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Using Drones for Mediation


Using Drones for Mediation


In a first at ACM CHI ’19 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Session the Interactivity Abstract Meditative movement was explored through a demonstration that studied various ways drones could facilitate meditative movement by drawing attention to the body.

A research team comprising Joseph La Delfa, Mehmet Aydin Baytas, Olivia Wichtowski, Rohit Ashok Khot and Florian Floyd Mueller designed a two-handed control map for the drone that engaged multiple parts of the body. The user will experience both leading and following the drone to explore the interplay between mapping, form, feedback and instruction. The drone has a light foam casing to give the impression that it is floating and an onboard light which gives feedback to the speed of the movement. The demonstration relates to an expansion of the attention regulation framework, which is used to inform the design of interactive meditative experiences and human-drone interactions.

Meditative movement (MM) can be described as regulating attention to the body whilst moving to reach a meditative, for example, Tai Chi that research suggests can have positive effects on balance, attention, and depression and perceived quality of life.

Researchers believe that human-drone interaction (HDI) designs have the potential to draw attention to the human body and that MM be incorporated into everyday life for sustained benefits. Researchers suggest the versatile and potentially pervasive nature of drones might help MM manifest in a range of ways from personal consumer products to public amenities, such as drone parks.
The demonstration is aimed at exploring the effect of the form and feedback of the drone and mapping and literal instruction (such as lead or follow the drone) in the broader context of MM.

The drone emits a soft glow to give feedback to movement

The drone emits a soft glow to give feedback to movement

Demonstration overview

The demonstration is to be set up in a 3 m × 3 m tent, which is adjustable to meet space requirements. Motion capture cameras track the movement and orientation of both palms to allow the participant to lead the drone or follow it. In lead mode, the drone flies at the intersection of two imaginary lines projected from the palms of the participant’s hands aimed at drawing the participant’s attention to their movement as they coordinate their arms. The participant is free to move the drone to any position within the tracked space. To encourage slow and gentle movements, the drone dims when it is moved aggressively. Leading the drone is designed to bring about a focused state of meditation as the drone is constantly engaged with the body, and requires the participant to pay attention to both the drone and their body.

In follow mode, the drone moves in a random path at a normal speed. When the participant faces their palms towards the drone, it slows down to a gentle pace and begins to glow. Feedback is given to the participant by changing the brightness of an onboard glow, as a function of how accurately oriented the participant’s palms are to the centre of the drone. Following the drone is designed to bring about a calm state of meditation as the graceful movements of the drone are followed.


Researchers say that experience is designed to help the user regulate their attention and reach a meditative state through movement by building on and investigating the use of the attention regulation framework to inform the design of interactive meditative experiences and HDI.

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Cite this article as: Vidi Nene, "Using Drones for Mediation," in, May 23, 2019,

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