Hold your 'Heart in Your Hands' on the streets of Bristol

Issue date: 12 July 2017


Heart in Your Hands

A remarkable new project is coming to the streets of Bristol designed by Rusty Squid, Bristol's Robotic Art and Design Studio.

Heart in Your hands invites participants to hold a beautifully designed robotic heart beating in time with their own, or one of their loved ones, to arouse a deeper appreciation and to inspire empathy toward this hidden engine of our lives.

The Squid team have designed soft robotic hearts that senses and with a built-in sensor and a heart monitor which mimics participants own heart beat as they hold the robotic heart in their hands.

The project aims to engage the public with a greater appreciation of the human heart and inspire a greater appreciation for contemporary biomedical engineers working in heart research using the latest robotic technology. The human heart, a biological feat of engineering, pumps two hundred Olympic swimming pools of blood over a lifetime, yet it is often taken for granted.

Rusty Squid and leading biomedical engineers from King's College London will be taking the soft robotic hearts to the streets of Bristol for members of the public to hold and experience their own heartbeat – and feel how it speeds up or slows down as they experience holding it in their own hands.

The team will be at Wapping Warf and along Museum Street on Wednesday 12 July 14:00 - 18:00; and in Bristol'​s Queen Square and Millennium Square on Wednesday 19 July 14:00 - 18:00.

Rusty Squid, working closely with health practitioners and patients, have designed an intimate experience to stimulate a more fundamental understanding of cardiac mechanics in health and unhealthy hearts – employing soft robotics technology and drawing from the latest biomechanical research.

David McGoran, the creative director artist behind Rusty Squid, Said, “We've just come back from the Royal Society Summer Fair where we got some amazing primal reactions from the public. We had people in tears, laughing uncontrollably, old couples kissing as they held each other's heart and a whole range of strong social and emotional responses. We're taking our soft robotic hearts to the streets, parks and cafes and giving people the chance to feel what it's like to hold their own heart beating in their hands. It's a unique emotional and social experience - bring a friend, family ​or ​a loved one, and take a deep breath and hold your own heart in your hands if you dare!”

Rusty Squid is an experimental robotic art and design studio based at Spike Island in Bristol, founded and led by artists and collaborators from UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England).

The project is designed in collaboration with Dr David Nordsletten and biomedical engineers at Kings College London, funded by the Royal Academic of Engineering.

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