Team with Nicolas Barajas, Roya Ramezani

Physical Interaction

Smart Product + Arduino

Yawning is Contagious


Yawnie is a smart product that helps people develop good sleeping habits. It tracks users' sleeping conditions and reminds them to go to bed on time by "infecting" them with yawns. In modern culture, improper sleep habits are sometimes a point of pride. However, too many people falter under pressure and suffer from lack of sleep, leading to poor health, low productivity, and depression. Yawnie capitalizes on the notion that yawning is contagious, and uses it to help improve the sleeping habits of its user.



Before we start the research, we made a mind map around the sleeping social movement. By listing out all the problems we care about and interested in, the map help us have a full image of sleeping industry.


We categorize everything we came up with related to sleeping industry into six topics:

WHAT  is the problem

WHY it matters

WHEN does it happen/effect on users' behaviors

WHO are the users

WHERE does it happen

HOW we could solve the problem

Problem Statement

After a rough research, we decided to focus on sleep quality.


Many people falter under pressure and suffer from lack of sleep, leading to poor health, low productivity, and depression. However, in modern culture, improper sleep habits are sometimes a point of pride.


How might we improve people's sleep quality and help them inform a good sleep habit?

Why it matters


Lack of sleep is destroying people's health

In U.S., 40% get less than recommended amount of sleep. An average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942. Lack of sleep leads to poor health, low productivity, and depression.



Waking provides the worst experience in the begining of the day

Most of our interviewees have problems with getting up in the morning.  It always causes bad mood, such as "morning anger", even worse, people bring the negative emotions to their work place or school.



Bad moods to work causes Economic damages

Dissatisfaction, anger, and boredom felt by workers hurts the economy. It also costs the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion per annum.



There is great potential in sleeping industry

$32.4 billion Sleep industry estimated market

31% increase Sleep aid sales

Nearly 70% of surveyed office workers failed to meet daily physical activity guidelines


User Research

We collected the current problems people have with sleeping experience and categorized them into four groups based on the timeline.


"Waking in the morning is the most miserable time in my day."


Most of our interviewees have problems with getting up in the morning. But what makes waking a miserable experience is due to a bad sleep quality. Based on the rough user journey, we found that the biggest reason is they go to bed too late.


Two main reasons that people go to sleep late is:


People attend to sleep late. From the interviews and the observations, we found that many young users procrastinate to sleep. They spend time browsing social networks, watching shows and playing games.


People who have problems falling asleep. Some people are hard to fall asleep because their brain are still too excited to sleep and sleep disorders.


Daytime Habits


Eat before sleep

Not sleep on time

Work late

Bed Time


Afraid of darkness

Have problems falling asleep

Attend to sleep late

Being disturbed



Sleep walking / talking


Diseases / Bed wetting



Parents with  baby to take care of

Hard to get up

Get up at different times

User Groups

People who used to sleep late, but want to have good sleeping habits.

People who have difficulty falling asleep (except sleep disease patients)

Sleep partners who have

diffenrent bedtimes.

People who have loved ones that have bad sleeping habits.



People have bad waking experience.

People don't get enough sleep.

People go to bed / fall asleep late.

How Might We

help users inform a good sleeping habit and convince them to go to bed on time?


Market Research

We did a research about the existing products on the market in order to locate our product in the sleeping industry. We picked up two groups of words to describe the core characters of competitors.


Self- awareness:  They are user-friendly, make you aware of your body conditions with data and information but on the other hand, based on our experience and product review, they are not giving enough push to help people change their habits.

Aggressive:  They are very effective and funny that make people want to try it at the first place. As user keeps using it in daily life, the way that they make people have to get up on time is annoying.


Smart and Low-tech: We picked up this pair of words due to class requirements and the trend of smart home devices.

state of the art


We placed our product in between self-awareness and aggressive with high technology. Changing behavior and inform new habit is challenging. We set up the goal to


We want our design to rise people's attention and convince them to actually take actions,  in a friendly way.


It uses smart technology to empower people's everyday life. At the same time, we want to invisible the technology to create a more natural and pleasant experience.


Yawning is Contagious

We yawn when we are sleepy.


Yawning is a signal sent by our own body, telling us we are sleepy and tired.


Yawning is contigagious. We can be infected by hearing / seeing the word "yawn", looking at yawning pictures of both human and animals.




Communicate with users by infecting them to yawn.


Fun chatacter


High-tech function


Sleeping condition tracing

Yawnie is a reminder or alarm that attempts to persuade the user to behave counter to its bad habits. Based on how many feel about morning alarms, products like this are not ordinarily loved. Therefore, Yawnie must somehow be different and more endearing, but coming up with a way for Yawnie to communicate with users is our biggest design challenge. Our decision was to give Yawnie fun character traits rather than high-tech functions so it could engage in a more friendly manner with users, specifically the ability to yawn. We know yawning can be spread through the sound of yawning, seeing or hearing the word, looking at a picture, or even seeing the yawns of animals like cats.

User Journey 1

User Journey 2



Yawn like a machine

Yawn like human

Corlor and Shape

To strenthen the impression of sleepy, Yawnie's shape is reffered to sleeping hat.


We chose the light purple as our brand color as it reminds people of sleeping.

How it functions


In effect, Yawnie is only prompting the user's own body to recognize its tiredness, not really acting as a traditional alarm. Yawnie's system of friendly reminders gets the job done. If a user ignores Yawnie, it will eventually go to bed by itself and send that user a goodnight message. In an early prototype, Yawnie had flexible legs that allowed it to fall down on the table and sleep when the user did not respond.



Just for fun, we designed the prototype to snore bubbles out of its nose. If the app shows the user's sleep habits are not improving, Yawnie will register fatigue. In the prototype, Yawnie began looking tired, with big black circles under its eyes; in the final version, we visualized the extreme fatigue with the app instead.



As a physical object, Yawnie links to an app, so users track sleep conditions and plan out a healthy sleeping schedule to develop good habits.


Set up alarm

Trace your sleeping conditions during the night

Plan out sleeping schedule


Data visualization

Yawnie refelects your body condition:

Yawnie has digital emoji faces to reflect your ennergy based on your sleeping condition


Chatting mode: give you suggestion as a friend

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