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Mindful Bloom

In a mixed reality-dominated future, how can workplace stress be effectively managed by combining brain-computer interfaces (BCI) with extended reality (XR)?

Details

Role: Interaction Designer, 3D Artist

Timeline: 3 weeks

Team: Eric Zhao, Sunniva Liu

Contributions

Unique Interactions. Directed the exploration of interactions to adapt physical finger painting into AR and prototyped these interactions to ensure user engagement and a sense of calm after completing them.

Visual Design. Crafted 3D Art assets and made Shaders that intensified the sense of tranquility for the guest during their meditation.

Achievements

Published Paper. Co-authored a paper about this project that was published on Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented at the Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS) 2023 conference

THE GOAL

Improve a user's self knowledge by teaching them to recognise stressful states and releasing that stress via a healthy outlet.

Background Information

Mental Health.There has been a 13% rise in mental health conditions in the last decade.

 

Depression and anxiety are the most common. 

Meditation Applications. Numerous meditation and mindfulness apps pose a challenge for users in finding the right one that suits their needs.

 

Additionally, many individuals lack the self-awareness and discipline to engage in calming exercises during high-pressure situations.

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Problem Statement

Meditation and mindfulness apps are reactive, requiring users to consciously engage when they recognize elevated anxiety or stress levels impacting their activities.

 

To shift this paradigm, I aimed to integrate a Muse 2 Brain Computer Interface detecting mental state changes and representing them through a Magic Leap AR headset, creating a proactive mindfulness intervention tool.

Magic Leap 1 AR Headset

Muse 2 BCI

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User Journey Comparison

Traditional Meditation/Mindfulness Applications

Users must have the self knowledge and discipline to stop and consciously open an app on their phone or partake in another activity to deal with high stress levels and achieve a sense of calm.

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Mindful Bloom Experience

Guided mindfulness practice that helps users by recognising brain state changes before they do and visualising those changes in AR for realtime feedback

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No?

Yes?

Challenges

Hardware Budget. The Magic Leap 1, being a past-generation headset, exhibited inconsistent visual fidelity and hand tracking compared to current hardware. The Muse 2, chosen due to budget constraints, was susceptible to noise in data collection.

Simple Interactions. Identifying interactions that would help guide as many users as possible to a more calm state would be challenging.

Limited Time. We had 3 weeks to develop this, so scope needed to be carefully managed.

Finger Painting Interaction

After some exploration, I decided on finger painting because it solved many of our challenges:

Self Expression. Art Therapy enhances mental well-being by bringing individuals into the present moment, tapping into their intuitive side to reduce stress and fostering unexpected joy and emotional relief.

Tactility. It is a sensory activity.

Simplicity. This interaction solved our scope issue without requiring significant processing power on the hardware.

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Visual Effects / 3D Modelling

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Paint Brush Shader

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Paint Pool Shader

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Peace Plant

Presentation

Delivery. Mindful Bloom was received positively by professors from the Design and Human-Computer Interaction departments at Carnegie Mellon University.

Feedback. Its focus on improving mental health in future speculative work environments was particularly praised.

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