CHD–4 is an arrhythmic drum machine and a collaboration between Love Hultén and Teenage Engineering, for Hjärtebarnsfonden. The device is based on echocardiograms from four children with congenital heart disease, printed from real hospital check-ups.
Each ECG has been decoded into patterns based on its individual shape, pace, and BPM and then converted into a four-track rotary sequencer. The sequences – or ‘heartbeats’ – can be played separately or together, and each heartbeat can be adjusted offset in relation to the other(s) for further exploration.
CHD–4 was created to raise awareness about Congenital Heart Disease, which is the world’s most common birth defect among children.
When a child is born with congenital heart disease the rhythm of life is disrupted. Despite being the most common birth defect in the world, general awareness of CHD is low. This drum machine was created in a collaboration between audiovisual designer Love Hultén and teenage engineering to highlight the issue. The device, functioning as a modular synthesizer, produces rhythms made using the electrocardiograms of four children with different heart defects
The different ECGs have been decoded into a sequencer, making it possible to play on the heartbeat of each child. After being introduced to the world on WHOs International World Heart’s Day, September 29, the CHD–4 will continue on tour during the fall to visit different creators and artists.
CHD–4 was created with electrocardiograms from four children with congenital heart disease, printed from real hospital check-ups. Each ECG has been decoded into patterns based on its individual shape, pace, and BPM. These four heartbeat patterns were then transformed into a four-track circular sequencer. When in use, the small rhythm triggers on the sequencer, visible as small dots on each circle, are transformed into audio. Each sequence – or ‘heartbeat’ – can be played separately or together to produce a wide arrange of sounds.
Each heartbeat can also manually be offset in relation to the other(s) in order to explore different soundscapes and create unique rhythm patterns. The overall tempo can be adjusted via a knob on the front of the machine. For further manipulation, there is also a mute switch for each channel in the upper right corner.
Next to the mute switches is a small OLED screen displaying the audio and beat in real-time, much like an actual ECG machine.
The machine was auctioned out on Valentine’s Day 2023 to the highest bidder with all proceeds donated to the Swedish Heartchild Foundation.
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