Flowborne - A Meditative Breathing Game

14.01.2021

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How it all started

It has been a long and exciting journey from when we first envisioned the idea behind Flowborne. Four years ago, we sat together in a tiny university office, brainstorming ideas for our PhD research, eager to come up with something innovative and yet practical and helpful. Equipped with a white-board and a marker, we started scribbling down our rough ideas and areas of interest. Admittedly, most of them were rather half-baked and lacked either practical feasibility or real innovation. But there was one vision that stuck out and drew our attention: Combining simple yet effective relaxation skills with immersive technology and great design to create a unique experience for everyone to understand and to benefit from. No matter how naive this vision might have been, it has stuck with us the entire time since and it was this vision that kept us going.

The breath - A powerful tool

Soon, this abstract vision got more and more tangible. Skill-wise, we focused on the one bodily function that is the easiest to control at will, yet one of the most powerful ones when it comes to immediate effects on both body and mind: the breath. Our very breath is the only physiological function that is both controlled unconsciously by our autonomic nervous system and consciously and easily at our own will. Proper diaphragmatic breathing can influence your autonomic nervous system and make you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Unfortunately, proper slow breathing has become an underdeveloped skill in our contemporary society. Breathing is the fundamental action in life that we engage in thousands and thousands of times a day, yet we seldom take notice of it. While taking control over a single breath is easy in theory, learning how to breathe properly over an extended period of time is not as straightforward. Many of us struggle with breathing exercises, either for lack of skill and knowledge or for lack of sustained attention. And to be clear, this was exactly the case with us ourselves in the beginning. When we started out to work on breathing techniques and exercises, we had absolutely no endurance.

The idea behind Flowborne

This is where the second part of our vision comes in. We wanted to design and develop a technology driven approach to simple breathing exercises that would (a) teach effective breathing rhythms, (b) make it easy to stick with the exercise and keep your focus, and (c) actually be enjoyable. The different app stores of this world already feature hundreds of breathing apps that claim to improve your breathing, and for some of them, that might be true. Depending on your skill level and motivation, those apps might just be exactly what you need. For us, we found that those apps focused almost entirely on (a), different breathing rhythms, but were not quite capable of providing (b), an engaging center of attention. So we spend many days and weeks trying to think of a better idea to combine breathing exercises, with the endless possibilities of digital technologies. And today, we are almost proud that this long journey finally culminated in what now makes up Flowborne.

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Flowborne offers you state-of-the-art evidence based breathing exercises and integrates them directly into engaging yet soothing sceneries. In Flowborne you float through different sceneries along a path that guides your breathing. This mechanic ensures that with every breath, you move forward just like every breath moves you forward in life. The continuous movement through fascinating landscapes within those breathing exercises helps you keep your focus on your breath at any time. The game-like nature of Flowborne is meant to engage more people in the art of breathing.

I could go on for many more pages but I highly doubt that those of you interested in Flowborne are here to keep on reading and reading. Because while you read this, you probably did not take notice of your breath. So why not grab your smartphone now, download the app for free and give Flowborne a try yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you may find that we have also accomplished (c) and made simple breathing exercises actually enjoyable.

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