Body Intelligence Collective
Tech-Dance Collaboration

The Project

Digital Umbilical was initiated as a project during a hackathon organised by Sadlers Wells Dance in 2019. In response to the question 'how can technology be used to bring people together through dance' we conceived of a piece that hooked up dancers and audience to heart and breath sensors. The data from the sensors was used to drive the environment (lights, sound) and fed back to the performers.

With the advent of the global pandemic in 2020 we adapted the piece into a remote, networked performance (Digital Umbilical Online - DUO). We created an iPhone app capable of measuring the user's heartbeat using Photoplethysmography (PPG) with the data being sent across the internet to the dancer who used the beats to inform her performance. The performance, in turn, was streamed back to the audience with the dancer's heartbeat creating haptic beats on the phone.

My Mission

  • Joint concept development
  • Build and code wifi enabled Arduino modules to send sensor data to server
  • Research and develop various types of physiological sensors
  • Build iOS app to capture user heartbeat
  • Build Node.js server to handle data transfer
  • Configure video streaming service
  • Build websocket interface to communicate with VVVV app