Reboot Life in a heartbeat

This hoodie senses your heartbeat and uses it to control Life. Conway’s Game of Life, popular in all kinds of electronics projects, uses a grid of cells coupled with a set of rules to mimic the life and death of simple organisms. This iteration displays the game over your own heart, then taps into your heart rate, resetting the game at the beginning of each cardiac cycle. We guess you could say that Life goes on only if you do not.

The EKG circuit that detects the heartbeat is made up of an IR transmitter shining through the tip of your finger to a receiver. An ATmega168 running the Arduino bootloader controls the EKG circuit and resets an ATmega48 which is responsible for Life. [Joe] admits that this is overkill but he’s currently without an AVR programmer; he went this route to make it work. The stylishly-geeky hoodie is taken for a test run (er… test-hop?) after the break.

Comments

  1. nave.notnilc says:

    I want one! :P

  2. Brad says:

    perhaps you should set it to update once per heartbeat instead of reset. I have a Polor chest strap and a Polar Heart Rate Module – RMCM01 from sparkfun (http://bit.ly/cH1Igy) that I’d like to make something like this out of

  3. SSquire says:

    EKG circuit or pulse oximetry circuit? ;-)

  4. markii says:

    you know, there is another way of increasing her heartbeat :)

  5. Pete says:

    @SSquire: Correct, not an EKG circuit. But not a pulse oximeter either. Just pulse. The “oximeter” part needs an additional and different wavelength led to determine oxygen concentrations in blood.

  6. killjoy says:

    That was uncalled for markii

  7. googfan says:

    They should make a whole shirt and instead of resetting, the game takes a step every beat.

  8. Achelous says:

    @killjoy

    lol, true to your name

  9. gt says:

    wearing that through a tsa checkpoint would prove to be entertaining.

  10. Olivier says:

    How I wish I was a LEDs matrix…

  11. The Ideanator says:

    Methinks killjoy has no fun. Ever.

  12. joe says:

    @Pete is absolutely correct! this is not EKG (measures electrical impulses) nor is it pulse oximetry (measures oxygen in the blood). It’s a very DIY way to get heartbeat data – it uses just infrared light to spot spurts in the blood level between the emitter and detector. Really dirty, really unscientific. I’ll take all the comments about my girlfriend as compliments ;) thanks for reading.

  13. SDC says:

    Actually I think it works well with the resetting every heartbeat, as with a board that small it seems the Game of Life runs its course in a second or so anyway.

  14. The DON says:

    dead in 2 generations

    :-(

  15. Coyotecom says:

    Damn fine way to model a hack!

  16. Will says:

    @Coyotecom’s comment: “Damn fine way to model a hack!”

    I’d argue that it was a damn fine way to hack a model. :D

  17. justin says:

    Next time you jack a circuit from somebody and call it really dirty, at least give them credit for it. It fit the application I made it for and cost about 10 dollars to make. So you can figure it out yourself next time and document it on your own website so you don’t have to link my work. It’s real easy not to be a dick.

  18. joe says:

    justin, so sorry you took offense to my comment. What i was referring to was the technology (using IR) to detect heartbeats (which IS really dirty and unscientific) – I was NOT referring to the circuit itself. The circuit is fantastic, worked great, and as you said, VERY CHEAP. Your schematic was very clear, and I DID link to it – but, I will add your name in my post as well (unless you don’t want me to… email me if that’s the case). Thanks very much for posting your great work–

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