Derek Hoffend | Pulse Chamber
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About This Project

Pulse Chamber

January 2015

Size: 7′ x 4′ x 4′

Materials: Heart-Rate Sensors, Wood, Acrylic, RGB LED Strips, Microcontroller, Sound, Audio-Transducers, Fabric, Computer and Amplification Equipment


Pulse Chamber is an immersive biometric sculpture wherein the participants’ cardiac pulses are externalized and experienced through the feedback of sound and light. Thumping bass-tones change in pitch in relation to the beats-per-minute of the pulse and are heard and felt through the floor and walls of the structure, corresponding with flashing colored light in the ceiling. Two participants can experience each other’s pulse by sitting and facing each other while each holding a heart-rate sensor. The pulse of one person will trigger tones on the other side of the box, allowing the other person to feel the other’s pulse. One participant triggers blue light and the other triggers red light, combining to flash purple when beats align.


The project is a study in cardiac synchronization, sympathetic resonance, and the possible effect of entrainment that can occur when organisms are exposed to external rhythms while in direct contact or proximity to each other. The piece can be experienced alone and used for biofeedback to track and control stressed and relaxed states but is also intended to function as a unique interface for interpersonal connection and play. It also brings awareness to an internal biological function by expressing it externally, monumentalizing a fundamental but often overlooked and hidden biological function.


Pulse Chamber is a modified version of the Incubutor project, with back-lit acrylic lighting in the ceiling and heart-rate sensors wired through the wall.