety while images taken in ‘calmer’ moments and phases of slower heartbeats are cropped to a one pixel width, becoming beautiful patterns of almost visual noise.

Low Heartrate

Medium Heartrate

Sudden Peaks

The Output

All images are then stitched together creating a visual collage from the taken and cropped images.

Collage timestretching

Collage timestretching

As an interesting visual side effect, the collages of more exciting time periods become longer than the less exciting ones, giving a visual indication of the ‘excitement’ of the days in comparison.

Napping

Slow day at Work

Walking down Broadway

Running into a friend

Rollercoaster at Coney Island

Slow day at work

Running into a friend

Rollercoaster at Coney Island

The outcome is a visual summary of each day that emphasizes the meaningful moments as detected by the fluctuations of the wearer’s heartbeat.

Besides ‘expected’ moments that lead to larger images (such as riding a rollercoaster) typically the wearer’s heartbeat tends to accelerate during conversations - leading to the app capturing most of the conversations and encounters with people throughout the day.

Conversational triggers

Conversational triggers

As a project, pulsecam explores how our body’s own biofeedback can be utilized to capture and emphasize the most meaningful moments of everyday life.