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Project Dev Studio | Facebook Live to Body Hacking #1

For more context, read initial plan & data parsing breakdown.

TLDR Version;

What is done / working:

  • Scraping comments from Facebook livestream (NodeJS, FB Graph API)

  • Sending electrical signals to actual muscles (TENS unit)

  • Controlling current from TENS (Arduino + relay)

To work on:

  • (!) Creating a "performance"

  • Figuring out the delay between comment -> scraping -> sending current

  • Incorporating delay into the interaction between viewer/commenter/performance, possibly by having a visual countdown / comment counter

Now that I have a proof-of-concept, I can expand the medium choices. It doesn't have to be a livestream nor a physical actuation.


Tech Map


Part 1 - Data Processing

For details on how I made the program using FB Graph API & NodeJS, read here.


Part 2 - Physical Actuation

I gave up on motors and mechanical arm because I am very compelled to do this:

Manabe Daito, 2009

I bought a electronic muscle simulator (EMS) device off of Amazon called a TENS unit. It is normally used to regulate chronic pain through 'hijacking' muscle nerves. Basically it sends current through a muscle to forcefully contract it or numb the sensation of pain. Also when there is a current, command from the brain is blocked (please don't quote me on this).

(Disclaimer: I have consulted a physician & physical therapist, this is safe to use on facial muscles when done correctly).

I used relay units to control the flow of current coming from the console, taking cues from a tutorial.

And then I used serial data to switch the relay on/off.


Part 3 - Live Feed Mixing (?)

This is more for audience prompts/cues. There is an inherent delay in comment posting and livestream feed on FB, so the delay has to be masked as a mechanic of the participatory performance.

I am thinking of having a countdown and a counter for audience votes, using p5.



What's Next?

  • Decide what kind of performance I want to do (what makes sense? what do I want to say?)

  • I can either only have physical actuations or... have digital actuations too, e.g., having audience control a 3D model face vs. my actual face.

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