Review Questions

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In preparation for next weeks formal crit:

  1. What are you working on?

I am working on how technology can be used to to improve and promote proper Mindful Meditation practise. Metacognition through Meditation is an effective tool for re-gaining control of our minds, and pro-actively creating better ‘shaped’ brains for our future.

By 2030 depression may account for the largest global ‘disease burden’, ahead of common illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease . Many designs focus of producing objects to increase our comfort, convenience and ‘connectivity’, yet studies have shown the Western subjective well-being levels are roughly the same as the were in the 1950s, despite all our advances in these areas.

In fact, not only does all our design not appear to be really making us happier, there is a growing body of research to suggest just the opposite. Technology Addiction, decreased attention spans and increased stress and anxiety are just some of the issues resulting from our unchecked consumption of technology.

Mindfulness Meditation offers a very real solution to these problems, with more evidence being found every year of its effectiveness for boosting mental wellbeing in numerous ways.

2.  Why is it interesting?

Over the last few decades our understanding of how the human brain works has left forward. Programmers and designers are using this information to sell products, I think it would be much better to use this information to create happier, more productive and compassionate individuals. I am working on two main projects to this aim:

Project 1 : Contraction – Improving one individuals Meditation practise for personal mental health benefits.

For this project I am working with Judson Brewer and his team of neuroscientists at University of Massachusetts Medical School, helping to re-design their EEG Mirror from their current laboratory version into a clinical iteration.

Project 2 : Expansion – How Meditation may offer a path to a positive species wide shift in perception

This an interactive game for two players. The game uses live data from the player’s brains, the data is extracted using the Muse Headband, an innovative piece of technology which uses EEG Sensors to track the brains activity. The game is designed to teach the simple, but profound, concept that the way we think directly affects our perception of reality, and that meditation helps us to see the world around us more clearly, a small step towards bringing about a Metacognition Revolution of thought.
We live in an exciting time, where we are seeing the two traditionally opposed concepts, of science and spiritually, find some common ground. Helping us to shift away from seeing ourselves as lonely and isolated individuals pitted against each other and our environment into a perspective where we perceive ourselves as unique and complex instances of energy which are part of a vast, and potentially incomprehensible to the individual, net of interconnectivity.

3.  Who is it for?

Project 1 : Contraction

Patients at mental health clinics who are using Mindfulness Meditation to overcome issues (like addiction) or improve a specific area (like memory). These patients may have very little knowledge of what Meditation is and benefit from a quanitfiable aspect, such as is given in the feedback, to understand and improve their practise.

Project 2 : Expansion

14-16 year olds who are taking part in the MYRIAD Project, Mindfulness training in adolescence across 76 UK Secondary Schools. The MYRIAD Project are looking to develop “high impact activities to enthuse and inspire” students to take up Meditation.

4.   Next steps…

Project 1 : Contraction

Re-design of EEG Headset:

  • ‘Earphone’ design
  • Sensor mesh research and fabrication
  • Faraday Pod design
  • Define procedure/ceremony
  • Feedback mechanism design

Project 2 : Expansion

  • Create working prototype of game ‘helmet’
  • Smooth data interaction between Muse Headband and game helmet
  • Make film to explain and promote game

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