Skip to main content

MeditAid: a wearable adaptive neurofeedback-based system for training mindfulness state

Abstract

A recent interest in interaction design is towards the development of novel technologies emphasizing the value of mindfulness, monitoring, awareness, and self-regulation for both health and well-being. Whereas existing systems have focused mostly on relaxation and awareness of feelings, there has been little exploration on tools supporting the self-regulation of attention during mindfulness sitting meditation. This paper describes the design and initial evaluation of MeditAid, a wearable system integrating electroencephalography technology with an adaptive aural entrainment for real-time training of mindfulness state. The system identifies different meditative states and provides feedback to support users in deepening their meditation. We report on a study with 16 meditators about the perceived strengths and limitations of the MeditAid system. We demonstrate the benefits of binaural feedback in deepening meditative states, particularly for novice meditators.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Emotiv. (2014). Electrode Placement. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Community: http://www.emotiv.com/forum/forum14/topic25.

  2. Emotiv. (2014). Extracting RAW data and other applications. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Community: http://www.emotiv.com/forum/forum4/topic401/.

  3. Emotiv (2014) Sample rate. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Community: https://emotiv.com/store/compare/sample rate.

  4. Emotiv (2014). Comparison with other EEG units. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Community: http://www.emotiv.com/forum/forum4/topic127/.

  5. Emotiv. (2014). Developer Edition SDK. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Store: http://www.emotiv.com/store/sdk/bci/developer-edition-sdk/.

  6. Emotiv. (2014). Extracting RAW data and other applications. Retrieved 2014, from Emotiv Community: http://www.emotiv.com/forum/forum4/topic401/.

References

  1. Antle AN, Corness G, Droumeva M (2009) What the body knows: exploring the benefits of embodied metaphors in hybrid physical digital environments. Interact Comput 21(1):66–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Atwater FH (2001) Binaural beats and the regulation of arousal levels. In: Proceedings of the TANS 11 forum on new arts and science, 18 pp

  3. Baer RA (2003) Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 10(2):125–143

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Baer RA, Smith GT, Allen KB (2004) Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: the Kentucky inventory of mindfulness skills. Assessment 11:191–206

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baer RA, Smith GT, Hopkins J, Krietemeyer J, Toney L (2006) Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment 13:27–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Birbaumer N, Ruiz S, Sitaram R (2013) Learned regulation of brain metabolism. Trends Cogn Sci 17(6):295–302

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bishop SR, Lau M, Shapiro S, Carlson L, Anderson ND, Carmody J (2004) Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clin Psychol 11:230–241

    Google Scholar 

  8. Brown KW, Ryan RM (2003) The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological wellbeing. J Pers Soc Psychol 84:822–848

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Buchheld N, Grossman P, Walach H (2001) Measuring mindfulness in insight meditation (Vipassana) and meditation based psychotherapy: the development of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). J Medit Medit Res 1:11–34

    Google Scholar 

  10. Butnik SM (2005) Neurofeedback in adolescents and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. J Clin Psychol 61(5):621–625

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Cahn BR, Polich J (2006) Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychol Bull 132(2):180–211

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Campbell A, Choudhury T, Hu S, Lu H, Mukerjee MK, Rabbi M Raizada RDS (2010) NeuroPhone: brain-mobile phone interface using a wireless EEG headset. In: Proceedings of the second ACM SIGCOMM workshop on networking, systems, and applications on mobile handhelds (MobiHeld ‘10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 3–8

  13. Carmody J, Baer RA (2008) Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. J Behav Med 31(1):23–33

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chiesa A, Serretti A (2010) A systematic review of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness meditations. Psychol Med 40(8):1239–1252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Chiesa A (2013) The difficulty of defining mindfulness: current thought and critical issues. Mindfulness 4(3):255–268

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cho MK, Jang HS, Jeong SH, Jang IS, Choi BJ, Lee M (2008) Alpha neurofeedback improves the maintaining ability of alpha activity. NeuroReport 19(3):315–317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Collura T, Siever D (2009) Audio-visual entrainment in relation to mental health and EEG. In: Evans JR, Abarbanel A (eds) Quantitative EEG and neurofeedback, 2nd edn. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 155–183

    Google Scholar 

  18. Dooley C (2009) The impact of meditative practices on physiology and neurology: a review of the literature. Sci Discipulorium 4:35–59

