Electrocardiograph Aesthetics Update


The Electrocardiogram is a critical artifact to the piece so finding the right visuals to communicate Western Medicine while blending it with Native American culture is important. I decided to change the colors of the monitor to coordinate with the White Deer Skin Drum. I made the background sandy-colored and the line tanned. Originally I coded the parts of the beat (ex. up, down, up, down), however upon suggestion of a professor I made an animation that played when triggered by a drum-beat. While using an animation made coding easier, the outcome wasn’t as strong as if they were hand-coded. Additionally, I had to abandon the ‘glow’ effect because it wouldn’t superimpose on top of the animation. I lost a lot of ‘cool points’ for that. Its in these moments that I realize my coding limitations and it makes me sad. I also decided to ’round the edges’ of the line, this was an aesthetic decision. I prefer rounded edges to jagged, however I think it is still not the best representation of a medical ECG.

I really wanted to make the ECG as truthful as possible so I adventured to the Medical Engineering department at Toronto General Hospital and asked to borrow a broken one. To my horror they gave me one from the 90s. It was yellowed with age. I really hoped to get a new white and beautiful one but I wasn’t ready to beg. I decided to stick with the MIMO Mini Touch Monitor. Aside: The ME Dept was fascinating > a tinkerer’s dream. The place was busting from the seems with all the equipment. There were buttons and tubes everywhere. All ready to be taken apart and played with. I’ve really enjoyed my time volunteering at the Hospital, it never ceases to intrigue me.

I covered the MIMO Monitor with white Deer Skin I bought from Six Nation’s Irocrafts. The texture of the fabric complements the drum and the wax braid (I learned the braid at Arts and Crafts Activity at Camp – it was nice to put this skill to use).

I found a really cool link for ECG circuits. The coolest was a compact stand-alone ECG featured in the gallery.

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