Gut Feeling


Contemporary self-tracking technologies claim to be able to ascertain whether certain foods are more or less digestible based on residues from fermentation left in your breath after eating. Further, the connection between the gut and the brain means that digestion quality can affect how you feel during the day.

Based on ideas rooted in this emerging scientific domain, we developed a design concept for a future kind of breath-based self tracking technology that takes the gut-brain axis as a microbial other to be cultivated and reflected on over time. The companion devices Loupe and Lightbox illustrate one way to consider self tracking as a kind of cultivation. The loupe offers a means of inspecting mouth swab results grown over time in petri dishes, while the Lightbox gives the samples space to grow and live. The project offers a perspective on self-tracking that is not reductive to a number that corresponds to an abstract notion of “healthy” or “unhealthy,” and gives a user a vantage point to reflect on a part of their self in a new way: as an unfamiliar collaboration meant to be respected, nurtured, and grown alongside.

With ITU’s IxD Lab