new Heart Sparks at

August 30, 2011mrericboyd No Comments »

That’s right, we’ve got a sister site now:! It’s supposed to be more market friendly, look all sharp and fancy, etc. This site,, will continue to be as it is – crazy hacker/maker website were we can let it all hang out, talk about the development and the code, etc. The new site launches with a new version of the Heart Spark, there are two minor changes: (1) it’s made with black solder mask for the PCB, improving the looks and (2) there are now three switches on the back, the left-most of which actually turns the device on and off. Radical I know! Taking the battery in-and-out was just much more annoying than I had anticipated, so I think this is a major improvement, even if it’s only a minor change in the schematics. I’ve also committed to launching a new product once every month for over the fall, although the September product might not quite make the end of the month. I basically want to diversify the line-up of ‘electronic jewelry’ products, so that there are a number of choices on the website, and I could theoretically have a trade-show booth and fill it up with cool stuff!

You Make My Heart Flutter

July 20, 2011mrericboyd No Comments »

We love it when customers hack the Heart Spark. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough! Check out this awesome hack by Rain: you make my heart flutter. She modded a Heart Spark to add a second board, on which an infrared range sensor is mounted. When something gets near the Heart Spark, three of the LEDs go red, showing your proximity. It’s a neat effect, and it makes the Heart Spark even more interactive than it was before! She also has some of the best photos of the Heart Spark that I’ve seen anywhere – certainly better than my amateur efforts! Thank you Rain, and keep up the good work!

Maker Faire!

May 18, 2011mrericboyd 2 Comments »

eTextile ShowcaseHeart Spark is going to be featured at Maker Faire! Maker Faire is this weekend, May 21 & 22. The Heart Spark will be in Lynne Bruning’s eTextile Showcase and at the eTextile Lounge. North Paw will also be at the faire, at the Noisebridge booth. You won’t be able to buy either of them at the faire, but as always you can purchase them online right here :-). I’m super excited for the Maker Faire, hope to see you all there! Our friend Meredith, the Lady Cartoonist, will also be there, showing off her starboards – you might remember her from the North Skirt. Finally, I’ll (Eric Boyd) be giving a talk on the future of sensors at the upcoming Quantified Self Conference, the week after Maker Faire. There are still a few tickets left.

North Paw V1.6 Launch

April 20, 2011mrericboyd No Comments »

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the new V1.6 North Paw kits! These kits are very similar to the V1.5 kits, except that the enclosure has been changed to a small black plastic box. This change was made mostly because it was very very time consuming to make the laser cut acrylic enclosures, both for us and for our customers; these new enclosures snap together in about 1/10 of a second! Minor improvements have been made in other places: the battery is now physically smaller and more rigid (increasing safety), the velcro dots are now much less likely to go missing during transit, and the confusing R1 on the rear of the PCB has been moved back to the front thanks to a superior, smaller, layout. Get more information on the North Paw page, or read the new instructions.

Hacked Heart Spark

April 15, 2011mrericboyd 1 Comment »

Alison of iHeartSwitch has hacked a Heart Spark to turn it into a beautiful crystal beaded jacket. Click through to see a video of the beads in action. I especially love the use of pink wire 🙂

Heart Spark Logging Beta

January 21, 2011mrericboyd No Comments »

Announcing at long-last the logging version of Heart Spark! It collects data on every beat of your heart, for up to 14 hours. Then you can go an plot it and make pretty charts & graphs. We have a very limited number of Heart Spark Logging beta units available. Beta means this is not the final product, changes are still taking place in the code, bugs are being fixed. But it’s not alpha: all major features are present and the software is totally usable. If you’ve been waiting for a truly open heart rate monitor, your wait is over.

North Paw in stock!

January 3, 2011askory No Comments »

We sure are excited to hear from a bunch of new people after this Wired article.

But, it did hit us a bit by surprise; we had yet to update our North Paw inventory numbers as we were right in the middle of getting more kits together. But fear not! More kits are ready now, so order yours here.

Heart Spark for sale!

December 15, 2010mrericboyd 1 Comment »

I’ve made the product page for Heart Spark, our new blinking pendant! I have only a small number available at the moment, but more are being assembled rapidly. There is a lot of labor per pendant – by the time you count all the soldering, programming, testing, epoxying and packaging, it’s over an hour per pendant! But I think the final result is super stunning, I’ve been getting a lot of comments when I wear mine around. And I’m a man! On a lady it should be spectacular! Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think. The logging version should follow in about a month, once I get the software side working a little bit better.

Interview with The Mark News: Heart Spark

December 12, 2010mrericboyd No Comments »

I was interviewed for The Mark News, a local (Toronto) outfit. They came by the and I talked about North Paw and the Heart Spark:

Heart Spark is almost ready to go on sale. I have received the first lot of boards from China, assembled and tested the first one (works!), so sometime this week you can expect to see a limited number for sale here. Currently I am assembling them myself, it takes about 30 minutes of delicate surface mount soldering per board, plus extra time for programming, testing and the all important attachment of the jewelry bits, of course :-).

HeartSpark pendant

November 9, 2010mrericboyd 1 Comment »

Heart Spark PendantI’ve been working on a new product for sensebridge tentatively called the HeartSpark. It’s a heart-shaped pendant that flashes LEDs in time with your heart beat. It pairs with a polar chest strap & transmitter to acquire the heart-beat info. The product version will include a Real-Time-Clock chip and an EEPROM, which will allow the user to log data all day log. I plan to make software in Processing which would allow easy retrieval and plotting / saving of this data. But I’m also super excited about the social possibilities of broadcasting your heart-beat – I had some very interesting conversations with people at the Ottawa Mini Makers Faire, including one memorable conversation with an older woman who said that she felt “slightly dirty even looking at it” because she felt that my heart-beat was really private information… Anyway, second round of prototypes should happen around the beginning of December, and I’m hoping to have product ready for the start of next year. If you’re interested or have feedback about the design, please send me an email!