Pulse Sensor House, 2013

Once I was given an assignment in school to design something that uses a pulse-sensor:  the user holds the sensor for a given amount of time and is able to view the output range of values on a console of some sort.  In this case, we were using the Arduino environment for this sensor.

I didn't want to make a stuff-animal that a user would hold to take a pulse, or any product that looked like a medical design.  I thought I could do way better with originality.

So taking this obsession with set design, the past, architecture and my new-found love of circuits and wires, I actually surprised myself and built this crazy dollhouse.  Further, taking my grandmother's old 50's crime magazines, I scanned them and used them for the facade of the building.  I have no clue what I was thinking.

But after rigging the entire house with wires, LED lights, and motors, I programmed an environment that made the house come alive.  

This new "casing" for the pulse sensor was a gamification:


  1. there is an imaginary intruder in the bottom floor, first room of the house
  2. the user holds the pulse sensor between their index finger and thumb
  3. if the reading is a pulse below a certain number, the user doesn't ascend to the next room
  4. if the user's pulse rises (panics), the intruder ascends another level
  5. each place the intruder has progressed is signaled by an LED light.
  6. the "victim" is in the attic which is the "end" for the intruder.
  7. the motor, simulating footsteps of the intruder, moves faster the more the intruder progresses
  8. staying calm will keep the intruder from moving

Here is the result with user interaction: