Section: New Results
Participants: Joan Sol Roo, Renaud Gervais, Jeremy Frey, Martin Hachet
Digital technology has completely integrated our daily lives; we use it for entertainment, productivity and our social lives. However, the potential of leveraging technology to improve its users' overall happiness and life satisfaction is still largely untapped. Mindfulness, the act of paying a deliberate and non-judgmental attention to the present moment, has been shown to have a positive impact on a person's subjective well-being. With this in mind we created Inner Garden, an ambient mixed reality installation, inspired by a zen garden, comprised of an augmented sandbox along with a virtual reality modality to support mindful experiences (Figure 4. By shaping the sand, the user creates a living miniature world that is projected back onto the sand. Moreover, using a VR headset, she can take a moment to herself by actually going inside her own garden to meditate. The natural elements of the garden are connected to real-time physiological measurements, such as breathing, helping staying focused on the body. We evaluated the system through a first user study and consulted meditation teachers, who envisioned the use of the garden in their teaching, especially for novice practitioners. The reception of the system seems to indicate that technology can, when designed carefully, both engage the users and foster well-being.
A paper presenting Inner Garden has been (conditionaly) accepted at ACM CHI 2017.