((works by )) T A K E H I T O / E T A N I








|Pimp My Heart|
HBBB (HeartBeat Bass Booster)

-a collaboration with David Tinapple-


“Pimp my Heart” is a performance/vehicle intervention that uses an invented HBBB (HeartBeat Bass Booster) system to amplify the heartbeat of a car driver in real time through an interface with a beefed up car audio aftermarket system. The intervention/invention achieves an ultimate unity between car and driver.


Pimp My Heart @ San Jose Grand Prix / Zero One / ISEA 2006


Cranked-up bass sounds leaking from cruising pimped cars are a familiar annoyance of the city streets in the world. What if the bass sounds are the drivers’ real-time heartbeat instead of beats of music?Does our relationship with the vehicle/driver and the pedestrians change?

The HBBB system amplifies the heartbeat of the driver in real-time by interfacing the car audio with a heartbeat sensor. By hacking on the technology/hobby that is often used as psychological armor, territory-marking tool, the project turn the body/vehicle relationship inside-out, addressing the vulnerability of human body and emotion and aims to understand our obsession on automobiles and it’s modification.

HBBB (HeartBest Bass Booster) System

The Pulse oximeter heart beat sensor is clipped to the ear lobe of the “driver’ and the heartbeat of the person is interfaced by Pic microcontroller and Max/MSP software on a PowerBook. At each heartbeat, a patch on Max/MSP triggers the audio file of a single heartbeat and outputs it to the car audio. The car audio amplifies the heartbeat sound with its high power amp and subwoofers. The transducers (bass shaker) installed under the driver’s seat shakes the seat to maximize the haptic sensation at each heartbeat. Under the car lights (LED) and inside car lights blinks simultaneously with the heartbeats as they receive signal from the PowerBook through interface/relay box. Computer LCD monitor on the car displays the visualization of the heartbeat sound in real-time.

The Max programming was written by David Tinapple

Technical consultant: Garth Zeglin


Heartbeat DJ-ing/party around the ride

HBBB system also has a “disco mode”. In this mode, BPM of music files being played changes in real-time according to the heart rate of the user. As the heartbeat of the user/dancer rises, the BPM of the music also increases. The user can either turn the heartbeat sound on/off along with the music.


Exhibition Proposal

A custom car with heavy-duty car audio system will be parked at the exhibition space. The visitors are invited to sit on the driver’s seat to experience the full effect of the HBBB.

Near the vehicle sits, a kiosk with DVD player and video monitor that plays the video documentation of the artist’s performance/public intervention in which the artist drives around city streets with HBBB system. The aesthetic of the vehicle and the interface, accessories are done in mixture of various car enthusiasts' cultures with some reference to body and a hint of spirituality. The heartbeat sensor clip on ear lobe is iced-out with fake diamonds. The heart shaped interface box is also made to resemble the large pendant with silver, gold, and diamonds.

Performance video:
A documentation of public intervention/performance as well as demo video that involves a few actors will be shot prier to the event. The artist will drive around the streets with HBBB vehicle and interact with passersby.

Public intervention:
This is a HBBB vehicle public intervention. Few guests who signed up will be taken to a night cruise on vehicles by the local car enthusiasts. The owners of the vehicles (up to around 5 vehicles) drive around the streets while they are connected to HBBB. The visitors on passenger seat are also encouraged to hook themselves up to HBBB during the tour.

Exhibition proposal for ISEA 2006 >>

Exhibitions performances

2006 (Aug 7-9): Exhibition and Performance ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge & the Thirteenth International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA2006), San Jose, CA

2006 (July 27-30): Exhibition San Jose Grand Prix, San Jose, CA

2006: Exhibition and Performance The Pittsburgh Banal, MFA thesis exhibition, Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA


Press Material

Image files:
HBBB system Illustration, with words, 300dpi (jpg 4.4MB)

HBBB system Illustration, no words, 300dpi (jpg 4.4MB)


2010: "Art+Science Now", Thames & Hudson, Stephen Wilson



HeartBeat Bling Bling: a littl' wheel a-turnin' in my heart [HBBB interface Pendant ] (2006) heartbeat sensor, silver-plated box, silver-plated chain, spinner, crystals, LEDs, electronics, RCA cable
detail: RCA and power jacks detail: switch
HBBB system diagram


HBBB 1st performance Quicktime

17.1MB (2min00sec)



HBBB Max demo Quicktime

11.4MB (1min25sec)



The vehicle  
On March 24th, 2006, Customized Chevrolet Cavalier 2003 was brought to the Miller gallery at Carnegie Mellon University for the first Pimp My Heart performance by the generosity of the owner, Joe Kimmerle and a sponsorship by Collins Family Motorsport. Visitors tried the HBBB pendant on to play their heartbeat through the subwoofers on the vehicle. They also experienced the "disco mode" and played a list of heart related songs to change the songs' BPM by their heart rate.
Gallery Installation at the Miller gallery,
Carnegie Mellon Univ. Pittsburgh, March 24-Apr 24, 2006

Heart Like a Wheel (2006) custom chrome wheel, motor, steel, rope light, electronics, inkjet print

The heart shaped light inside of the wheel blinks in sync with the visitor's heartbeat interfaced by HBBB system while the wheel slowly spins.

  HBBB system (2006) heartbeat sensor, electronics, Max programming, Mac mini, LCD monitor
Heart/Car in songs
(Heart and car has a deep-rooted relationship in American culture as a collective memory. Here are some examples.)
Song title Artist


If My Heart Was a Car Old 97's Alternative
Heartbeat Highway Clelia Adams Country
On the Road to My Heart (Catherine's Song) Freddy Powers Country
I Sold My Heart to the Junk Man Otis J. Rene, Jr. & Leon T. Rene Jazz
Hitchin' a Ride On His Heart Connie Howard Pop
Heart Sized Crush Devil Doll Jazz
Crush (A Heart Trip) Kendra R&B/Soul
Sacred Heart of the Highway Bluetip Alternative
Heart Like a Wheel* Black Sabbath Rock
Heart Like a Wheel* The Secret Service Band Country
Heart Like a Wheel* Tonya/Jaci Rae Country
Heart Like a Wheel* Kate & Anna McGarrigle Folk
Heart Like a Wheel* The Human League Dance
Little Wheel A-Turning in My Heart - Children's Music
The Little Wheel Is Rolling In My Heart Cotton Belt Quartet (1926-1927) Jubilee/Negro spiritual

* These are all different songs with different lyrics.