Duration : September - June 2019
Tools : Sketch - After Effect - Principle - Keyshot
Skills : UX/UI - 3D Modeling - Prototyping - Industrial Design
INSREM - National Institute of Health and Medical Research
Falling asleep in front of the screens is increasing more and more, it slows down the production of melatonin, hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. For people with sleep disorders, stimuli are important to avoid repeating and rethinking too many things, which often interfere with their sleep. How to facilitate the sleep phase?
© Photo : HEX/Corbis
The idea is to create a new experience to fall asleep, thanks to a connected object located on our bedside table and a companion application on our phone. The object projects an animation on the ceiling, to visually stimulate the user and regulate his breathing rhythm. The use of video projection means that there is no blue light, which slow down sleep.
The experience is new every night thanks to the algorithm that recovers data from the user's smartphone. Each evening is a different experience as when you are used to watching a movie or series on Netflix. The data are then transformed into abstract and bewitching forms to create a visual and sound experience.
The next day the user can return to the application if he wants to know what each animation he saw corresponded to, given that they are based on what he had done during the day.
For this project I decided to use the Agile Method, the 15-day sprinting gives a better visibility of the development progress, the respect of the schedule and the prioritization of tasks. We have follow-up sessions with a teacher, the use of this work method will allow me to give him a greater immersion in my progress and to have more constructive feedback.
I started with a research phase, I looked at concepts or objects that were associated with an application to see its uses. How this synergy worked. In my case, the use of the object had to be quick and simple since the user need time to fall asleep, it had to be not constraining.
© Photo : ouest-france.fr
I met Sylviane Pilette, consultant in stress and emotion management. She taught me about the different uses of the principles of mindfulness meditation for people suffering from stress and sleep disorders. You have to leave your day behind either to better understand your night. Patients are therefore often advised to tell themselves about their day out loud. Or to write it down, which then allows them to think less about it while they sleep.
For this phase I was accompanied by an industrial product design student, Marie Donnou, who informed me about the feasibility of the product. She was a great help to me in thinking and designing the object.
The product is a 15cm square platform with a height of 1.5cm, the left part is for sound and video projection. You pause your phone on the right side which embeds the NFC and wireless charging, which allows you to be 100% battery powered in the morning.
The idea is that when you put the smartphone on the platform, the application sends the user data that is transmitted by the projector in abstract animations. The phone switches to airplane mode, which prevents being woken up by notifications and avoids network connections too close to the brain.
The application is not the heart of the experience but it allows you to extend and customize it. It offers a setting function, the user can choose his or her sound or visual preferences in advance, influencing the length of time the animation should last. The animation will take into account what was included in the application.
Its second aspect is the next day, we can find the details of the animation. That is to say, for example, the cloud of 3245 blue points that closed last night's experience was the number of steps you had taken during the day. It is therefore not essential, but it is important that it be included to echo Sprint 1 and "make a link between day and night, making the user aware of what he or she is doing every day".
The idea would be to have an algorithm that formats the different data and takes into account the user's pre-defined settings on the application. For this sprint I didn't have time to create this algorithm in code in 2 weeks, I focused on the visual appearance.
So I used After Effect and the Plexus plugin which allows to create complex animations by having control over variables and element coordinates. The projected video animations could be a succession of point clouds contained in a larger constellation that will represent our day.
The idea is also to bring the user to 6 breaths per minute to promote relaxation. We can imagine a circle around, blinking more and more slowly, so that the breaths follow the rhythm of the circle.
Then I wanted to get feedback on the experience of these animations. I couldn't develop the product and therefore have the smartphone/object relationship tested, so I went to 7 testers and projected animations with sound using a pico video projector.
The goal was not for them to fall asleep but to know if watching what was being projected in their bed relaxed them and if not why. I also gave them a prototype of the application to see if the navigation was intuitive.
Following the user tests I modified some animations and features of the application and the latest bugs to have a functional prototype. I focused on the final rendering, which was a slide show and a 20-minute oral presentation to a jury.
It was an interesting project because it was the first time I had gone out of my comfort zone to go to the connected object. It wasn't always easy to develop every aspect of the project in 15-days-sprints, like the product or the animations, which were areas where I knew little.
- I should spend more time on animations and know if people really want to see datas before going to sleep.
- Create a functional object prototype to be able to conduct user tests over several days and improve the relationship between the object and the application
- Reflect on materials and components to budget the object.
Thanks to Sylviane Pilette for her time, Florent Michel for the follow-up sessions and Marie Donnou.