Research about the phenomenon called screen apnea shows that 80% of people who are in focus behind a screen breathe shallowly to periods of holding their breath, which remains the body in a cyclical state of stress.
The project highlights the phenomenon screen apnea, the abusive relationship we can have with screens and opens the dialogue how this will likely get worse heading toward a digital future. Will I be choked, metaphorically? Translated into a film and interactive prototype.
The film visualizes the phenomenon in a speculative digital future scenario and explores interpersonal intimacy. By making comparisons with our human relationships and how this affect our breathing, like mirroring and synchronized breathing. Whether similar connections can be created between the laptop and its user.
The prototype “BREATHE ME” is a conversation piece that explores a new way of looking and interacting with the laptop. It allows you to become more aware of your breathing, through existing elements of the laptop. To reinforce focus, a step toward staying aware of your body in relation to your device and experience getting in sync.
THE FILM (3 min)
THE INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE
Images TBA - Can be seen at WDKA Graduation Show 5 - 8 July
OTHERS ABOUT THE PROJECT
“The laptop fan functions now as the effective first signal to check in with our body, because we do not recognize body signals of being overtired/overworked until it is too late, and thus the harm is already done.”
MOONBIRD, Hanne Lieten World’s first physical breathing coach that fits in your hand
“Without extra stress and pressure from yet another device, a gradual subtle alerting effect that causes you to respond sooner instead, that reinforces focus on work and is a step towards more awareness.”
Kasper van der Meulen Breathwork biohacker, Bestselling Author “MindLift - Mental fitness for the modern mind”, TEDx speaker
IN DEPTH ↓
The abusive relationship
we can have with screens and its effect on our
breathing, will this likely get worse heading toward
a digital future?
Research about the phenomenon called screen apnea shows that 80% of people who are in focus behind a screen breathe shallowly to periods of holding their breath, which remains the body in a cyclical state of stress. Not a bad thing, since stress and fight flight modus is essential for achieving optimal performance. But not if it’s triggered by everyday stresses.
Due to the fact that currently people are working more overtime, experience performance pressure due to staff cutbacks or sick leave, among others due to the current burnout wave. Meaning that here’s an increasing demand for focus with no room for stress. Whereas from a personal perspective, breathing is a powerful tool for learning to deal with these emotions. Even as businesses today are becoming more aware of incorporating mindfulness and breathwork, the employee still spend most of their time behind the laptop.
Thereby, heading toward a digital future, how realistic is it that experts recommend to step away from your screen?
Syncing up with the laptop by creating comparisons with our human relationships, we become more conscious of our body behind a screen, and aware of a future where we are being choked (metaphorically).
Human relationships affect our breathing, this project explores interpersonal intimacy, whether similar connections can be created between the laptop and its user. Mirroring the user’s breathing rhythm while being in focus, to unconsciously promote body awareness.
Thereby, it’s a form of synchronicity, just as we tend to synchronize our breathing when you lie in bed next to your partner. The principle of synchronizing your breathing makes you unconsciously continuing to breathe while working behind your screen. A step towards staying consciously embodied – the practice of being more aware of your body, in relation to our device. Opening the dialogue about techno-animism, how technology is imbued with human characteristics.
A conversation piece that discovers a new way of looking and interacting with the laptop through existing elements.
Through the unconscious behavior of the user being in focus behind a laptop, sensors measure the index fingers and have the laptop fan mirror screen apnea, and breathe together in sync.
A conversation piece that explores a new way of looking and interacting with the laptop. Through the user’s unconscious behavior while being in focus behind a laptop and making use of the laptop’s existing elements.
When being in deep focus, we unconsciously tend to rest our index fingers automatically on the F and the J keys – as we learned during the first lesson of typing class. In this installation, the fan goes on when you hold your fingers on the keys. The laptop fan mirror the rhythm of screen apnea. Without getting distracted by giving an option, the fan subtly transition in a breathing exercise, that reinforce focus. Without extra stress and pressure from yet another device or notification.
The principle of the project is inspired on excisting tools like the Moonbird, a physicial breathing coach that works through an optical sensor placed on the thumb, can calculate and determine your personal breathing rate. Speculating of a probable future design, the sensors in the keys could be replaced by personal high-sensitive pulse sensors and the right algorithm that can recognize how your body changes while screen apnea occurs. The laptop fan will most likely disappear from the device, which can be solved with audio with the same purposes. Just as now the audio of a gasoline engine is incorporated into electric cars.
• The title first came from the question by placing the insight into a future speculation. If we move to a digital future with only screens around us and the addiction to screen time only increases, am I actually (metaphorically) asking screens to choke me?
The phrase “Choke me” In some contexts, “choke me” may be used with consent in an intimate context. In other contexts, “choke me” may be used metaphorically to express a sense of being overwhelmed or suffocated by a situation or emotion, such as stress, anxiety, or frustration. For example, someone might say “I’m so stressed, it feels like the work is choking me” or “The fear of failure is choking me, I can’t think straight.”
• The desk that the interactive prototype is built in is my own desk that I worked on during my WDKA time and also this project. Symbolic of the project that started from my own interest and personal experience, but also symbolic of the end of my time as a student.
• The project grew out of the overarching theme of "energy." I thought of charging, recharging and letting it flow. Then I quickly came to what the power of breathing and breathwork means to me.
• At a young age, I suffered an injury to my back that results in frequent trouble with my breathing, which gets worse when I am stressed or sit still for long periods of time. Once I entered the office life the fascination with breathwork and mindfulness in the work environment arose, and thus the fascination around this phenomenon.
MOONBIRD, HANNE LIETEN
"Where the Moonbird is consciously grabbed as a tool to effectively practice breathwork at home, this project explores an environment where stuck emotions can arise unconsciously and focuses on the first step: Breath awareness. In addition to noticing that businesses are becoming more aware of incorporating mindfulness and breathing, as it promotes productivity and a better work environment, the employee still spends most of their time behind the laptop. It is effective to incorporate the tool in the laptop and act on our existing unconscious behavior, through the optical sensor in the F and J keys. An interesting and achievable translation of the same sensor Moonbird uses, and your index fingers automatically resting on these keys is hugely recognizable! This is contradictory to a laptop, where you can hear the fan when our laptop is working (too) hard. Using the latter as a trigger to make us aware of what I mentioned before, is an all-encompassing idea: awareness."
KASPER VAN DER MEULEN
"You don’t need another device and you don’t get notifications that can both cause you extra stress and pressure. This tool is integrated in the laptop and has a subtle alarming effect that is effective because it causes you to react sooner, than if there were only an external notification. The gradual mirroring of the breathing rhythm and a subtle transition to a breathing exercise makes sure that the user does not get the feeling that they are doing something wrong or that they are distracted from their work because they have to make a choice, but have the option to (automatically) breathe along. This interaction reinforces the focus on the work and functions purely as an alarm signal towards more awareness, without the user having to do anything else, which makes this a good idea as a conversation piece."