Arduino, Processing
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Lung – A device that visualizes breathing data using soap bubbles


Philips recently asked the second and third year Interaction Design students at ArtEZ Academy of the Arts Arnhem (the Netherlands) to develop a project about the Quantified Self. Amy Whittle and Willem Kempers teamed up and chose breathing as their focus, the physiological act of respiration required to sustain life that can be both subconscious and controlled. Their goal was to make people aware of their breathing habits by making breathing data more legible.

As anyone can testify, taking a deep breath before a nerve-racking experience can calm that anxiety, but to what further extent can controlled breathing benefit the human body?

The duo measured their own breathing by putting temperature sensors in their noses and engaged in various activities, from cooking to meditating. Air that flows in is colder then air that flows out, by measuring this fluctuation they could define breathing patterns. These patterns were visualised using soap bubbles, iridescent surface matter that can expand and contract, much like lungs. Measured data was translated to a fan which blew the bubbles.

The installation includes Arduino, Adafruit Motor Shield, Stepper Motors, Fan, Soap, LEDs and Processing.

The project was exhibited at the Dutch Design Week of 2014 at Uncertainty Studios.

Project Page | Amy WhittleWillem Kempers