Our presentation centered around an app that we created called “easy breather” which can be downloaded here …password: “emailsnapnea”
Original Processing sketch and source here.
I would like to clarify what may have been a misunderstanding during the Q&A segment… that while I do not feel that such techniques as Buteyko breathing are a “quick fix” in any kind of general lifestyle or therapeutic sense (I’m not quite sure what could be in non-pharmacological terms), yet with respect to specific technologies such as email and the stress caused by it, breathing techniques might be thought of as an improvised patch to a larger design and implementation problem. One, with breathing aside, that I felt was at the core of Linda Stone’s talk. Various breathing techniques play a role in a number of wonderful practices… Yoga, meditation, etc.. I hope that I am not idealistic in my belief that such things might be practiced for enjoyment alone, and not exclusively as forms of therapy. It could be argued that we live in a privileged culture, one that is inundated with branded conditions and therapies to match them. With that in mind perhaps a more active role as designers and technicians would be to address systems more holistically in the hope to reduce causes of stress within them.
Few technologies are invented with the intention of causing stress (excluding things like water-boarding perhaps), however the most popularized and useful technologies are often the root of much daily tension. It is my belief that our goal should be to actively design things that are inherently non-stressful, rather than focusing on passive techniques to combat stress. Stress will most likely never be alleviated entirely and probably shouldn’t be (It has been proven to be useful now and then).
In conclusion I would simply like to put forward that humans are incredibly adaptable to the pitfalls of new technologies… Having said that, I will hazard a prediction: that our children will not be effected by our current technologies in the ways that we are (hence the term “quick fix”), but that they will suffer the stresses of things yet to be invented. It is our responsibility to make that less so.