This month we profile Karen Cochrane. Karen is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. She is also a member of the Cyberpsychology Research Group. Karen’s research focuses on building interactive ambient nature soundscapes to teach beginners mindfulness meditation.
Please tell us a little about yourself
My name is Karen Cochrane. I am currently a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. I am also a member of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at the University of Sydney.
Coming from Canada, my background is not in healthcare but art and design. I specialise in acoustics and new media installation artwork. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in New Media from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and a Master of Science from Simon Fraser University from Vancouver, Canada.
I am passionate about translating my background in interactive art to develop meaningful experiences to help with people’s health and wellbeing.
What is your research on?
In my PhD research, I’m building interactive ambient nature soundscapes to teach beginners mindfulness meditation. By using commercial EEG headsets, I’m using the data collected from a participant’s brainwave to interact with ambient and sounds in various ways. My research designs various mindfulness exercises including sitting and walking meditation practices. Currently, I’m testing the system to see if users achieve the same benefits using the system as they would with traditional mindfulness practice.
Through the case studies that I am building, I am developing a framework so that other designers and artists can build technology to support mindfulness meditation.
What are the real world consequences of your research?
I believe that my designs can be commercialised into a real product. I was accepted into the University of Sydney Genesis Program developed from the University of Sydney Business School that gives me access to mentors and other opportunities to help me develop a successful start-up. I believe that my design can truly help more people get excited about mindfulness meditation and keep a consistent practice which has proven mental and physical health benefits.
What does digital health mean to you?
To me, digital health means that we have a future of endless possibilities. Digital health gives users choice and more control of their health and wellbeing. I truly believe that the more with collaborate with interdisciplinary researchers, the more exciting and engaging technology interventions we can develop to solve various issues currently ailing our health and wellbeing today.
A very big thank you to our March feature Karen for sharing her research story with us!
Connect with Karen – https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenannecochrane/