Cmaier 09:56, 20 August 2009 (PDT)
added references Cmaier 10:37, 20 August 2009 (PDT)
added reference, minor formatting Cmaier 10:45, 20 August 2009 (PDT)
minor edits Cmaier 10:46, 20 August 2009 (PDT), Cmaier 11:14, 20 August 2009 (PDT), Cmaier 12:16, 20 August 2009 (PDT)
added Dreamcoat thumbnail pictures for reference Cmaier 12:24, 21 August 2009 (PDT)
Just some thoughts I had, but now it needs to be made Prior Art immediately (If you talk with the lanista of the Circus Maximus about a possible engagement, you need to be super careful that you, or your ideas, don't stay there inadvertently and get fed to the lions without you getting paid):
It would be ultra cool to wear a Technicolor Dreamcoat costume at Burning Man studded with a network of blinkenlights, where the blinking color patterns of your costume would give information about your heartbeat, blood chemistry, and more ...
On the Technicolor Dreamcoat, each blinkenlight is attached to its own microcontroller that, in turn, is also attached to an array of sensors (starting with an infrared LED and a sensor for heartbeat and pulse oximetry, but by no means ending there), and with the microcontrollers communicating with each other (and maybe wirelessly with other costumes or a Central Scrutinizer). A network of sensor studded processor nodes means that you have a lot of redundancy to separate the wheat (the signal[s] you're interested in) from the chaff (artefacts due to you moving around, external interference, or some wardrobe malfunction), and a lot of distributed processing power, so you don't really need quite as efficient algorithms as if you put all your processing power in one place - death of the big hunkin' DSP board by a thousand arduinos (yes, you'd have to come up with distributable algorithms, but I've heard rumors that all the web weenies who want to join the cloud computing bandwagon are already trying this, anyhow).
For starters (since I neither have the time nor the $$$ to afford really cool sensors and write complex programs), it would be nice to just have the microcontroller (or maybe CPLD or some such) nodes with the blinkenlights, talking to each other in such way that they play the Game of Life... that would fit nicely into this year's Burning Man theme of "Evolution". In fact, I already bought two white jumpsuits, put some LEDs on order, and did some inquiries how to get stuff from DigiKey real fast. The missing bits are conductive thread or equivalent, and a way to build a lot of PCBs and program chips on them fast.
Of course, for more than one reason, a patient gown would be more suitable for such a kind of Technicolor Dreamcoat - cum - biosensor array - cum - distributed processing - cum - wireless Burning Man costume: The patient gown leaves the butt exposed.