    Google Scholar 

  19. Duvinage M, Castermans T, Petieau M, Hoellinger T, Cheron G, Dutoit T (2013) Performance of the Emotiv Epoc headset for P300-based applications. Biomed Eng Online 12(1):56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Evans S, Ferrando S, Findler M, Stowell C, Smart C, Haglin D (2008) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Anxiety Disord 22(4):716

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Fell J, Axmacher N, Haupt S (2010) From alpha to gamma: electrophysiological correlates of meditation-related states of consciousness. Med Hypotheses 75(2):218–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Feltham F, Loke L (2012) The Slow Floor: towards an awareness of bodily movement through interactive walking surfaces. Proc OZCHI 2012:12–16

    Google Scholar 

  23. Foster DS (1990) EEG and subjective correlates of alpha frequency binaural beats stimulation combined with alpha biofeedback. Doctoral dissertation, Memphis State University

  24. Fuad-Luke A (2006) Slow theory: a paradigm for living sustainably? [online]. http://fluido.wordpress.com/files/2006/07/slow-design.pdf. Accessed 10 Feb 2015

  25. Gao X, Cao H, Ming D, Qi H, Wang X, Wang X, Zhou P (2014) Analysis of EEG activity in response to binaural beats with different frequencies. Int J Psychophysiol 94(3):399–406

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Giannoulis S, Sas C (2013) VibeRate, an affective wearable tool for creative design. In: Proceedings of the IEEE affective computing and intelligent interaction (ACII), 2013 Humaine Association Conference. IEEE, pp 594–599

  27. Goodin P, Ciorciari J, Baker K, Carrey A, Harper M, Kaufman J (2012) A high density EEG investigation into steady state binaural beat stimulation. PLoS One 7(4):e34789

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Grosse-Hering B, Mason J, Aliakseyeu D, Bakker C, Desmet P (2013) Slow design for meaningful interactions. In: Proceedings of the conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 3431–3440

  29. Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H (2004) Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res 57(1):35–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Hayes AM, Feldman G (2004) Clarifying the construct of mindfulness in the context of emotion regulation and the process of change in therapy. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 11(3):255–262

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Hinterberger T (2011) The sensorium: a multimodal neurofeedback environment. In: Adv. in Hum.-Comp. Interaction, vol. 2011(1), p.1-10

  32. Huang TL, Charyton C (2008) A comprehensive review of the psychological effects of brainwave entrainment. Altern Ther Health Med 14(5):38–50

    Google Scholar 

  33. Ivanovski B, Malhi GS (2007) The psychological and neurophysiological concomitants of mindfulness forms of meditation. Acta Neuropsychiatr 19(2):76–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Kabat-Zinn J (1982) An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain based on the practice of mindfulness meditation. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 4:33–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kabat-Zinn J (1994) Wherever you go, there you are. Hyperion, New York

    Google Scholar 

  36. Kasamatsu A, Hirai T (1966) An electroencephalographic study on the Zen meditation (Zazen). Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 20(4):315–336

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Kennerly R (1996) An empirical investigation into the effect of beta frequency binaural beat audio signals on four measures of human memory. Hemi-Synch J 14(3):1–4

    Google Scholar 

  38. Kerrigan D, Johnson K, Stewart M, Magyari T, Hutton N, Ellen JM, Sibinga E (2011) Perceptions, experiences, and shifts in perspective occurring among urban youth participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Complement Ther Clin Pract 17(2):96–101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Klimesch W (1999) EEG alpha and theta oscillations reflect cognitive and memory performance: a review and analysis. Brain Res Rev 29(2–3):169–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Koole SL, McCullough ME, Kuhl J, Roelofsma PH (2010) Why religion’s burdens are light: from religiosity to implicit self-regulation. Pers Soc Psychol Rev 14(1):95–107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Kristeller JL (2007) Mindfulness meditation. In: Lehrer P, Wookfolk R, Simes WE (eds) Principles and practices of stress management. Guilford Press, New York, pp 393–427

    Google Scholar 

  42. Kumar SM, Feldman GC, Hayes SC (2008) Changes in mindfulness end emotion regulation in an exposure based cognitive therapy for depression. Cogn Ther Res 32:734–744

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Lakoff G, Johnson M (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  44. Lane JD, Kasian SJ, Owens JE, Marsh GR (1998) Binaural auditory beats affect vigilance performance and mood. Physiol Behav 63(2):249–252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Lau MA, Bishop SR, Segal ZV, Buis T, Anderson ND, Carlson L, Devins G (2006) The Toronto mindfulness scale: development and validation. J Clin Psychol 62(12):1445–1467

