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For millennia, humans have focused their attention on the breath to develop mindfulness, but finding a scientific way to harness mindful breathing has proven elusive. Existing attempts to objectively measure and feedback on mindfulness have relied on specialist external hardware including electroencephalograms or respirometers that have been impractical for the majority of people learning to meditate. Consequently, training in the key skill of breath-awareness has lacked practical objective measures and guidance to enhance training. Here, we provide a brief technology report on an invention, The MindfulBreather® that addresses these issues. The technology is available to download embedded in a smartphone app that targets, measures and feedbacks on mindfulness of breathing in realtime to enhance training. The current paper outlines only the technological concept with future studies quantifying efficacy, validity and reliability to be reported elsewhere. The MindfulBreather works by generating Motion Guided Mindfulness through interacting gyroscopic and touchscreen sensors in a three phase process: Mindfulness Induction (Phase I) gives standardized instruction to users to place their smartphone on their abdomen, breathe mindfully and to tap only at the peak of their inhalation. The smartphone’s gyroscope detects periodic tilts during breathing to generate sinusoidal waveforms. Waveform-tap patterns are analyzed to determine whether the user is mindfully tapping only at the correct phase of the breathing cycle, indicating psychobiological synchronization. Mindfulness Maintenance (Phase II) provides reinforcing pleasant feedback sounds each time a breath is mindfully tapped at the right time, and the App records a mindful breath. Lastly, data-driven Insights are fed back to the user (Phase III), including the number of mindful breaths tapped and breathing rate reductions associated with parasympathetic engagement during meditation. The new MGM technology is then evaluated and contrasted with traditional mindfulness approaches and a novel Psychobiological Synchronization Model is proposed. In summary, unlike existing technology, the MindfulBreather requires no external hardware and repurposes regular smartphones to deliver app-embedded Motion-Guided Mindfulness. Technological applications include reducing mindwandering and down-regulation of the brain’s default mode through enhanced mindful awareness. By objectively harnessing breath awareness, The MindfulBreather aims to realize the ancient human endeavor of mindfulness for the 21st century.

Introduction Levels of stress in UK university students are high, with an increase in the proportion of students seeking help in recent years. Academic pressure is reported as a major trigger. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce stress and is popular among students, but its effectiveness in this context needs to be ascertained. In this pragmatic randomised controlled trial, we hypothesise that the provision of a preventative mindfulness intervention in universities could reduce students' psychological distress during the examination period (primary outcome), improve their resilience to stress up to at least 1 year later, reduce their use of mental health support services and improve academic performance.Methods and analysis At least 550 University of Cambridge students free from active crises or severe mental illness will be randomised to joining an 8-week mindfulness course or to mental health provision as usual (one-to-one allocation rate). Psychological distress will be measured using the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation Outcome Measure at baseline, postintervention, examination term and 1-year follow-up. Other outcomes are use of mental health services, inability to sit examinations or special circumstance requests, examination grades, well-being, altruism and coping measured with ecological momentary assessment. Outcome assessment and intention-to-treat primary analysis using linear mixed models adjusted for baseline scores will be blind to intervention allocation. We will also conduct per-protocol, subgroup and secondary outcome analyses. An Independent Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee will be set up. We will systematically monitor for, and react to, possible adverse events. An advisory reference group will comprise student representatives, members of the University Counselling Service and other student welfare staff. Ethics and dissemination Approval has been obtained from Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee (PRE.2015.060). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals. A lay summary will be disseminated to a wider audience including other universities.