Yawnie is a smart device that helps people develop good sleeping habits. Designed by Products of Design students Roya Ramezani and Ziyun Qi and Interaction Design student Nic Barajas, Yawnie tracks users' sleeping conditions, and reminds them to go to bed on time by triggering them to yawn. "In modern culture, over-working and poor sleep habits are sometimes a point of pride, but too many people can falter under those pressures and suffer from lack of sleep—leading to poor health, low productivity, and depression," reasons the team. "Since one of the key indicators fatigue in yawning, and since "yawning is contagious," the device capitalizes on these by prompting the user to notice their fatigue by modeling its behavior: When Yawnie yawns, the user will yawn—and realize that perhaps they should get to bed!"
Yawnie capitalizes on the notion that "yawning is contagious"—prompting people to improve their sleeping habits by tricking them into getting to bed!
Yawnie is an alarm—a reminder, really—to persuade users to counter bad habits. Users set the time for the device to "yawn"—typically a half hour before their desired bed time, and Yawnie does the rest!
The design challenges were complex, however. "Given how most people feel about morning alarms, products like this are not typically loved," argues the team. "Yawnie's fun character traits—rather than high-tech functions—engage the user in a more friendly manner. Further, we feel that it's fundamentally a charming idea—triggering users to yawn at a specified hour of the evening, prompting them to take a rest." [The project won a runner-up award in the recent Core77 Design Awards.]
Indeed, yawning is contagious through multiple triggers: hearing the sound of yawning; looking at a picture or video of someone yawning; watching an animal yawn—even simply viewing the written word "yawn". "This is a kind of mysterious power we wanted to take advantage of," adds the team. "When it's time to sleep, Yawnie opens and closes along with playing a yawn sound through its speaker. It continues to yawn at regular intervals—until the user has acknowledged it—hopefully persuading them to go to bed."
In addition to the physical product, Yawnie links to an app so that users can track their sleep conditions and plan out a healthy sleeping schedule.
In the end, Yawnie is only prompting the user's own body to recognize its tiredness—not really acting as a traditional alarm.
In the end, Yawnie is only prompting the user's own body to recognize its tiredness—not really acting as a traditional alarm. If a user ignores Yawnie, it will eventually go to bed by itself, sending that user a goodnight message...and trying again tomorrow!