Breathing and Heartbeat- Bacterial Cellulose

Leyi Guo


Graphic Design

Interactive Arts

Project Overview

In this project, I try to inflate a cellulose and use an arduino and a heart rate sensor to control the inflating action. By controlling different inflation and deflation time, the cellulose can simulate the sensation of breathing and heartbeat.


For the first experiment, I made two 3d printed frames, held the cellulose in place with the frames and clips, and then inflated the inside using the injection method, the cellulose was successfully inflated and held its form. I injected liquid dye in the same way, so the cellulose center was blue.

Since cellulose without anything added to it will become very brittle and fragile when it dries, I decided to try inflating cellulose soaked in cyclomethicone. I inflated a thin cellulose and a thick cellulose, both of which were soaked in cyclomethicone, but they both failed. During inflation, the thin cellulose could form a small localized bubble that popped when I tried to keep inflating it, while the thick cellulose would not inflate at all, it felt like something was stuck inside, and would keep deflating when I pulled the needle out.

After the failed experiment above, I tried stacking these two failed pieces of cellulose again, holding their edges in place and inflating them inside.

  1. In a fully moist state, it can be inflated and has a noticeable bulging effect.
  2. In the semi-wet and semi-dry state, the skin of the cellulose began to wrinkle, but it was still possible to inflate it, although the magnitude of the bulge was significantly reduced, and it deflated immediately after being inflated, and was unable to maintain the bulging form after inflated.
  3. When the cellulose was completely dry, there was no change when it was inflated, and it was found that the two pieces of cellulose were not bonded together.

So I tried another experiment to control the shape of cellulose using the shape of balloon. Using a very very thin piece of cellulose attached to the balloon and placing them on top of another thick piece of cellulose, holding the edges of both pieces of cellulose in place, and the inside of the balloon was full of water. When the thin cellulose dried I used a needle to release the water inside the balloon, the needle did not make the balloon pop, the water inside the balloon was successfully released. When I Inflated, I can feel a thin cellulose film on the balloon, there is a feeling that the balloon is bound by cellulose, creating a feeling of suffocation.