As part of a Tangible User Interfaces course at the University of Calgary, Justin Quaintance and I created a physical meditation data visualization using the Raspberry Pi and pouring sand.


Keep track of your meditation habits over time with Meditation Glass and physicalize your inner peace. Press the button on the top of the enclosure to start your meditation session then, press it again when you’re done. At the end of each session, Meditation Glass will pour sand into a bottle of your choice. On the days that you miss meditation, only a small amount of sand is poured from the device. Each day the color of the sand switches between white and black, and the amount of sand poured matches the length of your meditation session, creating a pleasant personal data visualization pattern in the bottle. Each filled bottle is a private record of your progress that can be hidden in plain sight. Without a thorough explanation, others will have trouble decrypting the meaning of the bottle. If you like, you can also choose to destroy the data by pouring it into the base of Meditation Glass enclosure. The top of the enclosure also has a button to cancel if an interruption takes place in the middle of your session.


For demonstration purposes, a full week of data is visualized using a smaller container in a matter of minutes vs. days. In the real product, the slow data would build over time, subtly revealing trends to the user. The enclosure of the device was constructed out of picture frames. The glass part of the frames were glued together into a box-like structure with the wooden outer part of the frames placed at the bottom and top of the device for extra strength and support.

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