i-DAT launched – a central repository for its Operating Systems on the 27/11/2010. Nearly 10 years later it is archiving archiving these projects as they have evolved into the Quorum Programme. This website used to be and part of the OP-SY Programme.


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Bio-OS is in Beta development

i-DAT is developing a range of ‘Operating Systems’ to dynamically manifest ‘data’ as experience in order to enhance perspectives on a complex world. The Operating Systems project explores data as an abstract and invisible material that generates a dynamic mirror image of our biological, ecological and social activities.

Bio-OS allows intimate biological information to be collected from the users body. This is achieved through:

  • The use of biological databases that monitor dietary habits, through food consumption (calorie intake, etc) and exercise
  • Biological sensors which measure psycho/physical changes within the body (psychogalvonometer, blood pressure, electrocardiogram, respiration, EEG, etc)
  • Behavioural sensing, through audio visual monitoring (eye-tracking, speech patterns, motion tracking, etc)
  • Temporal behaviour, through reflexive pattern tracking (models of activity over a period of time)

Bio-OS offers subtle and complex combinations of biological (in its broadest sense) sensing technologies to build data models of a body over time. These data models are stored locally as bioids and collected within the users personal data-base building a biological footprint alongside their individual ecological footprint. The users Avatar can be used to reflect and distribute the biological model.




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[Biological operating system] Bio-OS harvests data from the body using specially developed biosensors, mobile phones, and real-time feeds to enable social gaming, performance, and medical collaborations.

I: Bio-OS integrates: mobile phones and apps to capture and broadcast real time data including – biological states such as temperature, respiration, heart rate and Galvanic skin response. Bio-OS integrates location and movement.
O: Bio-OS correlates relationships between these parameters overtime to enable: live data streams; visualisation and sonification of body states; the control of environmental factors to modify physical behaviour (such as light, sound, robotic walls and remotely controlled door locks); bio feedback to the user through software and wearable technologies.



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Software Readers:

Arch-OS software downloads have now been moved to the core Operating Systems repository at
The i-DAT GitHub account which can be accessed from here:

Public Live Feeds from Bio-OS wearable will be available here: > Currently  no Public Live Feeds.

Media: Collaborative DataLab Bio-OS 1.0 Documenta:

Sample Bio-OS Data:

Bio-OS Overview:

Bio-OS Technical:


Bio-OS DataLab Help Guide: 

Bio-OS: DIY Human Geography v1.0 publication.

Human Geography paper: Phillips, M. Human Geography. (2011). in: Ascott, R., Girao, M., ed. Presence in the Mindfield: Art, Identity and the Technology of Transformation. Lisbon, Portugal: Artshare-Universidade de Aveiro, pp. 226-230. ISBN 978-972-789-356-0



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Human Geography:

Collaborative Data Lab Pilot; ‘Bio-OS 1.0’

This project established a series of Collaborative Data Lab’s, Bio-OS 1.0, to develop and share ‘instruments’ or ‘provocative prototypes’ that lead to new practices, knowledge and resources for artists and transdisciplinary practitioners. The intention is to make the data generated by human and ecological activity tangible and readily available to the public, artists, engineers and scientists for potential social, economic and cultural benefit, exploring the transformative potential of digital technology to nurturing new cultural forms.

‘Bio-OS 1.0’ is a pilot for i-DAT’s Collaborative Data Lab initiative which aims to identify opportunities to support and develop innovative ideas, prototypes and dissemination of creative content with a focus on the harvesting, sharing and visualization of data and information.

The artists commissioned through the Bio-OS project were: Katy Connor, Hannah Wood and Slingshot.

Katy Connor is an artist working with digital visual technologies, audio and installation. She has an exploratory approach towards making work; using new media alongside more traditional materials to produce single screen videos, sculptural objects and multi-channel installations that comment on the ubiquitous technicization of contemporary experience.With a professional background in film and television production, Connor worked in the commercial sector for 6 years before developing her artistic practice. She has since screened and exhibited her work in galleries and festivals in the UK, Europe and Japan.

