Why might connecting computers to the rest of you be interesting? This week I compared how non-human and human touch affects heart rate. I used a Homedics blood pressure monitor to capture heart rate during the following interactions:
1. Hand using a mouse
2. Dominant hand using my non-dominant palm as a mouse/trackpad
3. Dominant hand using someone else’s hand as a mouse/tackpad
4. Dominant hand using a wooden hand as a mouse/trackpad
Hypothesis: Human touch and the illusion of human touch can lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Findings: I did five trials of each of the four variable tests with the Homedics machine and discovered that my heart rate and blood pressure were significantly lower when I simulated using my own palm as a mouse/trackpad. I want to take this further for next week and try to create a prototype ‘proof of concept’ by using color camera tracking and processing. Additionally, I want to explore phantom limb sensation with a model hand to see if I can get blood pressure and heart rate to lower.
Other Findings: When someone else used my hand as a mouse/trackpad my heart rate increased by nearly twenty on the first trial. When someone touches me I get really excited. When I touch someone else I get excited. When I touch myself it has a calming affect.
I’m also testing with an iphone Heart Rate application and with Yury’s Pulse Oximeter to see if the results are similar.
Connecting computers to the rest of you might be interesting because there may be ways to improve human health by designing interactions that affect autonomic responses-in this case, human touch and heart rate. If there is something to this, the implications are super exciting.