Biofeedback and Binaural Beats Design Brief (in progress)

1. BACKGROUND

Stress is pervasive.  Stress is invisible.  Stress effects the body in measurable and negative ways.  Stress is easy to ignore until it has had its way with you.

I want to create a design fiction that reveals stress in a new concrete way.  I want to show stressed individuals stressing out in a way that effects their environment in an audible and visual way.  I want to show stressed out groups of people hanging around being all stressed creating an inhospitable atmosphere and they must calm themselves down collectively to return the room to a functional state.

I am not talking about “good stress”.  I am talking about the constant nagging stress caused by high expectations, frantic schedules, low self esteem, uncertain futures, financial troubles, crappy friends, frustration, feeling misunderstood, alienation, imagining you’ll never be enough, traffic jams and winter.

2. AUDIENCE

I assume the audience finds constant stress uncomfortable and pervasive in their lives.  The audience may see stress reduction as a “nice to have” if there is time, but finds that it doesn’t make it to the top of the day’s to do list.  Perhaps they also think stress reduction is something they’ll think about later, when they are less busy.

This audience will not want to hear that they need to make themselves less busy for optimal health.  They won’t take kindly to being told to stop achieving so much and to quit having such high expectations for themselves.

3. OBJECTIVES

I want to create a video sketch where sound plays a critical part.  I imagine introducing the idea that, in the future, we all wear circuits which measure our brainwaves, temperature, heart rate, respiration and perspiration rate. Together, these measurements indicate stress level. In the video sketch, I want to create a futuristic device which is worn on the body.  The device measure stress and amplify one’s brainwaves and turn it into sound.    When the user realizes her brain is creating the stressed sound, she can either use breathing and meditation to bring the sound back to something healthy, or she can have the device play a binaural beat at a frequency that will help her relax.

An example of binaural beats that foster relaxation:

An alternate scenario is one where collective stress is experienced in a place such as, oh I don’t know, a design grad studio.  When several people are stressed out and their brains are singing the stressed out song, perhaps a futuristic device on the wall of the room which measures the stress level can be adjusted to help everyone in the room chill out.

4. THE MESSAGE

making stress as audible as a smoke alarm

5. THE MEDIUM

I want to delve deeply into binaural beats and sounds that influence calming brainwaves.  Beyond sound being a major role, I am not sure if I will do with the scenario of the individual stress experience or that of the group.

6. ANYTHING ELSE

unsure as of yet.

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