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Something we don’t really talk about too often, when it comes to digital spaces, is how to make sure they’re healthy. We can go on about how to make virtual worlds fun, or entertaining, or economically viable. Discussions about what kind of systems need to be in place to keep things civil, and moderated, are an ongoing conversation.
But we don’t really consider the mental health side of it. Sure, there are warnings in lots of software. Take breaks, get some fresh air, stretch and hydrate. Where’s the digital world equivalent of a doctor’s office?
Obviously the kinds of issues that are present inside a metaverse are different from the real world. Physical health isn’t really the issue; take off the headset and deal with the problem. Mental health, though, should be way more of a focus.
You’re stepping into VR. Your form is a digital avatar. It’s ultimately inconsequential. Your mind, though? Your mind is the most important part of yourself in there. When things happen to your avatar it stops right there. It’s just an avatar. But an unbalanced mind transcends that physical/digital barrier.
Keeping it healthy should be way, way up the list of things to accomplish with the Metaverse.
“If all we build are virtual malls that you can take your digital twin to, to buy digital sneakers,” said Nanea Reeves, CEO of Tripp, speaking at GamesBeat Summit 2022. “We might as well throw the towel in and say that we suck.”
Tripp is working on it
Reeves is the founder of Tripp, a digital wellness platform with a focus on mobile and VR platforms. The software offers dozens of meditative experiences, with a regularly updated catalog. It lets users customize and design their own experiences. It’s got some light gameplay elements.
It utilizes actual research when creating those things and cites it publicly, instead of just winging it.
Reeves theorizes that attending wellness sessions in VR enables people to open themselves up more freely than in person. That the layer of abstraction from facing down an avatar as opposed to a person provides enough of a buffer to stop people from clamming up.
“[Research shows that] veterans will actually open up more to a virtual agent,” said Reeves. “Because they don’t feel the judgment of another human being.”
The Metaverse is still early days. People are still trying to define what it actually even is. It’s probably for the best that we’ve got people working on mental health and wellness. Everybody else seems to be rushing towards some kind of digital capitalist dystopia.
That’s not exactly healthy for anyone. Reeves announced that Tripp has teamed up with design studio Luminance to bring wellness-centered non-fungible tokens to the mindful metaverse. Their first effort is Chrysanthemum: The Heart-Centered Drop, which would leverage biofeedback to improve wellness with each session.
The drop will be minted on the HyperCube platform. The drop was designed by Daniel Friedman of Luminance and leverages science and research-backed biofeedback to support interactive, meditative experiences. The Luminance team worked with Tripp to incorporate Tripp’s sound and music library into procedurally generated sound loops that are unique with every session.
As part of the Chrysanthemum collection, Luminance and TRIPP’s NFT offering combines breathing patterns that are scientifically proven to facilitate deep states of relaxation and peace, with a revolutionary approach to binaural audio design that adjusts to the beat and frequencies of a user’s heart. Each session with the NFT is unique and leads to deeper states of peace drawing upon an infinite amount of psychedelic-inspired designs, colors, and patterns that can be changed with a click.