About this project
What is the Sleep Sensei?
The Sleep Sensei is a device to help people fall asleep faster using calming breathing training. It's for people who have trouble falling asleep, due to insomnia or an active mind at bedtime.
How does the Sleep Sensei work?
The Sleep Sensei produces a sinusoidal pattern of light that you follow with your breathing. As the light increases in brightness, you inhale, and as the light dims, you exhale, and the light is bright enough to be seen with your eyes closed. This pattern slows throughout the session, guiding your breathing to become slower, calming you down and inducing sleep. Also, if your mind tends to race at bedtime, the Sleep Sensei gives you something to focus on to help you fall asleep.
As the sleep coaching session progresses, the breathing rate very gradually slows down. This change is quite subtle; you'll hardly notice that you've gone from 10 breaths per minute to only 6 by the end of the session!
The Sleep Sensei can be put on a nightstand or on your bed, and it works for back and side sleepers.
What are the features of the Sleep Sensei?
Bright Red Coaching Light
The Sleep Sensei has 4 ultra-bright red LEDs, which allow you to see the coaching light even with your eyes closed. Smartphone apps just aren't bright enough for this. The max brightness of the Sleep Sensei can be adjusted on-the-fly to suit your comfort level.
Why red light? Blue/white light actually keeps you awake, while green light has a similar effect and can suppress your melatonin output. This leaves red light, which "has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin." That's why apps like Flux change your screen to a more reddish hue towards the end of the day.
Customizable Coaching Profiles
You can change the length of coaching session, initial breath length, final breath length, and brightness. These settings are saved to profiles that are stored in the Sleep Sensei, even when the batteries are removed.
The hinged design allows you to aim the Sleep Sensei so you can most comfortably see the light in your usual sleeping position. You can also adjust the stiffness of the hinge.
The bamboo Sleep Sensei body is 100% renewable and biodegradable.
The Sleep Sensei is built on the open-source Arduino platform. All aspects of the Sleep Sensei, including the circuit board design and Arduino code, are freely available. Check out the GitHub page!
What can I get for backing the Sleep Sensei?
Get the Alpha edition and have a custom message added to the front and/or back of your Sleep Sensei! You can add 5 lines of text, 15 characters per line (including spaces) per side. Add your name, or your personal mantra like "Tomorrow is a new day." "Smile, breathe, and go slowly."
How effective is the Sleep Sensei?
When I first created the Sleep Sensei for my own sleep issues, I found that it helped me fall asleep faster. I decided to see if the Sleep Sensei could help others as well. I recruited users online through the Reddit insomnia and arduino communities to participate in a sleep study. Each participant received a prototype Sleep Sensei, and used a smartphone app which tracked their movements in bed to determine how long it took to fall asleep. They logged their sleep with and without the Sleep Sensei coaching their breathing.
Above you'll find a sample of the results. The study showed that it helped nearly all users fall asleep faster, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. This inspired me to turn a hobby project into a consumer product, and that's why I have launched this Kickstarter!
How will the funding be used?
Most of the funding will cover material costs, shipping, Kickstarter fees and credit card processing charges. The rest will go to recoup the development costs and fund future projects.
What is the manufacturing plan?
If the number of orders resulting from this Kickstarter is fairly low, I'll be making the Sleep Sensei boards myself. If demand exceeds expectations, I have made initial arrangements with manufacturers who are able to mass-produce and assemble the circuit boards, ensuring that orders are fulfilled on time.
What has changed since the last Kickstarter?
As some readers may know, the Sleep Sensei was a Kickstarter project last November. It was unsuccessful, mainly due to a funding goal that was too high.
Since then, I have made many changes:
- Lowered the funding goal by using scalable manufacturing techniques
- Finalized the design, including software
- Added a new material option, bamboo
- Confirmed the ability to sell and ship to Canada
What are the technical details?
Height: 6" Width: 2 1/16" Depth: 3"
Weight: 1.5 oz (bamboo) 2.5 oz (acrylic)
Battery life: 6 months estimated when used daily for 7 mins/day
Where can I follow the Sleep Sensei?
Risks and challenges
Since the Sleep Sensei design is already completed, tested, and validated, the main risks will stem from delays in parts and production.
To ensure that parts are delivered on time, I have both primary and alternate vendors for all the Sleep Sensei components. The circuit boards will be ordered from a trusted vendor who has manufactured the boards for all the latest prototypes. Each Sleep Sensei will be manually tested for function and quality before shipment.
If the demand for Sleep Senseis exceeds what I can produce myself, I have made arrangements with several manufacturers that will be able to manufacture and assemble all the circuit boards. The laser-cut body components are already handled by a manufacturer, and I have an alternate in place if they cannot meet demand in a timely fashion.
If any delays present themselves, I will be transparent with the backers of the project and aim to resolve issues as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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