Main Project Inspiration: Heartbeat LED

For my project, I would like to continue with the upcycling theme, and make an LED light that detects your heartrate and pulses red LEDs at the same rate. The LEDs would be mounted into an old engine valve cover, where each valve opening gets an LED.

I got the inspiration from a couple of different sources. For one, my friend is taking apart an old Camry engine. From this, he had a valve cover from the 4-cylinder engine that I thought could look great as a lamp, putting 4 lights into each of the 4 valve cover openings. This would’ve been a great upcycle project, but since I had already started on a different path, I decided it could be my final project. However, I thought it would’ve been a bit too simplistic, so I wanted to add more functionality to it.

The second source of inspiration is a senior design project that my friend had, where she made a drumset that beats at the same rate as your heartbeat. Similarly, I would make the lights flash at the same rate as the user’s heartbeat, and replace the lights with red LEDs to represent the heart beating.

I intend on purchasing an off-the-shelf heartrate monitor, and I hope to reverse engineer it so that I can tie it into a circuit that pulses the red LEDs on and off.

All images are from Google image search.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Alexander Thompson
    March 6, 2017 10:25 am

    This is an awesome project! I really like that you’re continuing down the upcycle path, but going a completely different direction than your upcycle project. The key questions I have are expense and usability. How expensive will an off-the-shelf heart-rate monitor be? And once you purchase one will it be worth your time and money to reverse engineer it so you can tie it into a circuit that pulses the red LED’s on and off? In other words, might it be easier to build the whole circuit yourself using fairly basic components? Overall, I really like your idea! I Love that you plan on using the Camry’s engine block and using red LED’s to pulse with your heartbeat. That will make for an impressive aesthetic! Good luck!

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  • Luke Woolley
    March 6, 2017 8:34 am

    As far as the project it seems quite creative and definitely doable. I wonder what else you can add to increase the “aesthetic” appeal since most of the parts have already been designed. But about the images, “Google image search” is not a source. It’s an aggregate of other sources, so to properly cite the original creator you need to delve into the actual image search result to see who took the photo or made the object and give them credit.

    What are you going to use for to monitor heart rate? You could use off-the-shelf part, but it might be more interesting to make your own, either using a RadioShack-type LED emitter/detector pair or building one from the components. Then you can apply whatever design aesthetics to it you want, turn it into either an arm strap or a monitoring station.

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