Hannah Wood is a multimedia writer and story teller, having operated as a freelance journalist with extensive experience on national and local newspapers. Her focus is on creative writing, with a proposal to create a commercially viable digital-born crime fiction. She is focusing on experimentation with narrative and form and an investigation into new business models for digital and transmedia publishing.

Slingshot: Simon Johnson and Simon Evans are a small company with a global reputation, led by Simon Evans and Simon Johnson. They combine inspired event management with a flair for software development and excellent game design. Slongshot runs igfest and promotes a monthly community development evening called iglab, where we play and test games from the national community of game designers. SlingShot make street and pervasive games; games played with real people on city streets and country lanes, with a dash of technology to help it go down smoothly. Output is diverse: covering game production for arts festivals, NGOs and private sector clients.  Slingshot is driven by a passionate belief that games are able to sustain metaphor and that they are a highly effective way to communicate complex ideas about contemporary life.

In addition the following arts organisations will be collaborating on the delivery of this project:

Artshare: The Artshare is a company dedicated to the research and application of new technologies as tools of artistic expression. Its field of action also involves the promotion and production of performance art events, installations, workshops, conferences, awareness campaigns and other educational interest. Artshare is constantly experimenting and prototyping.

Active IngredientActive Ingredient create innovative artworks that bring together location, social networking, bio and environmental sensing, data collection and play.  Their work has included installations, large scale projections, mobile phone games and performance. Their work is often interactive and generated in collaboration with the audience, other artists, scientists and technologists.

Active Ingredient are based in Nottingham and work closely with the Mixed Reality Lab, at the University of Nottingham. They have won the East Midlands New Technologies Initiative award for innovation and were shortlisted for Nottingham’s first Creative Business Awards. Their project Heartlands has won the Nokia Ubimedia Mindtrek Award in 2007 and the Galileo Satellite Navigation Competition in 2009.

Message –Messages a research group at the University of Plymouth. Messages are everywhere. It is evident, when we look and listen and touch and taste and smell, that many things contain messages. Messages exist because we must communicate to define our boundaries or be together. Messages are sent and received in an infinite number of ways, sometimes resulting in collaboration and sometimes in war. This group will explore the message.

E-Health and Health Informatics: In collaboration with Professor Ray Jones and his team with a focus on E-health especially the use of information by patients.

School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences: In collaboration with Dr Andrew Evenden Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Biomedical Sciences and members of his team.



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Bio-OS is a component of the i-DAT Operating Systems project which is managed by the Institute of Digital Art & Technology, and produced by members of the Centre for Media Art & Design Research, in collaboration with members of the School of Computing & Mathematics, Plymouth University.
Bio-OS is a component of the i-DAT Operating Systems project which is managed by the Institute of Digital Art & Technology, and produced by members of the Centre for Media Art & Design Research, in collaboration with members of the School of Computing & Mathematics, Plymouth University.

Bio-OS development team:

  • B Aga, Director of Operations, i-DAT
  • Stavros Didakis, Research Assistant, i-DAT
  • Chris Hunt, Research Assistant, i-DAT
  • Dr Simon Lock, Technical Producer, i-DAT
  • Dawn Melville, Director of Operations, i-DAT
  • Lee Nutbean: Research Assistant in i-DAT
  • Luke Christison, Research Assistant in Immersive Vision, i-DAT
  • Gianni Corino, Creative Producer, i-DAT
  • Mike Phillips, Director of Research, i-DAT and Operating Systems Project Manager.

Commissioned Artists:

  • Katy Connor
  • Hannah Wood
  • Slingshot: Simon Johnson and Simon Evans

Bio-OS project collaborators

The Arch-OS project has been developed through a series of collaborations with Architects, Engineers, Digital Media Designers and Artists, including:

  • IBM Smarter Planet
  • Artshare
  • E-Health and Health Informatics / Professor Ray Jones


Bio-OS has been developed in collaboration with:


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Human Geography v1.0

Bio-OS: DIY.

