The Norman Transcript

University

December 11, 2013

Sparq Labyrinth meditation tool helps computer users relax

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Using an iPad to select the desired labyrinth, users can walk, dance or perform yoga through the labyrinth image projected in the installation space while meditating. Cook, who built the meditation device, said he faced several challenges throughout its development. Cook had to make the device big enough without being too big as well as flexible, safe and secure.

“It was like constructing a giant Lego set with no instructions,” Cook said.

He used everything from theater lights to wireless networking to electronics and tools to come up with the finished product. Now Sparq is a minimally invasive device that does not require permanent installation so it can adapt to users’ needs.

Thus far, surveys that Cook has collected from OU students have shown a positive response to the mindfulness tool. As finals overwhelm university students, comments such as “this was eye opening,” “suprisingly peaceful,” “it revived me for more work that needs to be done” and “worthwhile, should be permanent” continue to fill questionnaire sheets.

One user, who has ADHD, said, “The labyrinth made a tremendous difference in reducing the level of anxiety I usually feel around finals. After taking a short break, walking the labyrinth, I literally felt like a new person. I felt overall tranquility, which is almost impossible for me to do, especially in that amount of time. Thank you!”

Sparq is available for students and the public to try in Bizzell Memorial Library until Dec. 20. In January, Cook will take the meditation device to the OU-Tulsa campus for graduate students to test. Later in the spring, Sparq will be taken to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where real-time data such as blood pressure rates while utilizing Sparq will be recorded.

Cook said he believes the meditation tool would be extremely useful in the corporate world and, in the future, hopes to take Sparq to technology-related companies such as Google.

For more information, visit sparqlabyrinth.com.

Katherine Parker

366-3541

kparker@normantranscript.com

 

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