Many apps designed for meditation have reached the market. But how might we gain a deeper understanding of how digital technologies can support meditation and generate benefits for practitioners?

In order to explore these new perspectives, the EPFL+ECAL Lab partnered with the Ming Shan Taoist Centre, opened in 2019 in Switzerland, and developed a new generation of design-driven mediation devices.

The project journey started in China, observing traditional practices in secular sacred places.

Then, combining design research with scientific literature, the knowledge of meditation experts and insights from medical doctors, the project led to the development of a series of immersive stations for meditation.

Installed at the Ming Shan Temple, the installations support guided meditation in three phases: entering relaxation, meditation and wake-up.

As well as giving feedback on individual meditation, the research also investigates how to induce a group response through sound. Qualitative and quantitative scientific evaluations with meditation novices and experts were led in collaboration with UX psychologists of the University of Fribourg.

Practitioners are immersed in a luminous ring whose light, colour, rhythm and intensity reflect their inner changes in real time and stimulates attention to their own body.

Colours produced by the light ring evolve over the meditation phases, and physiological information from sensors generates additional visual and acoustic feedback.

Evolving according to the state of the participants using biofeedback technique, this immersive environment aims to facilitate not only individual practice, but also to strengthen collective meditation.

After each meditation session, visual traces are left to perpetuate the flow and energy within the temple.

Ming Shan Digital Experience is an encounter between age-old knowledge and contemporary digital creation.

Not only has the project delivered a new generation of design-driven and fully operational installations but also a large set of scientific results opening up perspectives for broader applications.

The EPFL+ECAL Lab continues its investigation to understand how the learnings of this research project could impact daily life with the development of systems to reduce stress in workplaces, urban environments and homes.


MAS in Design Research for Digital Innovation
Margaux Charvolin

Art Direction & Project Management
Lara Défayes

Interaction Design
Margaux Charvolin in cooperation with Lara Défayes

Software Engineering
Delphine Ribes, Yves Kalberer & Luca Sassoli De Bianchi

Industrial Design
Matthieu Girel & Béatrice Durandard

Hardware & Firmware Engineering
Dr. Cédric Duchêne

Sound Design
Dr. Cédric Duchêne

UI/UX Psychology
Dr. Andreas Sonderegger

Nicolas Henchoz

Photography Credits
Daniela & Tonatiuh / EPFL+ECAL Lab


Ming Shan Taoist Center
Canton de Vaud
Université de Fribourg
CSEM (Signal Processing & Control Systems Group)