Bio-OS: DIY Human Geography v1.0 is the first Bio-OS publication.
You may have arrived at this page by way of the QR code in the physical publication.

First published for i-DAT in 2011.
Produced by i-DAT in collaboration with Message, E-Health and Health Informatics.
Published by Liquid Press (i-DAT).
Copyright: Bio-OS by i-DAT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 978-1-84102-298-7

Bio-OS: DIY, Human Geography v1.0 describes the emergence of ‘Bio-OS’ ( – prototype technologies (hardware and software) that make data generated by the human body, (heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature and galvanic skin response), tangible. By making this data readily available to the public, artists, engineers and scientists we can better explore its transformative potential for nurturing scientific research, new arts practice and new cultural forms.

This online publication is intended to offer a DIY insight into the development of the Bio-OS prototype.

Bio-OS Technology:

  • 0: Bio-OS (continue on this page).
  • 1: Bio-OS Data Input: sensor strap (publication QR code).
  • 2: Bio-OS Data Input: sensor strap (publication QR code).
  • 3: Bio-OS Data Input: smartphone & software (app) (publication QR code).
  • 4: Bio-OS Data Processing: data server (publication QR code).
  • 5: Bio-OS Data Output: triggers (publication QR code).
  • 6: Bio-OS User Guide (pdf download).

About Bio-OS:
The project is supported by Arts Council England and delivered by i-DAT working in partnership with E-Health and Health Informatics at Plymouth University. The project was developed through a series of collaborative ‘DataLabs’ and artist commissions to co-research and develop the Bio-OS prototypes through practices which embrace interactive art, ubiquitous technologies, data visualisation, transmedia story telling, social gaming and interaction design.

i-DAT’s collaborative DataLab is an initiative which aims to foster an open and collaborative environment which brings together artists, researchers and scientists to develop ‘provocative prototypes’ that lead to new practice, knowledge and resources for the arts and society as a whole. This initiative will enable artists to engage with these new digital opportunities and processes, to foster the creation of new work and engage with new audiences. These activities build dynamic links between academic research and artistic practice to foster transdisciplinary, and new cultural forms.

The artists commissioned to collaborate on the DataLab project were: Katy Connor, Hannah Wood and Slingshot.

The Body:
It is a temporal fragmented body that Bio-OS engages with. It sees the body both as a landscape and as an object in a landscape: Bodies in Environments / Bodies as Environments. Within and through these internal and external landscapes the instruments developed for the Bio-OS create a space for creative practice.

The body operates as a conduit for the exchange for ideas, knowledge and the transformation of physical objects. The body is also a node in a more problematic network; such as supply chains for food, traffic and amenities. Bio-OS engages with the body and the ‘things’ that cluster around it through a process of participatory design of ‘provocative prototypes’ to generate realtime data models of human activity. Consequently, Bio-OS enables the human body to become a networked and shared ‘thing’.

Through Bio-OS dynamic visual and sonic experiences, derived from human movement, are being tailored to enhance public understanding of the collective, mass biology. In this context Bio-OS and its distribution and engagement mechanisms provide an open tool for public engagement, with a domain that is primarily owned by medical, scientific fields.

Bio-OS provides accessible tools (through ‘hacks’, wearable devices, phone Apps and domestic and public health technologies and social media tools), that are being deployed in daily life for monitoring health and activity. Data collected from these tools feed dynamic databases that facilitate a shared understanding of the mass body index, through visualisations and sonifications.

