About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign is over, but you can still get a Napwell. Head over to napwell.com for more info and to place an order.
Introducing the Napwell
How many times have you taken a nap, woken up disoriented and then wasted the rest of your day? The scientific term for that lousy post-nap feeling is “sleep inertia.” It occurs when you’re abruptly awakened in the middle of a sleep cycle. Napwell solves the "sleep inertia" problem by gently waking you from sleep.
The Napwell is the world’s first napping mask. Designed by engineers at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard Medical School, the Napwell was created to help people nap more efficiently.
How It Works
The Napwell allows you to set your ideal napping duration depending on the time available in your day. The Napwell’s built-in timer tracks your nap, and shortly before you are ready to wake up, it begins to gradually bring you out of sleep.
The inside of our mask is luminous and gradually lights up to emulate a sunrise, waking you up at your desired time naturally. No more harsh sounds or sudden disruptions to your sleep cycles! -- the simulated sunrise allows the brain to gradually wake up so when your alarm finally rings, you wake up feeling refreshed instead of groggy.
We put an emphasis on comfort, and the Napwell completely blocks out surrounding light with a high quality, ergonomic sleep mask design. We want to help you fall asleep quickly, and wake up naturally feeling great. We call this "naptimization." (#naptimize)
The Napwell is battery powered so it does not require an internet connection, recharging, or maintenance of any kind. The light wakes you naturally, with no harsh sounds or alarms.
This makes it the perfect napping mask for:
On The Go
The Napwell team was honored to be selected by TechCrunch to present during the TC Boston Meetup on 11/14.
You can read about it here:
Feedback from early testers:
"The Napwell has turned my downtime into invaluable pit stops. I come back to the job better able to focus on what I need to do." - N.M.
Check out TechCrunch's coverage of our Kickstarter Launch here!:
The evolution of the Napwell
Our very first proof of concept was literally just a few LED's stuck inside of a sleeping mask controlled by an potentiometer. Realizing that the LED's gave a the inside of the mask an "airport runway" or "alien approach" look, we sought a better way to uniformly illuminate the inside of the mask. Our next iteration had a crude diffuse lighting system and was controlled by an off-board Arduino.
The video below shows this system in action (sorry for the shakiness)
We then made the lights wider and added a timer and some buttons.
Then we switched from an Arduino to an Arduino Mini and moved all of the electronic components (including coin-cell battery supply) into the mask.
For prototyping purposes, the buttons, display, and illumination are all controlled by a battery-powered Arduino Pro Mini. We are currently in the process of designing a custom board and perfecting our patent-pending illumination system.
The Next Steps
In the past year, we've gone from concept to several working prototypes. We've recruited some of the best minds in technology and design, and our prototypes have been requested by leading medical experts to be used in future sleep studies.
We've spent many hours user testing and have refined the mask with every iteration. All the masks in the video are real. Now, we need Kickstarter's help to go from prototypes to production. To build the product correctly, we need to set up manufacturing for a minimum quantity of masks.
Here's our plan:
Risks and challenges
Manufacturing custom products is always challenging. Great design is often bogged down with poor execution or production. Even details such as fit or finish determine the difference between something of quality and something cheap.
We have sorted out many of the painful details and are bringing it to Kickstarter with full confidence in the design and the manufacturing process.
The real challenge facing the Napwell now is production and delivery. We are working on a partnership with Dragon Innovation to make sure our production runs smoothly.
I’ve always loved to nap, and I’ve always loved to tinker. I consider myself pretty lucky to work with amazing people at MIT and Harvard Medical School, but it really frustrates me to see my colleagues routinely hampered by small things that have dramatic effects on their productivity (like sleep inertia).
I built a quick/crude prototype one day. After some initial testing on myself and a few friends, I realized: “Hey, this actually works!” and started iterating through the steps you see on our Kickstarter page (Evolution of Napwell).
Naps are awesome for you. They have been shown to: (1) increase creativity by 40%, (2) improve performance of pilots & astronauts by 34% and their overall alertness by 100%, (3) perform better than caffeine for boosting verbal memory and procedural motor skills. (Visit our blog at http://napwell.com/blog for more information on napping benefits, including a discussion of napping vs. caffeinating).
The problem with naps though is that you can wake up after one feeling absolutely atrocious. Although this "sleep inertia" typically lasts under an hour, people who wake up feeling groggy are usually unable to capitalize on the moment and often lose their entire afternoon's productivity.
Q3: How do naps help me be more productive throughout the day? How can I function optimally with naps?
Naps have been shown to be REALLY great for you, regardless of how well you sleep each night. We’ve got a decent post about this on our Napwell Blog (http://napwell.com/blog/2013/11/13/naps-are-awesome-why-you-should-nap-even-if-you-feel-well-rested-each-morning/), and there’s also a neat study done by NASA about a decade ago on the benefits of naps on pilots that we’ve summarized:
Q4: How does Napwell help travelers get over jet lag? I fly often for work, usually 2 weeks of every month across the US and sometimes Europe.
The idea is that having a Napwell will let you set your personal times for when you want to sleep and wake (to light) instead of being dependent on the cabin lights, which might not be in sync with your actual final destination.
The products shown in the video and pictures above are early Napwell prototypes. We are working hard to improve the Napwell's design and the product you receive may differ significantly in appearance from what you see on this page. We'll keep you updated as we iterate through different versions of the Napwell.
Of course! Several of our early testers use the Napwell when they sleep at night. Although they wake up late in the morning and light seeps in through their blinds, they're still able to experience a natural (sunrise) awakening thanks to their Napwell.
Shipping costs to anywhere in the world is an additional $15.
We plan to use a backlit LCD screen (kind of like what you see on digital wristwatches, which have great battery lives) or an OLED screen, and the internal clock and timer mechanisms are all very low energy. Although we haven't finalized the Napwell's battery yet, our goal for battery life is 1yr+ of daily use. If we can't reach that, we're planning to switch to using a USB-rechargeable battery pack.
Although we can't guarantee this, it's definitely been a popular request and is something we're looking into.
The Napwell is "durable" in the sense that if you roll on it while sleeping, nothing should break. We've tested this at a small scale so far, but will test at larger scale with our Uber-early and Beta testers (and make design tweaks as necessary).
Yes! Our stretch goal is $45,000. If we reach this goal, we'll make the Napwell in 3 different colors that backers will later get to select from.
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