Introduction: Meditation Mandala

Hi! We are Eliz and Julia. We are both graduate students in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts. Being a student in NYC can sometimes be stressful. We needed to remind ourselves to breathe so we created a mediation mandala lamp that's powered by breath. The light changes colors as you inhale and exhale. Focusing on breathing (and not thinking about anything else) is a way to meditate. Even just a few minutes of focused breathing can have an amazing effect on your mood and can reduce anxiety.We want everyone to be able to experience a few minutes of daily zen so we're sharing our process with you. Enjoy. And remember -- just breathe.

Step 1: Materials

  1. Arduino uno
  2. wind sensor (we bought it from Modern Device)
  3. LED strip (like this one from Adafruit)
  4. wires
  5. soldering iron
  6. bending plywood
  7. wood glue
  8. laser cutter
  9. spray paint
  10. hot glue
  11. pipe cleaners
  12. translucent paper
  13. 5V plug

Step 2: Program LED Strip

First make sure the LED strip works. Wire the LED strip to a breadboard for prototyping. A good way to begin is by programming the LED strip to react to button presses (if you have a button around). This is a good way to get comfortable with controlling the color of the strip.

Step 3: Program & Calibrate Wind Sensor

Attach the wind sensor to a bread board and program the sensor to print its value. Use the serial monitor to check if it is printing the sensor value.

Experiment with blowing on the sensor and find the threshold that must be reached to get from inhale to exhale and exhale to inhale. Here's a good tutorial and sketch for getting started with the wind sensor.

Now use the wind sensor as an input and the LED strip as an output. Program the LED to change colors with inhales and exhales. The wind sensor is really sensitive so you'll have to observe the serial monitor as you inhale and exhale to figure out thresholds. Also, the threshold can change depending on location and weather so you might need to keep recalibrating. Here's the code we wrote.

Step 4: Make the Lamp

  1. Make or download an illustrator file of a mandala. Or use our file (attached here!)
  2. Set up the file for the laser cutter and print.
  3. Laser cut a circle of the same size for the back
  4. Cut strips of the bending ply to wrap around the edges

Step 5: Assemble the Lamp

  1. Cover the holes with translucent paper to diffuse the light
  2. Carefully use wood glue to attach the sides to the bottom of the circle. This is the trickiest part. We used a nail gun to attach anchor points around the bottom circle
  3. Spray paint the wood any colors you want
  4. Hot glue the LEDs around the side of the lamp. Drill a hold to stick the wires through the back

Step 6: Make a Mouth Piece

We used wire and pipe cleaners to fashion a quick and simple mouth piece. Bend one side of the wire to wrap around your ear and fasten the wind sensor to the other end of the wire. Cover it with pipe cleaners to make it more fuzzy and comfortable.

Step 7: Wire the Parts Together

Solder wires from the wind sensor and LED strip to the arduino board. Make sure to make the wires long enough to have distance between the mouth piece and mandala.

Step 8: Breathe!

We recommend meditating for at least five minutes every day. Enjoy some well-deserved headspace!
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