Jul 20

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Bio Mapping Project in Stockport This Weekend

sf biomap

The Bio Mapping project sponsors people to walk around an area with a GPS and a Galvanic Skin Response sensor and logger. The emotional responses of the participants are then mapped. The map of San Francisco (pdf) was recently completely. They had previously developed a beautiful map of Greenwich (viewable via Flash viewer or Google Earth).

The project has been run by Christian Nold for several years now. Here's how he describes the project in an interview:

You ask people to go out into the streets and take an emotion walk. Can you explain?
Bio Mapping is a participatory methodology for people to talk about their immediate environment, locality and communal space. I'm trying to use 3D visualisation as a way of talking about the space. It's not representational. As part of this method I have developed a device, which can be used by lots of people. It consists of a lie detector connected to a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit, which measures your location and your physiological arousal at the same time. By combining the two I can talk about physiological arousal in certain locations. A Galvanic Skin Response sensor in the form of finger cuffs measures the sweat level. Fitted out with this device, people go for a walk and when they return their data is visualised and annotated.

By downloading data onto my laptop data it is then transformed by my software and then projected onto Google Earth. The Galvanic Skin Response sensor measures the amount of skin conductivity. I'm suggesting that a change in skin conductivity not only tells something about your body, but also suggests an emotive event. I'm plotting the amount of change in the skin resistance level versus location. There are various technical transformations and averaging I have to do to the data. I'm sampling once every four seconds, because I found this optimal for this kind of spatial representation.

This weekend they are biomapping Stockport. If you happen to be in the UK you can participate -- I know that I would. I would love to set this up at one of our conferences to watch the emotional response of attendees throughout the day and at different sessions. Did the keynote speaker or product launch really get people excited? What about that debate?

tags: emerging tech, geo  | comments: 3   | Sphere It

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Comments: 3

  Alex Tolley [07.20.07 11:24 AM]

What a neat way to locate high and low stress areas in both space and time. This is such a nice example of distributed biosensors providing data that could be used for a wide range of applications.

It reminds me of the time I was looking for a house and we wanted it to be quiet, so I would sit quietly in the car listening for freeway traffic noise. So much easier to have had an ambient noise map.

When I was young I lived under the flight path of Heathrow airport, London, and the noise of the commercial jets was pretty annoying, even with habituation. Stockport is not that far from the flight path of Manchester airport. It would be interesting to hear if the granularity of the GSR data is fine enough to detect the passage of aircraft?

  Thomas Lord [07.20.07 11:17 PM]

I'm really made uncomfortable by, regardless of their self-promotional hype, what they're realling doing is rushing to commoditize people's brains as circuit components that are particularly useful for a cybernetic approach to population control. It's not that that isn't technology that "people in general" don't need to come to grips with so much as "what's the rush" and "don't they have anything *needed* to work on?"


  tom wible [07.24.07 06:23 AM]

hmmm...combining the tech of scientology with big-brother...or perhaps it's just measuring the local humidity & elevation gradient;-)

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