Mirror Of Breath

A meditation tool that helps users focus on their breathing pattern

Project Overview

Mirror Of Breath is a meditation aid that helps users focus at the present and breathe more consciously.

It's comprised of a belt that monitor users’ chest movement and a balloon that "mirrors" users’ breathing pattern. When a user breathes in, the balloon inhales. Vice versa.

Instead of instructing users how to breathe, it encourages them to focus on their breath and make changes by themselves.


Nov - Dec 2018


Individual Project


Physical Computing


Programmable Air
Sewing Machine


Since I started diving in the summer of 2017, I have fell in love with the under water experience: I had to constantly control my breath — I need to breathe much deeper and longer to keep my buoyancy in water and also to save air. As a result, I felt so calm and relaxed, counting my breath, watching bubbles coming out.

After I came back to the ground, I realized that I have been breathing so shallow and fast every day, and almost ignore this vital life instinct and take it for granted. People in our era, especially those in the cities, live in such a hectic lifestyle that many of us are experiencing more and more anxiety, stress and even insomnia. We are so busy in interacting with different external things that we forget to interact with ourselves.

So I wanted to design a tool to help people interact with themselves through breathing — to slow down, to be more self-aware, to focus on the present and let the tension flows. Eventually, it might help users (including me!) build up a good breathing habit.


After researching on current meditation tools that focus on breathing exercise, I found that most of them give some sorts of instruction for users to follow. As I tried them out, I found myself became more anxious when trying my best to follow the instruction.

I asked 7 participants to tried these apps' breathing exercise, and most of them commented the same. They felt forced and anxious when following the instructions. In addition, as everyone had different lung capacity and breathing pattern, it was difficult to find an exercise that is tailor-made for each person.


How might we help people with stress meditate through breathing in a more intuitive and less forceful way?


After ideating a lot on paper, I chose the concept of breath mirror. It is a device that detect users' natural breathing pattern and visualize it simultaneously. Users' attention will be intuitively drawn to the "breathing" mirror and be meditated.

To monitor users' breathing pattern, I made a waistband with stretch sensor that detects users' lung movement.

To mirror the breathing pattern, I used Programmable Air to pump into or suck air from a balloon based on the data from stretch sensors.

1st prototype

The 1st prototype is aimed at testing the proof of concept and the interaction.

2nd prototype

Then I tested different materials, the design of the waistband, and the sensors.

While users like the soft fabric, the sensor was not sending valid data.

There were few problems with this prototype:
1. the wiring was too rigid that constrain the elasticity of the rubber stretch sensor.
2. it was difficult to calibrate the stretch sensor as it was sew inside. I decided to improve the waistband design and added a zipper.

3rd prototype

Then I changed the fabric, redesign the waistband with a zipper, changed wires and redesigned the wiring method.

Then I changed the fabric, redesign the waistband with a zipper, changed wires and redesigned the wiring method.

I also tried different connection method to cater to the wearable electronic design. I sew the wires inside the fabric, so users will not touch anything else than the fabric. I chose the clothing button as the switch for this device. When users button the belt with the fabric-covered wire, the device will be connected.

I then conducted rounds of technical testing on the sensor and calibration. Finally, I was able to map the volume of balloon with my lung movement.


The device was exhibited in ITP 2019 Winter Show.