Disrupting Data: Collecting and Personalizing Biosignals

21 June 2019


Venue: Boulder Public Library, Arapahoe Room, 2nd Floor, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Organiser: (re)claimed

(re)claimed is a collective organized by students Shanel Wu, Nathalia Campreguer, and Mikhaila Friske that questions economic, political, and social structures by reclaiming materials, tools, and data. Shanel Wu (they/them) is a graduate student researching smart textiles, as well as a rogue physicist and fiber crafter. Nathalia Campreguer (she/her) learned all sorts of crafts growing up with her Grandma and loves to experiment with alternative materials. She is also a graduate student in Human-Computer Interaction. Mikhaila Friske (she/her) is a graduate student in Information Science exploring themes around the topics of queerness, craft, and smart textiles.

Why does my Fitbit think I’m dying? There are a plethora of devices meant to help people understand and interpret biofeedback, ranging from fitness trackers (like Garmin and Fitbit) to emotion and stress trackers (like Spire and Pip). However, the way these systems are interpreting biosignal data is not transparent to us as users and may even conflict with how we interpret our own data. By assuming our devices cannot accurately interpret our biosignals, we will be able to produce new ways of visualizing our data and reclaim agency over our biofeedback.

This event explores low cost ways to collect biosignals without expensive devices as well as new ways to explore and interpret our own data, disrupting preconceived notions of what our bio signals represent. Participants will be asked questions to explore this topic: How do biosensing trackers fail to understand our data? And in what ways does biosensing create a point of conflict between how the hardware sees us and how we see our ourselves? What ways can we visualize our biosignals to more accurately reflect these personal interpretations?