Sangha is a helmet constructed from a muscle-like recycled PET ‘Flex Felt’ that reacts to live data from the wearer’s brain via built-in sensors. If the user is stressed, the helmet will remain closed. Once the wearer becomes calm through Meditation, the helmet opens up to allow unobstructed vision. A tool to assist people understand Meditation, the helmet can improve the user’s interactions with the world around them and is used as part of a game for two players.
Even though we are surrounded by technology that aims to help us become more comfortable and ‘connected’, subjective well-being levels in the West have not significantly increased since the 1950s. Sangha is a game developed by the Metacognition Revolution, an initiative that creates objects and interactions to provide a tangible experience to centre around when discussing the ephemeral subject of Meditation. Our recent development of technologies that can translate live brain activity into quantifiable signals makes this possible. The Metacognition Revolution uses scientific evidence, rather then assumptions, to use technology in a way that will be genuinely beneficial to human mental well-being.
Not only does Meditation have increasingly well known benefits for the individual, but it is also a deeply social activity. Meditation is sometimes seen as a solitary, or even selfish pursuit, but community, or Sangha as it’s known in Buddhism, is at the heart of the Meditative practice.
However teaching Meditation, especially it’s wider, far reaching implications, can be notoriously difficult. Phrases like Enlightenment and Consciousness Expansion are perhaps impossible to fully explain with words alone. The Sangha helmet provides a tangible experience to learn about Meditation through, teaching the players that if they can gain better control of their mental state through Meditation they can clear their vision and improve their connection with other people and the world around them.
By 2030 depression may account for the largest global ‘disease burden’, ahead of common illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Technology addiction, decreased attention spans and increased stress and anxiety are just some of the issues resulting from our unchecked consumption of technology. Research has shown that those who practice meditation experience improved memory and emotional control, reduced anxiety and lower rates of depression. The Sangha helmet and game can help instil Meditative and Mindfulness skills in users of all ages. This is particularly advantageous for young people who will not only benefit from these skills throughout their education, but will also carry them throughout their lives. For adults, it can help improve work-life balance which will in turn lead to better performance and prevent burnout.
Meditation is a technology of true connectivity between humans and their environment. By learning to focus your attention you can spend more time in the moment and become less distracted by your own subjective perceptions. This means you can actually see where you are and who you are with more clearly.
Photo credit Liz Mcburney
Film shot by Jonathon Sendal
Film edit by Zuzana Dahamshy
Music by Noel Griffin