See the light with LAYER Design’s new meditation headset for Resonate
LAYER’s latest foray into tomorrow’s technology is this new headset, a collaboration with the American start-up Resonate
Designed to enhance and accelerate the gentle art of meditation for a faster moving age, Resonate’s LightVision headset incorporates a series of LEDs that pipe a sequence of patterns into your visual cortex, activating ‘the brain’s frequency-following response’. Apparently there’s a growing body of research that shows that a combination of vibration, sound, and light can subdue our racing thought patterns and make it easier to switch off and slow down. The headset is part of Resonate’s larger system of personal wellness that includes a chair and matching ottoman designed by Alexander Diaz Andersson, together with a pair of headphones and a six-month subscription of the company’s ‘proprietary content library.’ Plug the chair in, slip on the glasses and headphones, and treat yourself to a twenty-minute calming session.
All the components are designed to complement each other and be as ‘un-tech’ as possible. This alternative physical appearance is down to Benjamin Hubert and his team at LAYER, who have softened the appearance of the LightVision and made it more tactile. For a start, there’s the textile-wrapped casing, which is paired with a integrated adjustable strap so that it can follow the contours of the face. Keeping light out is extremely important, enabling the matrix LED display to pump in an array of dynamic lighting patterns in sync with the customised soundtrack. There are also lighting strips that cast a soft glow onto the face of the user, a way of signalling to any bystanders that you’re deeply immersed.
LAYER describes the headset as operating at ‘the cutting-edge science of neural entrainment,’ and whether or not you think more tech is the way to escape the deluge of tech-induced delirium, the device is more reminiscent of a soothing spa treatment than a piece of high technology. The LED lights take natural forms and movement and translates it into an abstract ‘ever-changing sequence of biomorphic patterns.’ Hence you get abstracted representations of things like shoals of fish or waving trees, with the idea being that these naturally occurring rippling patterns of light – combined with the subtle and synchronised vibrations coming through the chair and a ‘soundtrack of monaural and binaural beats and isochronic tones’ will send you into a trance in no time at all. Resonate’s studies suggest that a daily dose of their system helps lower stress and anxiety and can even treat depression just as effectively as meditation.
There’s a deliciously West Coast ambience to all this, a synthesis of Sixties spiritualism and 21st century technocracy. Regardless of the science, the idea of being able to escape to a liminal space of light, movement, and sound is undeniably attractive. ‘We live in an increasingly hectic world where we are constantly inundated with digital interactions, the media, and – more recently – the impact of a pandemic,’ says Hubert, ‘In this world, mindfulness and meditation is more relevant than ever before.’§