Initial Thesis Research: Meditation, Breath, and Technology

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
Image from freedigitalphotos.net

My primary motivation for exploring meditation, breath, and technology is my interest in stress and anxiety. Stress is something everyone experiences in varying degrees throughout their lifetime. Personally, I have a difficult time dealing with stress and anxiety. In order to learn how to manage these issues, I came across some biofeedback meditation training sessions offered on my campus by Student Counseling Services. I also have been practicing yoga on and off for the past few years. I am committed to making both of these practices more regular in my life.

Benefits of Meditation

I came across an excellent TED talk about meditation:

Here are some of the notable benefits of meditation:

  • Improved attention span
  • Sharpened focus
  • Improved memory
  • Reduced stress, pain, depression, and anxiety

Current Relevant Technologies

Transforming Pain Research Group (SFU)

AIST: Paro Therapeutic Robot

  • Motivation: to allow the benefits of animal therapy for patients in environments where live animals present difficulties
    Video Demo

Yohanan and McLean: The Haptic Creature

  • Motivation: to investigate the display, recognition, and emotional influence of affective touch
    Video Demo

Initial Thesis Brainstorming

So here are my current ideas for my thesis topic!

Create a portable object to guide breath in meditation.

  • Size: currently playing with the idea of a small handheld object, a larger huggable object, or a pendant
  • Material: silicone material Insert that could be warmed up (reminiscent of therapeutic spa masks)
  • Incorporate use of biofeedback sensors

Until Next Time…

My main goals for the upcoming month:

  • Reading scientific papers about benefits of meditation
  • Researching more projects/studies dealing with breath, touch, and therapeutic technologies
  • Experimenting with Arduino and biofeedback sensors
  • Developing a more thorough thesis idea
 
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