Step 1: Make a sound.
I have been playing with prototyping using the new LilyPad MP3 trigger. For the final project, this will be mounted inside of the meditation poncho along with 3 light or touch sensors and 2 speakers.
The LilyPad MP3 is great because it uses a MicroSD to store up to 5 tracks which play based off of 5 different trigger points on the LilyPad. The board comes ready to hook up and play, but for the next prototype there will need to be an additional control board to tie in the sensors.
I recorded a track of the HAMSA breathing for meditation as a trial for this and loaded it to the card. Using headphones plugged into the port on the board, the user just needed to touch the alligator cord that is connected to Trigger 1 to the ground to initiate the sound.
I tested it on myself and on 5 other users. One user was a fellow meditator and the other 4 were new to the breathing.
User A was over the age of 80 and she found the sound to be soothing and the correct volume. She enjoyed the pace of the breathing once she began to breathe in rhythm. After several rounds of silently breathing in rhythm she felt comfortable enough to add in the audible sounds and felt even more calm after the initial self-consciousness faded away.
User B was between the ages of 40-45 and found that initially the volume was too loud, but once his ears adjusted he found the breathing calming. Just like User A, he began to breathe in rhythm with the recording and felt the calming sensation. He howerver, was in a public space and did not feel comfortable making the audible noises connected with the breathing.
User C was a fellow meditator between the ages of 30-35. He immediately was comfortable with the rhythm of the breathing and making the audible sounds considering he was familiar with this form of meditation. He felt that the volume level while wearing headphones was a bit too high, but believes that once it is translated to a speaker rather than an in-ear headphone having a strong volume will help to feel more like one is in a community class.
User D & E were both females between the ages of 25-30 that are in my Cohort. User D thought that the sound was fun and it brought her laughter. She was slightly self-conscious about making the audible breathing noises and chose to make them quietly, barely audible to anyone other than her. User E had the same opinion as User B about the noise level, but adjusted to it very quickly. She then got into the breathing rhythm and found the whole experience to be extremely calming and soothing. She said she would like to have this wearable when she is starting to feel stress and pressure about our course load.
slow down meditation
start prototyping with speakers vs. headphones
test with users in private rooms