Biofeedback - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

  • Biofeedback data and biofeedback technology are used by Massimiliano Peretti in a contemporary art environment, the Amigdalae project. This project explores the way in which emotional reactions filter and distort human perception and observation. During the performance, biofeedback medical technology, such as the EEG, body temperature variations, heart rate, and galvanic responses, are used to analyze an audience's emotions while they watch the video art. Using these signals, the music changes so that the consequent sound environment simultaneously mirrors and influences the viewer's emotional state. More information is available at the website of the CNRS French National Center of Neural Research .
  • Charles Wehrenberg implemented competitive-relaxation as a gaming paradigm with the Will Ball Games circa 1973. In the first bio-mechanical versions, comparative GSR inputs monitored each player's relaxation response and moved the Will Ball across a playing field appropriately using stepper motors. In 1984 Wehrenberg programmed the Will Ball games for Apple II computers. The Will Ball game itself is described as pure competitive-relaxation; Brain Ball is a duel between one player's left and right brain hemispheres; Mood Ball is an obstacle-based game; Psycho Dice is a psycho-kinetic game. In 1999 The HeartMath Institute developed an educational system based on heart rhythm measurement and display on a Personal Computer (Windows/Macintosh). Their systems have been copied by many but are still unique in the way they assist people to learn about and self-manage their physiology. A handheld version of their system was released in 2006 and is completely portable being the size of a small mobile phone and having rechargeable batteries. With this unit one can move around and go about daily business while gaining feedback about inner psycho-physiological states.
  • In 2001, the company Journey to Wild Divine began producing biofeedback hardware and software for the Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Third-party and open-source software and games are also available for the Wild Divine hardware. Tetris 64 makes use of biofeedback to adjust the speed of the tetris puzzle game.
  • David Rosenboom has worked to develop musical instruments that would respond to mental and physiological commands. Playing these instruments can be learned through a process of biofeedback.
  • In the mid-seventies, an episode of the television series, "The Bionic Woman", featured a doctor who could "heal" himself using biofeedback techniques to communicate to his body and react to stimuli. For example, he could exhibit "super" powers, such as walking on hot coals, by feeling the heat on the sole of his feet and then convincing his body to react by sending large quantities of perspiration to compensate. He could also convince his body to deliver extremely high levels of adrenalin to provide more energy to allow him to run faster and jump higher. When injured, he could slow his heart rate to reduce blood pressure, send extra platelets to aid in clotting a wound, and direct white blood cells to an area to attack infection.

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