Draft for Final Project Proposal: Understanding our Breath in Self-Health
The Journey: After research, I decided to go with my original idea of monitoring breath in exercise. I came across a dissertation by Jason R. Karp; which explored how breath entrainment is connected to rhythm locomotion in long distance running. The paper is on how “legs and lungs” are connected. I also discovered several other videos, articles, and experiments pertaining to importance of monitoring breathe parameters in rest and exercise.
I came to this project idea because of my personal involvement with long distance running, swimming and biking and how it relates to breath. I realized that much of my efforts during my training for various marathons, Triathlons, and ultra distance events were tied to focusing on my breath. My breath was integral in controlling my heart rate, pace, and relaxation.
Approach: Runners train to control their breath to calm their sympathetic nervous system in strenuous exercise. Breath affects heart rate and stability and connects all of our major nervous systems. When you control breath rate and pattern it makes your resting heart rate lower at high activity and increases efficiency. The most common devices on the market today are ones that measure heart rate and caloric burn in training. There are little to no devices that focus on respiration except for devices used in hospitals. My goal is to build a device that measures breath rate and pattern.
Concept Sketch: My original concept came from the brainstorming how breath relates to our life, besides the obvious of how it keep us a alive. One thing humans all have in common is our autonomic nervous system which automatically controls us to breath in and out.
The Device: My device will be a chest strap, which can be embedded in any shirt (as stated in my homework from a couple of weeks ago). There will be two measurements: breath rate and breath pattern. The chest strap will have three components inside of it (as previously stated):
1. Flex sensor: It calculates the measures rise and fall of the chest.
2. Stethoscope sensor: It measures sound wave patterns of the breath output by converting the auditory wave input to an electrical output. It also measures the pulse pattern of the heart, giving the athlete a heart rate reading.
3. Bluetooth communication device: The strap automatically syncs with your computer to give you a data read out.
—The sensors allow us to monitor both the simplistic breath rate via raise and fall of chest (flex sensor) and the actual auditory pattern of the breath (stethoscope sensor). The runner will learn two things—(1) If their breath rate was consistent and stayed a good resting rate and (2) If their pattern of breath is healthy or obstructed. Data transfer is simple because the device has Bluetooth. –
I also hope this device can be extended to other realms in health such as stress management, lung disease prevention, and increased awareness. I decided to focus on the realm of exercise because it is the most accessible and measureable for me.
Context: The device is to be used during exercise. The target audience is athletes: runners, bikers, soccer players etc.
Top Level Goal: Improve Exercise efficiency by monitoring breath.
- Relieving stress
- Becoming more aware and focused
Behavior: -Track breath (rate and pattern) during exercise-
The behavior requirement is simple: track breath. I have not figured out how I will implement the BJ Fogg model in terms of the motivation and ability and the pathway of the behavior; that will be determined in my journey map next week.
Test and Execution: I will be measuring my breath rate and pattern over the next 5 weeks and collecting data on its change during exercise. I will keep a personal log of my current perceived state, breath rate reading, and breath pattern reading. I will be making a log for my group members, one of which is an athlete and the other who works out regularly. I will ask them to test their breath rate and pattern during exercise.
One of the difficulties in executing the project will be building the strap monitor. So, instead I will be just doing manual testing of my breath rate with a stopwatch. I haven’t figured out the best way to determine breath rate but I am still researching.