The Force Unleashed with IoT and Biofeedback

While helping out at the Microsoft booth at Code Mash this
past week, I had an unintentional realization, that I can combine some of my
projects I have been doing or helping with, and bring Biofeedback into the mix
and change the nature of what the intention of the project is entirely as shown
by the video below.

The project featured in that video was created by Paul DeCarlo,
a Microsoft Tech Evangelist and the person talking in the video. It was
originally his entry into the competition put out by Particle https://www.hackster.io/challenges/particle-star-wars
and what it ended up being was a way for me to watch and control my heart rate during
the conference and as such, I was able to have a normal heart rate during my presentation
later that conference (a nice 76 during my talk).

So just what is this biofeedback and how did it help me
translate lights that were reporting my heart rate into allowing me to increase
or decrease my heart rate? To answer that we must first get a better understand
of what is going on. Biofeedback is the use of electronic monitoring of a
normally automatic bodily function in order to train someone to acquire
voluntary control of that function. There are different types of biofeedback
that can be accessed depending on what needs to be accomplished. You can read
brainwaves, breathing, heart rate, muscle, temperature, and sweat glands. All relate
to different responses our body has as well as what we want to change within our
self’s to improve. Using brainwaves has the widest range of applications since
that can relate to things more than just stress or anxiety, but things from
helping improve your performance with sports or help you lose that weight your
body seems to hang onto for no reason. Luckily for this demo, heart rate was
involved and that can be tapped into differently than brainwaves can thanks to
health devices like the Microsoft Band 2. In all these cases training is done
with the help of some visual feedback to guide your body to produce certain
results.

Given all this, you can put it together with IoT
to create visualizations or other methods of response to biofeedback to help us
better ourselves and make us more aware of our own bodies and better understand
our self’s (and get a cool light show in the process).

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Author: Mitch Muenster

Microsoft & Xamarin MVP, Xamarin Certified Developer, biohacker, & public speaker

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