Breathing Room

Interactive Immersive Environment

Founded by NTNU. Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MTP) and XeThru Novelda

Norway 2016-18


THE BREATHING ROOM from Nazare Soares on Vimeo.

A  collaboration with Martinus Suijkerbuijk and Heikki Sjöman

The Breathing Room is an interactive immersive environment that uses impulse radar technology by XeThru Novelda to create a dynamic interaction between space (environment) and the human respiratory system (body). The Breathing Room enables the participant to synchronize its natural breathing pattern to the manipulation of the space. The architecture of the space consists of ‘living hinge´panels, that through their unique CNC cut pattern enable the wooden panels to morph in three dimensions. The installation uses the multiple features (speed, accuracy, material penetrability) of the radar technology to create a bio-friendly environment that enhances relaxation and contemplation.

The Breathing Room is a prototype for an interactive environment where the breathing pattern of a participant is synchronised with a dynamically modifiable space in this pattern, breadth per minute of the subject entering is captured via Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Impulse Radar (XeThru). This particular low power radar has high-resolution capabilities that can detect micro-movements, high-speed and observe activity through different materials all the while not endangering humans. Its features enable it to detect human presence and register the subject’s breathing pattern. The displacement data of the radar is translated by an algorithm that activates a motor controlled ‘living’ wall. This wall consists of large wooden panels that are CNC cut according to ‘living hinge’ patterns systematically categorized and tested by the Engineering Faculty of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The chosen unique pattern design enables the wooden panels to fold in three deliberate dimensions, rendering the room into a living thorax. The advanced technology of the radar appliance in combination with the natural materials and organic behaviour of the wall elicits a harmonious and alleviating function between body and technology. The project’s incentives emerge from the team’s interest in the latest developments of human-machine interaction within the field of media ecology. One of the research questions explores the direction how a general misperceived malignant technology such as radar can be rediscovered as innocuous, bio-positive indeed calming technology in the search for mindfulness.