Inner Garden: connecting inner states to a mixed reality sandbox

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 health and subjective well-being. Based on an iterative process with meditation teachers and practitioners, we designed a new tool to support mindfulness practices. This tool takes the shape of an augmented sandbox, designed to inspire the user’s self-motivation and curiosity. By shaping the sand, the user creates a living miniature world that is projected back onto the sand. The natural elements of the garden are connected to real-time physiological measurements, such as breathing, helping the user to stay focused on the body. Moreover, using a virtual reality headset, they can travel inside their garden for a dedicated meditation session. Preliminary results seem to indicate that the system is well suited for mindfulness and induces a calm and mindful state on the user.

This project is a new iteration of the “introspectibles” that were first investigated with Teegi and Tobe. The Inner Garden can be seen as a multi-modal biofeedback (visual, sounds, tactile). It helps users to be grounded to their body, in a playful and engaging way.

Inner Garden: an augmented sandbox and a multi-modal biofeedback

It was created by Joan Sol Roo and Renaud Gervais. I joined the adventure later on, helping with the design process – with some ideas about the use of virtual reality gathered during my stay in Montreal – and the experimental study. Now that we have validated the acceptability and the core principles of the Inner Garden, we are looking forward to test its effect on the long term.

Associated publications