“Human Sensor” examines breathing as an interface between environment and our inner-selves (“invironment”), highlighting our own bodies as the sensor for diagnosing the condition and thus health of our surroundings. It is a futuristic narrative in which people with COPD and asthma are used to detect changes in the air quality in urban environment. Increasingly more people develop respiratory health problems due to expanding but invisible amount of air borne pollutions – made worse not only by industrial and urban growth, but also by the warming of the atmosphere. Lack of accessible and clear information about the air quality data places us in a particularly vulnerable position – after all we all must breath to stay alive and we are all dependent on the air.
“Human Sensor” as a concept is composed by two parts – wearable costumes which is complemented with a performance. Costumes are activated by the wearers’ breathing and respond in real time to the rhythm of breath and changes in the chemical composition of the air. The performance can be described as a story of the air written by our breath, translated by these wearable costumes worn by people whose health is affected by a climate change.
For the Human Sensor Kasia Molga asked me to develop and produce the technical side of the garments.
At the heart of the garments is a Raspberry Pi. It is responsible for processing the data we get from pre-recorded data files (containing PM2.5 amounts and location data) and turning it into the animations on the LED matrix of the garments, also it processes the breath sensor that I made out of a temperature sensor which sits in front of the nose in the mask. To display all the information in real-time on a website I also added 3G connectivity which uses MQTT to transmit the PM2.5 and position data.