About this project
Why did I start this project?
Have you ever fallen asleep upright, perhaps while traveling, and awakened with neck discomfort? Me too!
Like many, I would use a U-shaped neck pillow. Unfortunately, the support I needed just wasn't there. In addition, they are often too bulky to fit in my backpack. And if you are like me, you feel claustrophobic when things are wrapped around your neck. And who wants to inflate a device every time you need to use it?
During a flight about four years ago, I awoke with neck discomfort again and started drawing out the idea that would eventually become the NapAnywhere.
What is the purpose of this product?
The purpose of the NapAnywhere is to make sleeping in an upright position actually comfortable.
The NapAnywhere is not a simple neck pillow. It is a sophisticated head-support pillow that is part engineering, part architecture, and part origami. Using my knowledge of anatomy and experience gained while developing multiple designs, I have finally created a unique minimalist solution. The NapAnywhere provides better head support for the seated user, but is still compact enough to carry anywhere.
What is it and how does it work?
The NapAnywhere was designed with travelers in mind. It is supportive and comfortable, yet lightweight and portable, and can provide a custom fit for each user.
The NapAnywhere is a thin disc consisting of a strong yet flexible endoskeleton covered with foam padding, and wrapped in high-quality fabric. The device is reversible with one side warm to the touch (think fleece or suede) and the other side cool to the touch (think nylon or leather). The NapAnywhere also includes a comfortable strap designed to keep it in place while you sleep and a carrying case to help keep it clean.
The NapAnywhere is not a medical device. It was not designed to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any disorder or disease. There are plenty of medical devices out there that should be prescribed by your physician.
With a few easy folds you can transform the NapAnywhere from a simple flat disc into an effective head-support pillow.
The top part of the device forms a cantilevered shelf which extends along your jaw from your chin to the back of your head. Once in place, you can easily form the supportive surface to comfortably cradle your head. Similarly, you curve the bottom part over your shoulder. The central portion, which lies against your neck, allows the weight of your head to be distributed across the shoulder. When worn the NapAnywhere allows the muscles in the neck to relax as the head is fully supported. You'll forget you're even wearing it.
And when you're finished with the NapAnywhere, you can easily flatten it into its original shape.
So where are we?
Proof of concept prototypes produced by the inventor. Check.
Design and utility patent applications submitted. Check.
Trademark applications submitted. Available domain names secured. Check.
Product engineering firm hired to optimize product design and create engineering packets for manufacturing. Check.
Prototype engineering firm hired to produce pre-manufacturing prototypes. Check.
Current iteration of product designed and prototyped. Check.
Product engineering packets sent out to manufacturers. Check.
Manufacturers selected and manufactured prototypes received. Check.
Logo and advertising material designed. Check.
Kickstarter campaign initiated. Check.
Our latest manufacturing prototype!
Risks and challenges
One skill that has served me well has been my ability to motivate, communicate and collaborate with others effectively. I could never bring this product to market alone. For this project, I have assembled a strong team of engineers, graphic designers, advertising/marketing experts and manufacturers who have brought the project to this point.
We believe that this product will have a positive impact on many people! We hope you agree! And now it's your turn.
The response from the Kickstarter community will help us gauge the public's interest, fund the initial manufacturing runs, and bring the NapAnywhere to market.
Our biggest challenge in the short term is to finalize our choice of manufacturing materials. The quality and function of our manufactured prototypes are currently being evaluated. Also, the manufacturing process may slightly alter some of the design elements and/or materials that have been chosen for the most recent prototypes. The final prototypes will undergo testing for durability and safety prior to our first full manufacturing run.
Other unforeseen challenges may also be revealed. As a physician and business owner I've experienced my share over the years. But I know that we have a great team to overcome these challenges successfully.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The NapAnywhere does work without the strap. In fact, my original design did not incorporate a strap. However, the NapAnywhere is much more effective while using the strap which is why we include it. We have tested multiple fabric types, strap widths and fastening methods. I think we have chosen the best solution in regards to comfort, portability and ease of use. You'll barely know it's there.
We have tested multiple fabrics during the development of the NapAnywhere. I'm pretty picky and want the NapAnywhere to be a premium product in terms of look, comfort and durability. With those criteria in mind we have chosen fabrics which are stain resistant, but should wipe clean with either mild soapy water or a light solvent like rubbing alcohol. We also include a carrying pouch to help protect the NapAnywhere when not in use.
Great question! The NapAnywhere will come in two sizes based on neck length (short and regular). The product will also come with a strap available in 3 sizes (small, medium and large) that will accommodate just about anyone. We will gather information from each backer prior to fulfilling the orders.
A child's version (under 8) of the NapAnywhere is certainly a goal. The same design only smaller will work. But I had to start with the adult version (over 8) first. A child's version requires more extensive testing and approval (ie Consumer Product Safety Commission) before availability. If our Kickstarter funding goal is reached it will help the children's version become a reality sooner. And certainly our Kickstarter backers will have access to them first.
My children are 12 and 14 and they will no longer travel without a NapAnywhere.
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