What the Tech? App of the Day: Portal
(ABC 6 News) – I’m not much of a meditation guy, but I hear from so many people who say a few minutes of quiet meditation makes them more productive and focused, not to mention less stressed.
At CES in Las Vegas, I found myself racing from one place to the next and getting very stressed, rushed, and pretty stressed about making my deadlines. For the first time in my life, I tried meditation to start the day. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect definition of meditation, but it was a few minutes of relaxation and breathing.
Needing some guidance, I turned to a smartphone app. The app I chose was “Portal”, an OS app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. “Portal” is a bit different from the hundreds of other meditation and productivity apps because it adds visuals to the sounds of rain, waves, frogs, and trickling streams. Video is in 4k, 6k, and even 8k and covers the screen. Sounds are in spatial audio.
Opening the Portal app, I chose a beach scene. It was an actual video shot on a real beach of a straw-roofed hut with waves hitting the shore in the background. The audio wasn’t overpowering or too loud. Since it’s in spatial audio I slipped on a pair of noise-canceling over-the-ear headphones and turned off the lights in the hotel room.
In a matter of a few minutes, I felt transported to the beach where there were no deadlines, crowded shuttles, or a video editing software program urging me to get to work. I couldn’t do more than 10 minutes (deadlines, remember?) but when I returned home I began using Portal every hour or so to give my mind a break. In my office, I have a Nanoleaf light panel near the desk and a Hue light strip behind the monitor.
The Portal app connects and syncs to the lights and matches the colors of the Portal scenes making my beach-break even more immersive. Portal is exclusive to Apple devices. A freemium version is $10 a month or $50 for the year.