How might sound and light be used to encourage us to go to sleep, not just to wake up?

Final Concept

This 2 week project was a collaboration between the Interaction Design and Advanced Product Design Masters students. The aim of this 2 week workshop was to explore form through sound and light.

Our Group decided to explore the ways sound might be used to encourage users to relax their breathing. This was coupled with a Light Alarm that encourages users to wake up naturally without the shock that can be associated with regular alarm clocks.

The device is also paired with a small sensor hub that allows the pillow to monitor the users heart rate, breathing and movement to analyse the quality of their sleep.

This metric can then be used to provide assistance when waking through dynamically changing alarm sounds. If the users sleep was of low quality, the alarm will adjust for this and make sure the user gets up on time.

Project Information

Client: Internal
Project Time: 2 Weeks
Team Members: Bogdan Ionita, Thibault Moussanet, JiaoJiao Xu
Personal Contribution: Research, Ideation, Concept Development, Physical Prototyping, Arduino, Processing




The Meridiem System

The System comprises three components, A pillow fitted with led lights, a “heart”, which is a puck that measures data and speaks to the pillow, and an application, that allows for users to track their sleep habits. We decided not to use an iPhone for the data measurement as research suggests that cellular phone signals may have a negative impact on the bodies ability to sleep.

The system can track respiratory behaviour, movement and sound, which would be used to calculate the users sleep state. This data would be used to create a metric for how well the person has slept, and create a dynamic soundscape that would wake them up in an appropriate way.

The idea is that the product will in a way train you to sleep better, by gently nudging the bodies circadian rhythms over time in order to try and maintain a healthy routine


Quantified Sleep

The concept allows users to easily track their sleep habits accurately throughout the night by using a number of different measurements. This data can then accessed and analysed on the accompanying Meridiem Website.

The site gives users access to their data an to powerful methods of tracking and analysis. They can adjust the methods of waking, create routines or set goals for improvement.

The site can also suggest ways in which they can improve their sleep habits.


The project began with quick initial brainstorming. This process was short and sweet due to the short timeframe of the project. Our group settled on the concept fairly quickly and began to synthesise the main ideas to develop the core of the concept.

From here we began exploring form, light and sound in parallel. This was done iteratively with meetings between the groups happening regularly and constructively. The group worked really well though this stage and the concept formed very rapidly

Multidisciplinary Teamwork

One of the best parts of this project for me personally was working with designers across different disciplines and seeing how other designers approach problems and work through solutions.

Part of what made us work so well together was a clear understanding from the start that we would be looking at the problem space from different perspectives, and using that to our advantage rather than rather than a hurdle to overcome.

We started to develop a shorthand language to describe elements of the concept and it’s form and behaviour, which helped to convey the emotion and the values we were trying to convey with the project, and also saved us time as we would know very often we were talking about the same issues during our discussions.

This was important as we spoke 4 different native languages within the group, however we were able to clearly and concisely form the direction of the project.

Prototype Development

The prototype was developed incrementally through a number of iterations. Core concept elements were tested early on and then additional complexity and product behaviours were added to the prototype as we began to validate our design decisions. My main role in the process was to implement the lighting functionality using arduino and neopixels.

The method of trying, testing, evaluating and then adding complexity worked well for this project due to the short time frame and the need for all members of the group to be working on different things. This allowed us to have


Sound design

The sound design concept for the project was to create a dynamic alarm noise based on the quality of the previous nights sleep. The sound would be generated to allow for maximum efficiency in waking the sleeper