A system that helps cohabitating couples become more synchronized in their sleep routines. It includes a set of holographic candles and an app that connects to the home’s lighting system.
After looking at various family contexts, we became interested in the sphere of newly cohabitating couples, when two adults start living together. These transitions can get a little rough when partners have to adjust to a new routine. How these transitions affect the health of the relationship was our main interest.
Corus consists of a main candle in the bedroom and other satellite candles around the home. The satellite candles are connected to the main candle through Bluetooth and can control the smart lights such as Philips Hue. Users can control the lights two ways: through the app and by using gestural inputs on the candles.
The components of Corus are the main candle in the bedroom and other “satellite” candles around the home. The app connects to the main candle through the cloud. The satellite candles are connected to the main candle through Bluetooth and can also control the smart lights such as Philips Hue. Users can control the lights two ways: through the app and by using gestural inputs on the candles themselves.
Each user has a different accent color on their app. The candle’s color will be somewhere in the middle of these two hues. This helps the couples get a sense of the balance in their preferred schedules, as in, who is getting closer to their preferred schedule and who might be making more of a compromise on average at any time.
At sunset, the candles light. When bedtime is approaching, satellite candles around the home begin to flicker to notify the couple. With a gesture or using the app, the bedtime can be delayed.
As bedtime nears, the flames and the lights in the living area dim. The lights and the candle in the bedroom, however, light up/remain bright. This nudges the couple to relocate to the bedroom.
The main candle responses to the audio level of the conversation in the bedroom. As the conversation slows, the lights and the candle dim. Once it stops, the candle burns out, and the lights turn off.
As the sun rises, the holograph reappears as an animated waxy abstract sculpture of relevant things such as birthday celebrations or informing couple about today's weather via 3D visualizations.
The app is used foremost to set a goal and initial preferences but also works as a secondary notification of approaching bedtime.
We found out that, the market was lacking a proper bedtime alarm. After we published Corus, Apple also released the bedtime feature.
Along with the onboarding process, our wireframes showed how the home screen can lead to light controls for different rooms. We also explored different notification types: a pop-up for when users are on their phone and a screensaver that lights up to notify you.
Users interact with the candle through three gestures.
1. "Spark the flame" to light a candle.
2. "Fan the flame” to snooze the bedtime.
3. "Pinch out the flame" to turn off the lights.
We mainly used Pepper's Ghost (PG) technique, which is a century-old technique that is used in theaters for creating illusions by using prism reflections. We used After Effects to prototype a digital PG.
Corus was my first interaction design project with an international team. Starting from the research, I relearnt a lot of things that I know about the design process such as user research and Wizard of Oz prototyping methods for mixed reality.
I believe we could have detailed our app user flows of more in terms of onboarding as well as micro-interactions.
While our video prototypes sketched how the system can control the lights of the house, we should also do more research and prototyping to notice the nuances and trade-offs of such scenario.
In Corus, we used the metaphor of candle holographically, I also see an opportunity to use a real candle as a natural user interface for such applications while it has certain safety trade-offs.
We started with researching various family contexts surrounding sleep. We were most interested in cohabitating couples: researching the transitions when two individuals with potentially distinct lifestyles start living together and the adjustments they make to develop a new sleep routine.
To share with our interviewees, we have developed provocative interaction scenarios for far future: Utopia for Personal Space & Comfort, Dystopia for Over-indulge Couples.
We did some deeper mapping of the experiences of each of our interviewees. As we did this, we started to see a pattern: couples who have dyadic sleep schedules have few issues with sleep. Most couples, who do experience such issues, overcome them with a more synchronized sleep schedule.
In our territory map, we imagined the journey of a couple as they decide to move in together, to when the big move-in day arrives, through the process of “settling down” together. We clustered these into areas of interest: (1) incompatible sleep behaviors, (2) different sleep cycles, and (3) the balance of privacy and intimacy.
We started brainstorming our solution with the guidance of the design directions that we come up as a result of our research.
While focusing on these interaction "ideals", we wanted to keep in mind all of the new technologies that are becoming more dominant in our world. Our matrix exercise helped us see which technologies had the most potential for a couple sleep solution.
To promote healthy value in developing a more synchronized schedule in cohabitating couples, we designed Corus. It aims to help couples get a sense of balance in their preferred schedules by calculating the optimal, mutual go-to-bed time for the couple and make them aware of the compromises to be made at any time through subtle interaction modalities.
While discussing possible prototyping methods of our hologram idea, we have explored the Pepper's Ghost and immediately started to prototyping our mockup. Our earlier mockups on Pepper's Ghost helped us to finalize the form of our candle avatar.
At the same time, we mapped the components of the whole system. We have also worked on the initial wireframes of our app, which included onboarding and general usage screens.
We also experimented with several forms of Pepper's Ghost prisms. Since our focus was to create a proof-of-concept, we have decided to incorporate the prism shape. Using a laser cutter and a 3D printer, we have fabricated our physical Pepper's ghost mockup.
To generate a realistic candle flame and smoke, we have used Autodesk 3D Studio Max with FumeFX extension. For smoke, we used After Effects Trapcode extension.We have also experimented with RealFlow to create waxy animations of morning notifications.
Finally, we have used Keyshot and Adobe After Effects to compose our effects, 3D renderings, and the shot footage.