As a biological instrument Bio-OS builds on the i-DAT’s ‘Operating Systems’ ( initiative. These are open instruments for gathering data from environments (buildings and landscapes) and organisms (crowds and bodies), and are focused on delivering dynamic and interactive outputs through a range of technologies (such as social networks, streaming media, mobile phone apps, Full Dome environments, etc). These ‘Operating Systems’ dynamically manifest ‘data’ as experience in order to enhance perspectives on a complex world, in order to design and share such ‘instruments’ or ‘provocative prototypes’ topically described as the ‘Internet of Things’.

The Operating Systems initiative explores data as an abstract and invisible material that generates a dynamic mirror image of our biological, ecological and social activities. The Operating Systems initiative proposes a range of tools and methods that have the potential to enhance our ability to perceive and orchestrate this mirror world.

Bio-OS was bought to you through a collaborative process involving:

based at the Plymouth University, bridges the gap between academic research and real world engagement to generate social, economic and cultural benefit.

E-Health and Health Informatics, Plymouth University:
Professor Ray Jones and Kurt Defreitas

Message Research Group:
MADr, Arts Faculty, Plymouth University:Tom Barwick and Dean Owens

Hannah Wood, Transmedia Writer:
“I’m interested in telling stories across multiple platforms that enable players to interact with narratives in compelling and unusual ways. This project offers an opportunity for players to use their own body as a storytelling platform to interact with a narrative that crosses technological and real world platforms. This asks us to think about the way stories impact on our bodies and how our bodies are written into narratives.”

Katy Connor, Installation Artist:
“I am profoundly interested in media technologies and data visualisation, but more significantly in how our bodies engage with this machinery. Often, this kind of interaction is in a medical context.”

Simon Evans, Slingshot, Street and pervasive games company:
“SlingShot use cities as platforms, encouraging players to interact with the urban space in novel ways. The project will allow us to extend this interaction, deepening the connection between people’s bodies and urban space. This will raise some interesting questions about how cities shape bodies and the rhythms of our everyday lives?”


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Human Geography 1

Bio-OS Data Input: sensor strap

The Bio-OS strap is a modification based on the Polar Wireless ECG System. In addition to its existing electrodes, on the reverse side of the strap, which detect heart rate, it has been customised with temperature and Galvanic Skin Response sensors and a stretch sensor, which measures breathing through the level of chest expansion. The transmitter on the strap sends the heart rate signal to the ‘Bio-OS Data Input’ sensor harvesting unit wirelessly, whilst the other sensors transmit through a cable to the unit.

1. Sensor Strap: The electrode areas on the reverse side of the strap detect heart rate. The transmitter sends the heart rate signal to the prototype unit. Sensor daughter board (temperature – Galvanic Skin Response). Stretch (Breathing) sensor.  2. Data / Power CablesData cable. Identified by BLUE dot.Power cable. Identified by RED dot.

3. Prototype unit Power On / Off switch.USB connector.Data / Power cable connectors.

4. USB LeadUSB to mini USB

5. 3G Android PhoneAndroid 1.5 or greater3G communicationGPS


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Human Geography 2

Bio-OS Data Input: sensor strap

The Bio-OS Data Input sensor harvesting unit integrates an IOIO board which enables the unit to send the biological data to an Android phone via a USB connection. When you connect the IOIO board to the phone via USB, it interprets the IOIO board as an external USB Device (computer). This allows for data transfer between the devices and enables the phone to act on external inputs, control external devices, or as in this case, transmit data to a remote server for processing.

The IOIO (pronounced “yo-yo”) is a board specially designed to work with your Android device (OS versions 1.5 and greater). The board provides extensive and robust connectivity to an Android device via a USB connection. The IOIO is fully controllable from within an Android application, using a simple and intuitive Java API.

The IOIO board contains a single MCU that acts as a USB host and interprets commands from an Android app. In addition, the IOIO can interact with peripheral devices in the same way as most MCUs. Digital Input/Output, PWM, Analog Input, I2C, SPI, and UART control can all be used with the IOIO. Code to control these interfaces is written in the same way as you write an Android app with the help of a simple to use app-level library.



