Heart Rate Variance and Breathing Coherence

Research over the last couple of decades has shown heart rate variability (the change in heart rate over time) to be an indicator of certain body states. For instance, when you get into a coherent state where your heart rate increases on in breaths and decreases on out breaths, you are able to feel and be more healthy, calm, and in the zone, etc.  

Scientists are studying the effects of this coherent state on a number of different conditions including: asthma, COPD, IBS, cyclic vomiting, recurrent abdominal pain, fibromyalgia, cardiac rehabilitation, hypertension, chronic muscle pain, pregnancy induced hypertension, depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and performance.

This article goes into much greater detail.

I've written a small application to start playing with heart rate data to help people get into a coherent state. I believe it's possible to integrate the heart rate data into a virtual reality environment and gamify an experience that leads people in this coherent state. 

Hand Tracking + Binaural Beats Sound Machine

I've been playing around with the Leap Motion Controller which tracks the position of the hands and fingertips by displaying a grid of infrared dots and looking for their change in position.  In doing this it is able to give real time updates of hands, fingertips, position in X, Y, and Z as well as velocity, roll, pitch and yaw. Pretty cool with some interesting applications.

In working with some people at a hackathon this week I worked with a neuroscientist doing research in motor control and memory to develop an application to apply sound to physical movement.  As a corollary of this and some interesting reading in college on the application of binaural beats, a different sound frequency played in either can affects the brain waves and can help to create certain mental states like meditation, relaxation, attentiveness etc, I created a Leap Motion controlled binaural beat machine.  

The right hand, placed first over the leap controls sound in the right ear, while the left hand controls sound to the left ear.  Or you can turn off the hands manually set a frequency.

Starting a Makerspace in Greenville, SC

Towards the end of 2012, I was living in Greenville, SC working as a business manager and field engineer for National Instruments.  In order to network with other creatives and have a place to work on fun projects with people, I started pitching the idea of a community technology lab that evolved into the Greenville Makers Group.  

The way we started was:

  1. Talking about the project all the time to people who would listen
  2. Pitching the idea for feedback at a local coworking office
  3. Creating a meetup group, regular email list, and posting on the listing pages for hackerspaces
  4. Reaching out to people who had tried to do this previously and other tech related groups in the area (linux meetups, robotics etc)
  5. Setting a regular meeting time that people could rely on
  6. Eventually voting on officers to split up some of the load and drive growth
    1. Financial person to manage membership dues and expenses
    2. President/Vice President to drive meetings
    3. Social person to drive events and outreach

Within a year we had over 40 people paying monthly dues, a space downtown and had numerous articles written about us and had been featured on the news as well as presented projects at the regional TEDx event.  It was a great experience to bring people together and make something happen and CoWork Greenville was super helpful in getting it off the ground.  Unfortunately after I moved the group has disbanded due to some management and space troubles.