The system is composed of an app, a low tech projector and a breath sensor.
When the person is going to sleep, he places the smartphone in the projector with the app switched on.
The sensor, placed on the stomach, measures the breathing pace and translates that into soothing visualisations that are projected onto the ceiling.
Among the visualisations tested, the sky full of stars has been the most appreciated. The stars glow with one’s breathing, allowing him to be more aware of his harsh breathing pattern and gradually slow it down with the biofeedback provided.
I conducted in-depth interviews with people suffering from insomnia and sleeping disorders and extrapolated observations and insights: technology is an immediate distraction when one can’t sleep while meditation can be a long term solution to learn how to handle stress. It helps in getting relaxation but requires time and dedication and it does not look so appealing.
I conducted an inspirational workshop to understand what are the important conditions for people to have a good night of sleep. I provided pillows and asked them to build features that would comfort their sleep.
User experience. Testing the feeling of the experience with some interviewees. The visualisation is so light that is not as obtrusive as a screen (and also impossible to document with my camera)
Co-creation: what should the visualisation look like?
The initial concept envisioned visualisation that would guide the person through a specific pace of breathing (wave and circle). The result was that the person felt even more stressed! Therefore I created a soothing visualisation, the stars, that would mirror and replicate one’s breath.
The projector is a box equipped with a simple magnifying lens on the top. Those are iterations of the prototype to come up with the final design which is inspired by the aesthetics of lamps, due to the fact that it is thought to live on the bedside.
Biofeedback to facilitate relaxation through deep breathing
With the hectic pace of modern life, our minds are always busy. It is often hard to switch off when it is time to sleep.
Pneuma is designed for people who have problems relaxing in bed. This biofeedback tool supports deep breathing through interactive visualizations that are projected on to the ceiling.
People who are exposed to chronic stress are at a greater risk for insomnia. These people operate with elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol is released in the body, sleep becomes extremely difficult, because the body finds it more difficult to relax.
Deep breathing is thought to promote relaxation by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby breaking the cycle of insomnia.
The projection helps translate the unconscious act of breathing into something visible – instilling awareness and greater focus – with the aim of helping you drift off to sleep.