Beating Heart - GIZMO


Inspired by Victorian animations and curiosity boxes, the Beating Heart is a kinetic sculpture that detects your heart rate and beats along with it.

I was inspired by the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford and the amazing eclectic collection of items contained within to design the aesthetics of this project. I worked with 3 other students to create a project that would grab people's attention. I worked to sculpt a heart that would strongly resemble a heart, its organic shape and movement, whilst abstracting it, simplifying the movement.

To realise our vision of the product, I worked closely with my team mates to create a mechanism that could drive the heart in an organic way. We spent a lot of time experimenting with different mechanisms to create non-simple harmonic motion. We found that the best method was to use a snail cam, springs and then simply attach the top panels with two sets of springs.

The project was displayed at Cisco's London office after being displayed after being spotted by an employee there during a showcase in Imperial College London. It was fantastic to get exposure on the sculpture.

I found that may people would play with the heart and enjoy putting their finger against the heart rate sensor and feel their pulse at the same time. I was really pleased with the interest that the project has had.

I have subsequently developed a 3D printable version of the sculpture and I am developing the mechanism to make it even easier to manufacture.

I think that the project taught me the value of designing object without any particular purpose. It is the first kinetic sculpture I made and has inspired me to design and build a number of small kinetic toys such as a pair of dog-fighting planes.