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Lavallee CF, Koren SA, Persinger MA (2011) A quantitative electroencephalographic study of meditation and binaural beat entrainment. J Altern Complement Med 17(4):351–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Li I, Dey AK, Forlizzi J (2011) Understanding my data, myself: supporting self-reflection with ubicomp technologies. In: Proceedings of ubiquitous computing. ACM, pp 405–414

  48. Linn S, Kelliher A (2010) Speak more slowly! Developing better community awareness through localized reflective media systems. In: Proceedings of IDSA 2010 national conference

  49. Lutz A, Greischar LL, Rawlings NB, Ricard M, Davidson RJ (2004) Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101(46):16369–16373

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Lutz A, Slagter HA, Dunne JD, Davidson RJ (2008) Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends Cogn Sci 12(4):163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Marlatt GA, Kristeller JL (1999) Mindfulness and meditation. In: Miller WR (ed) Integrating spirituality into treatment. APA, Washington, pp 67–84

    Google Scholar 

  52. McDuff D, Karlson A, Kapoor A, Roseway A, Czerwinski M (2012) AffectAura: an intelligent system for emotional memory. In: Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 849–858

  53. Nacke LE, Kalyn M, Lough C Mandryk RL (2011) Biofeedback game design: using direct and indirect physiological control to enhance game interaction. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI ‘11). ACM, pp 103–112

  54. Neuhoff JG, Wayand J, Kramer G (2002) Pitch and loudness interact in auditory displays: Can the data get lost in the map? J Exp Psychol Appl 8(1):17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Nijholt A, Tan D, Allison B, Milan J, Graimann B (2008) Brain-computer interfaces for HCI and games. In: Proceedings of CHI ‘08 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems (CHI EA ‘08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 3925–3928

  56. Norhazman H, Zaini NM, Taib MN, Omar HA, Jailani R, Lias S, Sani MM (2012) Behaviour of EEG alpha asymmetry when stress is induced and binaural beat is applied. In: Computer applications and industrial electronics, IEEE symposium. IEEE, pp 297–301

  57. O’Hara K, Sellen A, Harper R (2011) Embodiment in brain–computer interaction. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI ‘11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 353–362

  58. Oster G (1973) Auditory beats in the brain. Sci Am 229(4):94–102

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Perrott DR, Nelson MA (1969) Limits for the detection of binaural beats. J Accoust Soc Am 46:1477–1481

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Peterson J (1916) The nature and probable origin of binaural beats. Psychol Rev 23(5):333–351

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Pigott E, Alter G, Marikis D (2015) Frequency-based light & sound neurotherapy (LSN) research: a review of the research. Retrieved on March 2015 from https://www.psio.com/pdf/frequency-based-light-and-sound-neurotherapy.pdf

  62. Plasier SA, Bulut M, Aarts RM (2011) A study of monaural beat effect on brain activity using an electronic singing bowl. In: 10th Belgian day on biomedical engineering—joint meeting with IEEE EMBS Benelux Chapter

  63. Pratt CC (1930) The spatial character of high and low tones. J Exp Psychol 13:278–285

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Pratt H, Starr A, Michalewski HJ, Dimitrijevic A, Bleich N, Mittelman N (2010) A comparison of auditory evoked potentials to acoustic beats and to binaural beats. Hear Res 262:34–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Rabipour S, Raz A (2012) Training the brain: fact and fad in cognitive and behavioral remediation. Brain Cogn 79(2):159–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Reedijk SA, Bolders A, Hommel B (2013) The impact of binaural beats on creativity. Front Hum Neurosci 7:786. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00786

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Ritskes R, Ritskes-Hoitinga A, Stødkilde-Jørgensen A, Bærentsen KB, Hartmann T (2004) MRI scanning during Zen meditation: the picture of enlightenment? In: The relevance of the wisdom traditions in contemporary society: the challenge to psychology, pp 195-198

  68. Rosenberg L (1999) Breath by breath: the liberating practice of insight meditation. Shambhala, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  69. Sanches P, Höök K, Vaara E, Weymann C, Bylund M, Ferreira P Peria N, Sjölinder M (2010) Mind the body! Designing a mobile stress management application encouraging personal reflection. In: Proceedings of the designing interactive systems. ACM, pp 47–56

