Pulse Controlled Game

A game exploring the duality of sound and heart rate as input
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A laptop sits against a pink background. The laptop shows a blue screen with a pixelated drawing on it. Next to the laptop, there is a small pulse sensor.This gif shows a pixelated drawing of a child swinging their legs white sitting on a ski lift. The child is wearing a pink hat, a yellow scarf, and a teal ski suit.

On my daily commute, I typically wear noise-cancelling ear buds. However, the other day, I went on a walk with a friend and was forced to recognize how loud the streets are. As someone sensitive to sound, the contrast between my usual sonic background (nearly white noise) and the unfiltered sounds of the city was particularly jarring. Full documentation is available on my GitHub.

In this game, I wanted to play with sound as central part of a game and use calming tones and harsh noises as opposing forces in my gameplay to emphasize the duality of sound. In this work, the main character is controlled by the player's heart rate. Throughout the game, the player must maintain a steady heart rate while listening to calming and anixety-inducing noises. In creating this game, I tested the extent to which heart rate can be used as an input in gameplay in order to gain insight into if bodily awareness techniques could serve as a safeguard to prevent elevated anxiety.

To use pulse as an input, I used an ELEGOO UNO development board and a small pulse sensor. I coded the game in p5.js and created animation frames in Illustrator.

This image shows a microcontroller connected to a pulse sensor and a bread board. The breadboard has a button on it.
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