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Digital intuition for mindfulness at WXRF19

Digital Intuition for Mindfulness at WXRF19

Discover how insights into one’s health can be obtained through digital intuition in this experiment conducted on willing participants during World XR Forum 2019 (WXRF19).

On one side there are the attendees: 10 participants will be selected to represent the audience through their biofeedback. On the other side there are the speakers: 10 speakers will be tracing their levels of coherence before and on stage.

The biofeedback tracking is done with a chest belt from Autonom Health worn by all 20 participants. It measures heart rate variability (HRV) and breathing, providing real-time data of their state. At the same time, our team is observing the changes in coherence of the two biological rhythms (heart and breath) during the event and the response of the audience to the speakers, and comparing their levels of coherence. The data is received and analyzed to draw insights for the effect of the speaker’s engagement to the audience, the impact of other activities to the subjective states of the attendees and to understand in depth what works best while organizing an event.

Once the experiment is finished, all participants will receive an in-depth explanation regarding their personal state throughout the day, and insights that can help them enhance their well-being.

Photos from the WXRF19 Digital Intuition experiment

What is Heart Rate Variability (HRV)?

HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. This variation is controlled by a primitive part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It works regardless of our desire and regulates, among other things, our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. The ANS is subdivided into two large components, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight-or-flight mechanism and the relaxation response.

The brain is constantly processing information in a region called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, through the ANS, sends signals to the rest of the body either to stimulate or to relax different functions. It responds not only to a poor night of sleep, or that sour interaction with your boss, but also to the exciting news that you got engaged, or to that deliciously healthy meal you had for lunch. Our body handles all kinds of stimuli and life goes on. However, if we have persistent instigators such as stress, poor sleep, unhealthy diet, dysfunctional relationships, isolation or solitude, and lack of exercise, this balance may be disrupted, and your fight-or-flight response can shift into overdrive.

If a person’s system is in more of a fight-or-flight mode, the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If one is in a more relaxed state, the variation between beats is high. In other words, the healthier the ANS the faster you are able to switch gears, showing more resilience and flexibility. Over the past few decades, research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening depression or anxiety. A low HRV is even associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease.

People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress. HRV may also provide personal feedback about your lifestyle and help motivate those who are considering taking steps toward a healthier life. It is fascinating to see how HRV changes as you incorporate more mindfulness, meditation, sleep, and especially physical activity into your life. For those who love data and numbers, this can be a nice way to track how your nervous system is reacting not only to the environment, but also to your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

What HRV can tell you about your health?

  • Good mental focus
  • Good sleep
  • Performance-oriented manager
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Exhausted
  • On the verge of burnout