I wrapped up this semester in Rest of You with a project that I’m proud of, which is really a lovely feeling.
Computer Breath, better known now as iBreathe, is a simple sensor that reminds you to breathe by dimming your computer when your breathing shallows.
Linda Stone calls it “email apnea”, people attribute it to poor posture and anxiety, but regardless it’s clear that our health and well-being are affected by one of the tools we use the most – our computers.
Playing with a stretch sensor and breath-graph showed me some of the short term effects of the way we tend to breathe – every time my breath fell I felt a subtle, nagging anxiety – the kind I tend to attribute to personal insecurities. It was a revelation to me that that feeling could have more of a biological than psychological basis.
Researching breath was enlightening for me – I discovered that certain chronic illnesses have been correlated with lowered blood oxygen levels, and there are recommended exercises to counter cancer centered around breath.