At the beginning of the first semester we were instructed to rank 3 projects out of set of several projects. At the top of my rank was the project Smart Sleep in the theme Comfort and Bonding in Healthcare.

Luckily I was divided in the Smart Sleep project with 3 other people that became my group members.


As we all know from experience as well as science, people who sleep well feel better rested, more alert, more productive and happier throughout the day. Sleeping quality is important for all to achieve a better health status both physically and mentally. To investigate this in an ID context we have the project: “Smart Sleep”. In other words, how can recent scientific insights into sleep and advanced unobtrusive monitoring techniques be used to design ambient intelligence which will help people to have a more healthy sleep.

Our project was based on research of Eus Van Someren’s sleep research on  the affects of temperature on sleep.
The design challenge was to choose from scientific insights and monitor, enhance them in a meaningful concept. These concepts can form the tart of more advanced research work through doctoral thesis.

Project timeline

Our first brainstorms let from headbands, socks, armbands, to canopies for over the bed. All of those ideas had in common that they could affect the body temperature (slightly). We were sure we wanted to use this scientific insight of Eus van Someren’s sleep research on the affects of temperature on sleep. But after a coach meeting where we presented al our ideas. He did gave us the advice to narrow down our ideas and chose one of those.

After a few wild brainstorms we worked out our sleep canopy. In this canopy people could become more relaxed before they would go to sleep. We would reach this effect by creating a natural and relaxing ambiance in the canopy. We would did some research on the internet about what light and sounds were relaxing and sleep inducing and we found out that the use of the light spectrum of sunset or a campfire were sleep inducing. Also white noise and sound of nature was proven to be sleep inducing.
Therefore we used those elements in our concept.
We did some user research and some of the asked persons didn’t like the idea of a closed canopy when they were sleeping.

Therefore we brainstormed again and we came up with not a full closed canopy but a form for besides the bed. This form would also create the same ambience in the room using light and sound. The element of temperature regulation was hereby fallen out.

We made a prototype and the midterm exhibition was coming close.
At the midterm exhibition we got lots of critical, positive and sometimes negative feedback. We took the feedback serious and processed it in our next project iteration.

We had two main points in our midterm exhibition feedback.

The first point was that our concept was not based on scientific research. We picked it up from the internet.
The second main point of feedback was about a “free your mind” concept. When people want to go to bed they have lots of ideas in their mind they would get rid of.

Our next concept revolves around light sound and a “free your mind” part of the concept. We also decided to split up the group. We would create a form on our own based on the main concept.

My Final prototype:

I decided to brainstorm on the form for I while and get some inspiration online. I am inspired by clean modern forms and forms that are based on nature.

I found out I was interested in some kind of a bio mimicry form. I chose to develop a ceiling lamp, because this place in a room could easily spread light and sound softly throughout the whole room.

When I thought about my collected inspiration and some functional form for an ambience creating form, I decided to make a form based on a dodecahedron, that is a sphere of pentagon forms.

I chose for a ceiling lamp because this form can easily spread its ambience in the whole room. Thereby I chose for the dodecahedron form to create ten surfaces. When creating those surfaces I created space for more function in the dodecahedron. So when developing this product further, I could chose to implement a different element in each surface like speakers or light surfaces.

In the first place I made something out of cardboard. I was cutting out pentagons and connected them. I didn’t worked it out first, I just was making a sphere of pentagons. But that didn’t worked out well. So in my second cardboard prototype I wanted to make a plan before making it. I went on the internet to find a plan of a dodecahedron. I was again making it in cardboard and now it was a success. It was a good sphere and it was stable. I thought out in what kind of form I wanted to make it and I decided to make a big ceiling lamp of it. I decided to don’t make an alarm clock for it. Many people already have an alarm clock or a mobile phone doing that for them so I chose to make a ceiling lamp of it because when the lamp is hanging it can lighten the whole room instead of just a part. In this way it creates the relaxing ambience more easily in the whole bedroom.

I decided to make the prototype out of wood, to give it a more natural look. I started calculating the measurements for my dodecahedron form, and I started sowing it. I didn’t had handcrafting as a  subject on high school so it was a new experience for me to make such a form.

