Sonic Cradle suspends the body is a completely dark chamber which encourages experiences comparable to mindfulness meditation. Users compose peaceful soundscapes in real-time using only their breathing.
Sonic Cradle is a relaxing human-computer interaction paradigm designed to foster meditative attentional patterns. The current prototype is a darkened chamber which suspends individuals in a comfortable hammock while they progressively control sound through their own respiration. 15 co-design sessions resulted in several tweaks and improvements aimed at balancing users’ perceived sense of control.
A mixed methods investigation of the iterated prototype with a purposive sample of 39 participants demonstrated how Sonic Cradle can pleasantly encourage mindful experiences by consistently inducing a calm mental clarity and loss of intention. Surprisingly, participants also reported perceptual illusions, feelings of floating, and emotional responses. This project breaks new ground toward fulfilling technology’s potential to experientially persuade people to adopt and psychologically benefit from contemplative practices like mindfulness meditation.
“…[the] idea that music might be a way into meditative states led to asking questions about whether melding music, breathing technique and computer technology could open the door to non-meditators.” CBC/Radio-Canada (French Version)
“Sonic Cradle… represents … a sort of tonic to the stress which many people feel the ubiquity of technology induces in society.” PSFK
“[Sonic Cradle] is a meditative biofeedback system… which essentially enhances the meditative experience to such a degree that beginners claim to be able to have out-of-body experiences.” Portfolio (Conde Nast)
“[Sonic Cradle] is a machine that uses breathing patterns to create immersive soundscapes — and then feed them straight back into your brain to create an textured, infinite loop of bliss.” Motherboard.TV (Vice) (2)
“An SFU grad student project that melds music, meditation and technology landed a rare spot as an exhibit at TEDActive 2012 in Palm Springs” SFU.ca
“In his master’s research project, Jay Vidyarthi asks, paradoxically, ‘Can technology be used to free us from the stress associated with information overload?’” SFU Graduate Studies Blog