Asthma, diabetes, hypertension, or major depression are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and impose a major burden on global health. Stress is linked to both the causes and consequences of NCDs and it has been shown that biofeedback-based breathing trainings (BBTs) are effective in coping with stress. Here, diaphragmatic breathing, i.e. deep abdominal breathing, belongs to the most distinguished breathing techniques. However, high costs and low scalability of state-of-the-art BBTs that require expensive medical hardware and health professionals, represent a significant barrier for their widespread adoption. Health information technology has the potential to address this important practical problem. Particularly, it has been shown that a smartphone microphone has the ability to record audio signals from exhalation in a quality that can be compared to professional respiratory devices. As this finding is highly relevant for low-cost and scalable smartphone-based BBTs (SBBT) and – to the best of our knowledge - because it has not been investigated so far, we aim to design and evaluate the efficacy of such a SBBT. As a very first step, we apply design-science research and investigate in this research-in-progress the relationship of diaphragmatic breathing and its acoustic components by just using a smartphone’s microphone. For that purpose, we review related work and develop our hypotheses based on justificatory knowledge from physiology, physics and acoustics. We finally describe a laboratory study that is used to test our hypotheses. We conclude with a brief outlook on future work.
Shih, Chen-Hsuan Iris; Kowatsch, Tobias; Tinschert, Peter; Barata, Filipe; and Nißen, Marcia Katharina, "Towards the Design of a Smartphone-Based Biofeedback Breathing Training: Indentifying Diaphragmatic Breathing Patterns From a Smartphones' Microphone" (2016). MCIS 2016 Proceedings. 47.