Research

Designing Mind-full apps

May 15, 2019
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The Tangible Embodied Child-Computer Interaction Lab, directed by Professor Alissa Antle, conducts applied research addressing the modern needs of kids. Capitalising on the mind-body unity, the Lab design of tangible interfaces that aim to make a difference in children’s lives.

Children traumas are way too frequent, inflexing lifelong stress and debilitating consequences such as anxiety, and attention disorders. The Mind-Full project start as an explorative design of a brain-computer interface for tablet-based self-regulation games. The first neurofeedback game was developed to help children living in poverty in Pokhara (Nepal) learn to self-regulate anxiety and attention. With the Mind-Full Neurofeedback application the ancient practice of meditation is reified into simple neurofeedback games that help children to regain control over their deeper self. Results from a 3 months field trial showed that children were able to complete the Mind-Full intervention, transfer self-regulation skills into the classroom and onto the playground, and the effects were maintained for 2 months post-intervention.

The Mindfull App interface.

Based on these encouraging outcomes, the team built three new versions: the Mind-Full Wind app to be used by poor Nepalese kids, the Mind-Full Wild app tailored to Urban kids such as those found in Vancouver, and Mind-Full Sky applications targeting Aboriginal youth.

An example of regulatory game incentivising kids to relax by blowing softly on a flower windwheel. This relaxes the child which affect its neuro-feedback and in turn slows the wheel down. This neurofeedback loop is the basic principle behind the Mind-full app.

In a second 4 months-long field trial in an urban centre in Canada, working with a population of young children aged 6 to 8 with a history of trauma and/or anxiety and attentional challenges, significant evidence of improvement was recorded on objective measures of stress and attention levels.

The Mind-Full apps series is available for you to try on the Google Play store and a release on Apple Appstore is in preparation: http://www.mindfullapp.ca/

Follow the latest developments of the associated research project at http://antle.iat.sfu.ca/research/mindfull/