But after finishing the wooden prototype it didn’t looked very smooth because the wood had lots of rough corners. So I decided to find some white textile and cover my prototype skeleton with this textile.

When looking from a short distance the finish didn’t looked very smooth and it looked quite rushed. But from a distance it looked pretty well!

After that I was exploring the ardruino. After some experimenting I created a few parallel circuit of some superflux LED’s (white and red) that can be controlled apart of eachother. This to create an ambience in for the night and in the morning.

I learned a lot of this individual proces, in the way of brainstorming for a form, working it out. I also learned to do things with my hands, sawing and cutting the wood, cutting the plastic and assemble the whole thing together.

And finally I learned to apply my adruino knowledge from the SDL weeks into some circuits!

Downlaoad the projcet report


Ideas and concepts

In this project I learned a lot about generating ideas en giving form to a concept. I learned different brainstorm techniques. The technique we used the most was making a mind map. In the past half year we became continuously better and faster in coming up with a solution.

We processed our ideas a lot with our coach who put us always in the right way again. We had too many ideas to work out so we narrowed down often. In that way we could walk the right road during our development process.

Integrated Technology

Especially for my last prototype I used integrated technology a lot.
My goal was to build a circuit that fades from white light to red light at a certain time that is set.

I managed to build two SuperFlux circuits connected to an arduino. One is fading away and the other one is fading in.

Teamwork and communication

When entering this project I didn’t know what to expect from a team. I never worked together with three other people for half a year.
In the first semester our team was quite chaotic, it was not clear what task everyone had and we had a vague planning.
In the second semester we tried to change that in positive way. We wanted to split up tasks and responsibilities more clear. We also chose a group leader to take decisions and make appointments more clear. We chose me as group leader.

The first weeks when we were still busy with the same prototype the team structure was very well. But when we decided to make a prototype ourselves, the team structure became vague again.

I also improved my English very well. On college I always found it hard to continuously speak English. But when I tried it from Monday till Friday I got more use to it. However, there’s still lots of space to improve my English writing and speaking skills.

Business process design

For my first assignment in DG000 I had to look at the stakeholders in our project. With this assignment I learned to take a good look at how the product would be handled when it is taking in production.
In the second semester I tried to fit my product in the product line of our stakeholder Philips.

Philips also is focused a lot on light products and several light therapy products. I tried to fit my own product in their products. Starting with the name AmbiSleep I registered (Didn’t have time left to make a website for this product).

Thereby I used white materials in my product just as Philips always does with his light products

Forms and Senses

When talking about my prototype I mentioned before in the final concept text part. I explained my design choices and how I went through the process of making this prototype.
I developed the form and senses competency pretty well. I learned to gather inspiration and do something with it using my own hands. Thereby I gained more experience with handcrafting wood, plastic and textile.

I also made the concept posters where we are explaining are concepts in the bedroom scene.  I learned to explain a concept in a specific scene using Photoshop.

User Focus and Perspective

We looked at the needs of the user when in our iterations. In our first iteration of the sleep canopy, our concept was based on a closed canopy. People didn’t liked the idea of a closed bed so in our second iteration we kept that in mind.

When I was designing my own prototype I kept in mind users didn’t like occupant objects in their room. Therefore I designed something for on the ceiling.


Willem worked on the Smart Sleep project, in a group with Chester, Emilija, and Iris.

The project was not easy, as the problem is complex, and goals were given broadly, and it required lots of work to define the problem more precisely. In the end, the project was very interesting and overall successful.

Willem performed well during the project, contributed in most of its activities.

In addition to working on the project, Willem has successfully finished four assignments, with overall positive feedback:

Introduction to the competency framework (DG000), with focus on the following two competencies:

  • Integrating Technology
  • Business Process Design
User Focus and Perspective (UFP) Basics

Willem had productive SDL activities, learning about SolidWorks, 3DSMax, PHP, Flash, visiting DDW, and attended workshops about reflecting. He managed to incorporate things that he had learned into the project and showcase.

Z. ObrenovicZ. Obrenovic