For millennia, humans have focused their attention on the breath to develop mindfulness, but finding a scientific way to harness mindful breathing has proven elusive. Existing attempts to objectively measure and feedback on mindfulness have relied on specialist external hardware including electroencephalograms or respirometers that have been impractical for the majority of people learning to meditate. Consequently, training in the key skill of breath-awareness has lacked practical objective measures and guidance to enhance training. Here, we provide a brief technology report on an invention, The MindfulBreather® that addresses these issues. The technology is available to download embedded in a smartphone app that targets, measures and feedbacks on mindfulness of breathing in realtime to enhance training. The current article outlines only the technological concept with future studies quantifying efficacy, validity and reliability to be reported elsewhere. The MindfulBreather works by generating Motion Guided Mindfulness through interacting gyroscopic and touchscreen sensors in a three phase process: Mindfulness Induction (Phase I) gives standardized instruction to users to place their smartphone on their abdomen, breathe mindfully and to tap only at the peak of their inhalation. The smartphone’s gyroscope detects periodic tilts during breathing to generate sinusoidal waveforms. Waveform-tap patterns are analyzed to determine whether the user is mindfully tapping only at the correct phase of the breathing cycle, indicating psychobiological synchronization. Mindfulness Maintenance (Phase II) provides reinforcing pleasant feedback sounds each time a breath is mindfully tapped at the right time, and the App records a mindful breath. Lastly, data-driven Insights are fed back to the user (Phase III), including the number of mindful breaths tapped and breathing rate reductions associated with parasympathetic engagement during meditation. The new MGM technology is then evaluated and contrasted with traditional mindfulness approaches and a novel Psychobiological Synchronization Model is proposed. In summary, unlike existing technology, the MindfulBreather requires no external hardware and repurposes regular smartphones to deliver app-embedded Motion-Guided Mindfulness. Technological applications include reducing mindwandering and down-regulation of the brain’s default mode through enhanced mindful awareness. By objectively harnessing breath awareness, The MindfulBreather aims to realize the ancient human endeavor of mindfulness for the 21st century.
- mindfulness training
- default mode
- motion guided mindfulness
- psychobiological synchronization model
- mindfulness assessment