  70. Sas C (2007) Being present—being mindful. Conceptual delimitations and comparative analysis. In: Proceeding of Peach Summer School 2007. http://www.peachbit.org/sites/peachbit.org/files/Corina_Sas_27122007.pdf

  71. Sas C (2005) Sense of presence. In: Ghaoui C (ed) Encyclopedia of human computer interaction. IGI Global, pp 511–517

  72. Sas C, Dix A (2009) Designing for reflection on experience. In: CHI’09 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 4741–4744

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Sas C, Fratczak T, Rees M, Gellersen H, Kalnikaite V, Coman A, Höök K (2013). AffectCam: arousal-augmented sensecam for richer recall of episodic memories. In: CHI’13 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp. 1041–1046

  74. Schiphorst T (2011) Self-evidence: applying somatic connoisseurship to experience design. In Proceedings extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 145–160

  75. Shaw C, Gromala D, Song M (2010) The meditation chamber: towards self-modulation. In: Mura G (ed) Metaplasticity in virtual worlds: aesthetics and semantics concepts. IGI Publishing, pp 121–133

  76. Siever D (2007) Audio-visual entrainment: history, physiology, and clinical studies. In: Handbook of neurofeedback: dynamics and clinical applications, pp 155–183. The Haworth Medical Press, Binghamton

  77. Speca M, Carlson LE, Goodey E, Angen M (2000) A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: the effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosom Med 62(5):613–622

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Ståhl A, Höök K, Svensson M, Taylor AS, Combetto M (2009) Experiencing the affective diary. Pers Ubiquit Comput 13(5):365–378

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Stinson B, Arthur D (2013) A novel EEG for alpha brain state training, neurobiofeedback and behavior change. Complement Ther Clin Pract 114–118

  80. Stytsenko K, Jablonskis E, Prahm C (2011, August). Evaluation of consumer EEG device Emotiv EPOC. In: MEi: CogSci conference 2011, Ljubljana

  81. Teasdale JD, Segal ZV, Williams JMG, Ridgeway V, Soulsby J, Lau M (2000) Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol 6:615–623

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Thieme A, Wallace J, Johnson P, McCarthy J, Lindley S, Wright P, Olivier P, Meyer TD (2013) Design to promote mindfulness practice and sense of self for vulnerable women in secure hospital services. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI ‘13). ACM, pp 2647–2656

  83. Travis F (2001) Autonomic and EEG patterns distinguish transcending from other experiences during transcendental meditation practice. Int J Psychophysiol 42:1–9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Valentine ER, Sweet PL (1999) Meditation and attention: a comparison of the effects of concentrative and mindfulness meditation on sustained attention. Mental Health Relig Cult 2(1):59–70

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Vernon D (2009) Human potential: exploring techniques used to enhance human performance. Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  86. Vernon D, Peryer G, Louch J, Shaw M (2014) Tracking EEG changes in response to alpha and beta binaural beats. Int J Psychophysiol 93(1):134–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Vernon D (2005) Can neurofeedback training enhance performance? An evaluation of the evidence with implications for future research. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 30(4):347–364

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  88. Vidyarthi J, Riecke BE, Gromala D (2012) Sonic Cradle: designing for an immersive experience of meditation by connecting respiration to music. In: Proceedings of the designing interactive systems conference. ACM, pp 408–417

  89. Wang D, Xu M, Zhanq Y, Xiao J (2013, April) Preliminary study on haptic-stimulation based brainwave entrainment. In: World haptics conference, 2013, pp 565–570. IEEE

  90. Weiser M, Brown JS (1996) Designing calm technology. PowerGrid J 1(1):75–85

    Google Scholar 

  91. Yu MC, Wu H, Lee MS, Hung YP (2012) Multimedia assisted breathwalk-aware system. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 59(12):3276–3282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Zeidan F, Gordon NS, Merchant J, Goolkasian P (2010) The effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on experimentally induced pain. J Pain 11(3):199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Diamond BJ, David Z, Goolkasian P (2010) Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training. Conscious Cogn 19(2):597–605

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all who participated in the study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Corina Sas.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sas, C., Chopra, R. MeditAid: a wearable adaptive neurofeedback-based system for training mindfulness state. Pers Ubiquit Comput 19, 1169–1182 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-015-0870-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-015-0870-z

Keywords

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Mindfulness training
  • Wearable EEG
  • Neurofeedback
  • Aural entrainment