Building Group Empathy with Sensors, Wearables and Biofeedback
In a society that constantly emphasizes the individual it can be difficult to step in a stranger's shoes and see things from their perspective. In this project we will step into stranger’s bodies. Several wearable devices will be built capable of exchanging data with each other over a network. Each device will sense viscerally experienced bio-signals, for example heartbeat and respiration.
Each device will also be capable of providing biofeedback which mimic these bio-signals, for example haptic feedback which ebbs and flows as a breath is taken or a pulsing solenoid (linear actuator) which presses into the chest in time with a heartbeat. When a single user is not facing any other users, the biofeedback functions play back the user’s own vital signs, making them more aware of their body.
When two users are facing each other, they exchange data and feel each other’s vital signs as if they had stepped into each other’s body. When a plurality of users face a single user, all users feel that focal individual's vital signs, subsuming the group into that individual. A number of wearable form factors could be suitable, the chest and head would be ideal mounting points. These devices could be used in group therapy, team building or any number of other applications.