The Philometer

Philometer from the Greek root ‘philos’, to love and ‘metric’, to measure.

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It's an exciting time when digital fabrication is amazingly accessible. We can create all sorts of things, but making silly little trinkets gets boring really fast. To really make an impact, we make art that is personal and unique to each individual. Our art is derived from biometric data we gather from a device we made called The Philometer.

The Philometer measures heart rate (BPM), brain activity (EEG), galvanic skin response (GSR), and body temperature. At it’s heart is an Arduino and it uploads the data to a computer. The data coming in to the computer is graphed in real time using Processing and simultaneously saved as a raw CSV file. We can then graph the data in 3D using a python script that imports the data in to Rhino. Katie created Illustrator templates that further format the data into the final art piece.

In this new science, we (the New Philographers) connect a subject to machine that we call The Philometer.

The Philometer measures biometric data. Our sensors gather brain waves, heart rate, body temperature and galvanic skin response.

To gather data, the “subject” is placed in a chair, connected to our sensors and then questioned (and possibly probed) by a trained professional. You can trust us, we wear lab coats.

The subject is questioned about his or her life, shown photos or exposed to any number of sensory stimuli. As the subject’s body and brain reacts to the stimuli, data from the sensors is collected. The data creates a time-and-place specific artwork generated directly from the physiological experience of the subject.

The output is a unique art generated from the subject’s data gathered during the experience.


Wedding ring files

3dm - 3.65 MB - 06/01/2016 at 22:43



The submission for the art show.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 19.55 MB - 06/01/2016 at 22:42


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  • Wedding Rings

    Jacob Sayles06/01/2016 at 22:38 0 comments

    Katie took the data from when I proposed and created our wedding rings. On the outside is her Galvanic Skin Response. She was sitting around 400 or so and then I popped the question and she got really nervous and it dropped to around 200. On the inside shows her brainwaves that cut out shortly after she said yes. Coincidence?

    We had the rings printed at Shapeways. Hers is polished silver and mine is in steel.

  • Live Performance 2

    Jacob Sayles06/01/2016 at 22:11 0 comments

    We had such fun the first time that we were invited back to the art show. This time we recruited help since it was a lot of work we learned. We are going to need another lab coat!

  • Live Performance 1

    Jacob Sayles06/01/2016 at 22:01 0 comments

    In 2014, Katie and I attended a local art show and created live, personal, biometric art for attendees. We put on lab coats and everything. When people are hooked up to The Philometer they will pretty much tell you anything and the reactions were priceless.

  • She Said Yes!

    Jacob Sayles06/01/2016 at 21:52 0 comments

    While working on the machine I connected Katie to the device and popped the question.... and she said yes! The best part of it is that I have her biometric data recorded from the proposal and Katie used the data in her design of our wedding rings.

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