Monday, February 11, 2008

My Beating Heart

Speaking of vision, here I applaud the inventiveness of one of my studio mates, Yury Gitman (Banana Design Lab), who has been inspiring me by proximity with his experimental process, his problem-solving, and his diligence. Yury is a Toy Designer/Inventor, who teaches Interactive Toy Design at Parsons here in NYC. What is an interactive toy, you ask? Well, in the case of his newly released collection called My Beating Heart , it's a soft pillow that has the pulse of a 'heartbeat' inside of it. The pillow remains just a quiet, soft presence until you activate the heartbeat by pressing the subtly-placed switch sewn into the label on the hem. Then, when you hug the pillow to your chest, you feel its heartbeat next to yours. After several test-squeezes when passing by Yury's work area, I have determined that this is a very cozy and soothing item. Inside these soft and squeezable pillows are some electronics... here is a glimpse of some of the electronic hardware that made its way into this pillow... and a glimpse of Yury, working hard in his workspace.

It's a pretty magical fact about our hearts, that we have cells in there that produce electrical currents, which made them beat. There's more info on that here, and don't forget to enjoy the illustrations and animations on this site (especially the man with the yellow swisscheese speedo, getting the ECG)...

I appreciate that Yury uses the metaphor of electrical currents in the heart in this elegant form = content way. And I love that these beating heart pillows are the result of one person's vision and creative energy going towards making something to help more people feel more connected to the life force.