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Human Geography 3

Bio-OS Data Input: smartphone & software (app)

The Bio-OS Data Input smartphone and mobile software application requires an Android phone 1.5 or greater. It runs the Bio-OS data app, which receives, displays and transmits the biological data from the sensor harvesting unit. It also attaches a GPS location and a date / time stamp.
A whole world of possibilities are opened up by coupling the computing power and connectivity of an Android device, with its built in sensors (display, camera, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, gyroscope, accelerometer etc), with the external IOIO board sensor harvesting unit.



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Human Geography 4

Bio-OS Data Processing: data server

The Bio-OS Server allows remotely measured bio signal data to be uploaded into a database. The server supports multiple sensing devices (data inputs) and so allows aggregation of bio data from many different sources (users, devices etc). It has a ‘Trigger Logic Editor’ which allows system administrators (including artist and scientific end-users) to edit the set of rules held in the trigger database. These triggers cause actions to automatically occur when changing bio data values meet particular predefined conditions. For example, an action might occur if a person’s heart rate is above 90 bpm and they are in a particular location.

The Server also has a ‘Data Injector’ which allows bio data readings to be manually inserted into the Data Storage Server through a simple web page. This might be for testing and experimentation purposes, for real time intervention during a live study/activity or simply for the manual storage of non-sensed bio values.

The Data Storage Server allows remotely measured bio signal data to be uploaded into the Subject Bio Database. The server supports multiple sensing devices and so allows aggregation of bio data from many different sources (users, devices etc). An open webservice mechanism has been used to create the Data Storage Server so that additional data sources can be easily integrated. In order to store a bio data value in the system, a request must be made to the server for the “store-data.php” page, passing as parameters:- The id of the subject (person) being sensed- The name of the bio signal being uploaded- The millisecond timestamp at which the bio signal reading was taken- The value of that bio signal

This should take the form of:  http://server/store-data.php?id=<subject>&<biosignal>@<timestamp>=<value>

For example, the following request stores the BPM of the subject “dave” at timestamp 1316510004461 as the value 70 bpm:• http://server/store-data.php?id=dave&BPM@1316510004461=70

In the interests of efficiency, multiple data values can uploaded to the server in a single request by chaining values together with &• http://server/store-data.php?id=<subject>&<biosignal>@<timestamp>=<value>&<biosignal>@<timestamp>=<value>…
For editing triggers:•
For storing data value:•
Log of changed data values:• example•

The server is now common for all users, but we will look into replicating the system for each users.

Trigger Logic Editor:

The Trigger Logic Editor allows system administrators (including artist and scientific end-users) to edit the set of rules held in the trigger database. These triggers cause actions to automatically occur when changing bio data values meet particular predefined conditions. For example, an action might occur if a person’s heart rate is above 90 bpm and they are in a particular location. Each trigger has:- Conditions: when to fire the trigger- Trigger Actions: what to do when the conditions are met- Detrigger Actions: what to do when the conditions are no longer being met.

Guide to writing triggers conditions
The conditions for the trigger are logical triples consisting of:    parameter comparator value
For example:  BPM > 70  GSR <= 15

The current list of available parameters are:- TMP: the subject’s temperature- BPM: the subject’s pulse rate- GSR: the subject’s galvanic skin response- lat: the subject’s current latitude- long: the subject’s current longitude- BR: the subject’s current breathing rate- id: the subject’s unique identifier

The id parameter allows us to create user specific triggers, so that actions can be triggered by the bio data parameters of a particular individual. The id parameter is of the form:  Usersphone
For example:  Hannahsphone  Simonsphone  etc

For further information see the Bio-OS Help Guide.



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Human Geography 5

Bio-OS Data Output: triggers

The Bio-OS Server can trigger a range of outputs or actions from the system, such as sending an email, a txt message, a facebook post or notification, or it can trigger actual physical installations such as: switch a light on or off, open or lock a door, set off an alarm and so on.