Role: UI/UX design, Wire-framing, Identity design and Filming

Brief Design a digital sleep solution for family health

8 weeks project with Julia Petrich, Nehal Vora and Meric Dagli

Sponsored by Phillips Healthcare

Published in TEI 2017 Conference

Ixd Studio, Carnegie Mellon University, Fall 2016




For our project, "Screens&Beyond, a Philips Collaboration", we were asked to design a digital sleep solutions for family health. Most digital sleep solutions, whether they are around monitoring sleep or providing interventions, focus on the sleep quality of a single individual. Our team began to explore all kinds of questions to define context of family, sleep and health, while encouraging us to design future technology.




The components of Corus are a main candle in the bedroom and satellite candles around the home. The app connects to the candles through the cloud. The candles are connected to the lighting system through Bluetooth and can control the lights. Users can control the lights through the app and by using gestural inputs on the candles themselves. The cloud connect to their social media, pulling relevant information and displaying in the form of art to remind and delight the users each morning. The candle’s color will be in the middle of these two hues, helping the couples to 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.


As the sun rises, the holograph reappears: a gently animated waxy abstract sculpture of something relevant to the couple. Using app, the couple can control the lights or delay bedtime as necessary. There’s also a gestural input to turn off lights, snooze the alarm/delay the lights turning off, and turn the lights back on by snap.

At sunset, the candles light. Their motion sensors allow the flames to respond to people walking past or other motion. Satellite candles around the home begin to flicker to notify the couple when bedtime is approaching. With gesture and using the app, the bedtime can be delayed. As bedtime nears, the flames dim/fade, and the lights in the living area dim and warm in turn. The lights and the candle in the bedroom, however, light up/remain bright. This nudges the couple to relocate to the bedroom. In this way, as the couple goes to bed, their home “goes to bed”. 

At night, when the couple is in the bedroom and in bed, the main candle hears the audio input from the conversation and is responsive to it. While the conversation has energy the lights and the candle remain lit. As the conversation slows, the lights and the candle dim. Once the conversation stops, the candle burns out, and the lights turn off.

Corus is both a couple sleep “trainer” and a light control, and in this way, we see Corus as a tool in the beginning of its use and becoming a fixture as its use continues.




The app will be used foremost to set goals and initial preferences, but it also will function as a secondary notification of approaching bedtime and a dashboard of analytics of evening conversation energy, dynamics, and volume.


The holographic candles themselves will offer feedback to the users in their color. Each of the two users will have a different accent color on their app and display (one blue and one yellow) that visualize the candle’s color by collecting data from the users’ behavior to help the couple see how balanced their compromises being made around sleep are.



Wireframes show the user flow- the on-boarding process from sign up to goal setting to the input of preferences. The home screen leads to light controls for the home’s various rooms, to preference resetting and modification, and to more deeper analysis. A pop-up notification shows when users are on their phone and a screensaver that lights up to notify the user.





Our research methods have ranged from reading academic literature, as well as pieces by journalists, creating a survey with open-ended questions, and conducting more in depth interviews which included showing some design provocations to our potential users. As we first began to discuss sleep and family health,  we ultimately decided to narrow in on cohabitating couples. We thought it could bring an interesting take on family health, health being not just the physical health but also the relationship’s health.


We began to formulate an understanding of the phases couples go through from the moment they decide to cohabitate. In period of anticipation, couples are excited to embark on this new part of their life together. Second to that is stress, brought on by the logistics of the move as well as any unknown factors about cohabitation. Once partners move in together, they begin the period of adjustment. This is a feeling-out process by which they make arrangements, negotiate their individual needs, and consider those of their partner. This period can include some frustrations, but when it works well, it is a fair give-and-take by which each individual attempts to change their behaviors for their partner. Once the couple achieves some kind of rhythm in their cohabitation, they will continue to have moments of adjustment but much less frequently and only as required to maintain their established rhythm. 

Key Interests
where do these necessary adjustments and conflicts arise, especially when thinking about sleep? From our research, we diagrammed our insights and found that they clustered around three areas of interest for our project: (1) incompatible sleep behaviors, (2) different sleep cycles and patterns, and (3) balancing privacy and intimacy.



Considering key insights, we developed two provocative future scenarios, each based on the divergent concepts of utopia and dystopia. We defined a dystopic solution as one that allowed individuals to continue living their own discordant patterns and behaviors, while a utopic solution would force a couple to find a place of harmony and balance. Together, we hoped that these divergent concepts could form a bounding box for our next stage concepts and test the limits of what was acceptable to our potential users. We showed these extreme solutions to our interviewees and were able to elicit some pretty strong emotional reactions from them, as well as gauge their level of comfort with certain technologies.




Our research has lead to these three key insights about cohabiting couples in relation to their sleep and the time surrounding sleep.

1.  Couples who establish healthy arrangements early on have an
easier time maintaining their relationship.

2. Many couples are concerned about the concept of “fairness” in
their relationships. They want every decision to be a give-and-take
as much as possible.

3. Dyadic sleep cycles cause the fewest problems for partners, but individuals often live with the hassle of sleep cycle inconsistencies
rather than put in the effort the change.


From these insights we asked questions and developed principles for our design going forward. 

1. How can our solution assist during the more fraught transition period at the beginning of cohabitation as well as provide support throughout the long-term maintenance of a relationship?

2. How can our solution help couples feel like there is an equitable reciprocation of contributions and sacrifices?

3.How can our solution frame optimizing sleep cycles as a way to prevent problems before they occur? How can we create a solution that promotes dyadic sleep without prescribing it?




With our key principles, we started to brainstorm the design with the question of what we constitute as Ideal sleep in the context of couples. What do we think ideal couple sleep should be? And how can we apply these two areas we see as possible places in a couple’s life together that a dyadic sleep solution could potentially intervene? While on one hand focusing on these ideals, we wanted to keep in mind all of the new technologies that are becoming more prevalent in our world. To get a better sense of what pain points exist for our users, 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, if any, issues around sleep, and most couples who do experience pain points around sleep could improve their situation with a more synchronized sleep schedule. We want to tackle this issue with Corus.




We believe that dyadic sleep cycles cause the fewest problems for partners, but individuals often live with the hassle of sleep-cycle inconsistencies rather than working on it. We also thought back to our utopian solution for different sleep cycles, and to some of the feedback we heard from our interviewees. One specific quote stood out: 1) ”You purchase this kind of thing with the intention to change your behaviors.” That’s what we tried to build into Corus. Instead of trying to convince couples that dyadic sleep is a good idea for them, we focused on creating a solution that is simple, intuitive, and hopefully somewhat attractive.


We created a three-dimensional prototype to demonstrate Corus’ holographic projection votive using a Pepper's ghost technique. Corus is currently in video prototype stage which showcases our user flow and experience.


Through video prototype, we propose motion sensors within the votive to allow the flames to respond to body movements of users such as walking past or hand gestures. User can put out the lights by pinching out the flame. user can snooze or delay bedtime by “fan the flame” or “wave off” the flickering flame’s notification. And to light the candle in a room, one would use a snapping gesture to ”spark” the flame.


As software component, the cloud services will be linked to the users’ social media from which we propose Corus pulls relevant information to display in the form of art. This will remind and delight the users each morning.