Simon Fraser University’s Jay Vidyarthi exhibits Sonic Cradle at TEDActive 2012

The Sonic Cradle, Simon Fraser University (SFU located in Vancouver, Canada) student Jay Vidyarthi’s project which combines music, meditation and modern technology, will be exhibited from Feb. 27 – March 1, 2012, at TEDActive 2012 in Palm Springs (US).

This is a Sonic Cradle video (available from the Sonic Cradle website) which gives viewers a sense of the project and includes some interviews with people who’ve been held in the cradle,

Sonic Cradle from Jay Vidyarthi on Vimeo.

The Feb. 10, 2012 news release from SFU provides more details,

 “The idea grew from my desire to explore how technology can be used to free us from the stress associated with information overload,” says Vidyarthi, who is pursuing a master’s degree in SFU Surrey’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology.

Vidyarthi and his supervisor Bernhard Riecke, who heads up SIAT’s new iSpace lab, have been invited to display Sonic Cradle as part of the prestigious TEDActive TechArt exhibition. During the week-long conference participants will be able to try 15-minute meditative sessions.

Vidyarthi, who is also working with co-supervisor Diane Gromala, director of SFU’s Transforming Pain research group, says the project was accepted despite being primarily a design research artifact rather than a piece of art.

Developed last spring, Sonic Cradle provides a digitized compendium of musical sound bites from 30 musicians from across North America, including recordings of falling rain, flute and guitar arrangements, meditative chimes and even spoken poetry.

Breathing stimulates the sound patterns, which are unique to each ‘cradle’ visit, says Vidyarthi, a musician who earlier studied psychophysics and neuroscience at McGill University.

The researchers plan further study on how the system physiologically affects people. The creation of a handheld mobile version of Sonic Cradle is also possible.

As the one who has spent the most time in Sonic Cradle, Vidyarthi says, “when you remove all the distractions, it can feel something like leaving the planet.”

You can find out more about the TEDActive 2012 programme here and there’s more about the Transforming Pain research group at SFU here.

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