James Proud, founder of Hello, set out to change the way we think about sleep. “Sleep. We spent a third of our lives doing it. Each day is dependent on it. But we still neglect it,” says James. He founded Hello as a combination hardware and software company to help people understand how conditions in the the bedroom impact sleep.
Sense, by Hello, is a simple system that tracks your sleep behavior, monitors the environment of your bedroom, and reinvents the alarm. The team launched a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, raising over $2.4 million by 19,000 backers.
The system is comprised of three distinct parts. Sense sits on your nightstand to monitor conditions in the bedroom: noise, light, temperature, particulates in the air, and other disturbances. The Sleep Pill clips to your pillow, tracking your activity throughout the night. Finally, the mobile app ties it all together and includes a smart alarm to wake you up at the right time.
When the team began designing Sense, they set tight constraints: create a beautiful object that feels at home on your nightstand while working seamlessly with the complicated technology inside. They wanted to create an object that, even if it did nothing more than look pretty, people would be still be happy to display in their bedroom.
As opposed to more typical tech products, “it’s much harder to design a device that feels at home sitting beside your bed every day,” says Industrial Designer Rob. To complement something as natural as sleep, the team decided on an organic, nest-like structure.
They pulled initial inspiration from architecture, as they saw how “a single design could be wrapped around an entire structure and lit up in ways that illuminates a whole building with a beautiful glow.”
To achieve a similar effect, the team created hundreds of prototypes. The 3D printer, which ran 24/7 for months, has spent over 1500 hours and 16,000 grams of resin developing parts.
In addition to logistical challenges (the 3D printer broke down at least 17 times), the CAD modeling itself proved to be challenging. To get the exact look they wanted, the team actually wrote their own software to build an algorithmic modeling program just for Sense. From there, the team moved to a parametric modeling program to focus on the details. The outer shell was created with 2,745 lines, manually edited in order to manufacture it as one solid piece.
A total of 90 individual pieces make up Sense, all designed to fit seamlessly together and tested extensively for durability. “It’s like a beautiful puzzle fitting together perfectly to become strong, sturdy, and to protect everything inside,” says Mechanical Engineer Rosalie. “Objects shouldn’t just be designed to look good, they should be designed to last.”
“We’re a team of designers, engineers and operations experts who collectively have built products and services that millions of people around the world use and like.”