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Smartphone-based meditation isn’t a new market. Headspace constantly reminds me at 9:30 each morning to work on my mindfulness. Sway is a new app which turns the idea on its head, using your phone’s sensors to track movements in addition to the background noises and calm landscapes you’ll be staring at to ease stress.
UsTwo, the company behind Monument Valley, teamed up with Pauseable, a Danish mental wellness company to create the app. While not a game like Monument Valley, Sway uses gamification to get users engaged by leveling you up.
Hit three minutes on your first try, and you level up. The goal is to get you to twenty minutes of meditation. As you advance in levels, Sway alters the landscapes and background noise to keep you engaged and hopefully a lot calmer. Another avenue is turning off cable news. Watch HGTV. Who gets pissed off watching houses be remodeled?
One could make the argument it’s our smartphones stressing us out, but you can’t deny the slick UX of Sway. And the idea of waving your smartphone around is different. It beats tossing it against the wall. AppleCare only offers so many screen replacements.
Sway directs you to move the phone around and gives you feedback if you’re in the zone or a bit too manic in your movements. It happens.
You will need headphones or earbuds to get the full experience. Instead of baking in microtransactions, the app is available for $2.99 on Apple’s App Store. I
The app isn’t UsTwo’s first foray into relaxation apps. Pause was another paid app launched a few years ago. Sway has a bit more science involved. It was tested with EEG brain scanners in both noisy and quiet environments. The data was poured over by Dr. Chi Thanh Vi, a researcher at the University of Sussex.
Are we looking at a resurgence of relaxation and meditation apps? Judging by cable news, we could stand it. Apple Watch’s Breathe feature for taking a second and well, breathing. Heart rate monitoring apps and wearables. The list is endless. If you need a bit of relaxation in your life and still keep your smartphone addiction (baby steps folks), Sway is on the App Store now.