eos smart pillow

A smarter way to sleep.

Eos' alarm begins to gently but effectively wake this sleeper.

Eos' alarm begins to gently but effectively wake this sleeper.


2 Weeks

Circuit construction


Research has shown artificial dawn alarms to reduce “sleep inertia”, the period of grogginess following waking. Additionally, sleepers are relying more and more on their mobile phones for checking the time and setting alarms which can disrupt sleep for a variety of reasons. I approached the following questions:

1. How do I provide the most comfortable and effective waking experience?

2. How can I provide the functionality of a clock at night that reduces sleep interruptions?


This project goal was to create a functional prototype addressing the design questions.


Our team reviewed sleep literature and distributed a survey to try and understand sleeping habits of respondents. The survey was created using Google Forms and our literature review was trying to understand what color lights to use in which circumstances to achieve our goals of either gently waking our users or preventing their sleep from being disrupted when checking the time in the middle of the night.



Pillow Sketches

The ideation process was quick revolved around objects already found in the rooms of those surveyed. I used individual sketching and group ideation techniques. Possible solutions evolved to be:

  • Desk lamp
  • Standing lamp
  • Throw or personal pillow
  • Lights behind the headboard of a bed

Sketches exploring possible solutions

Mobile Application Sketches

Select sketches for the Eos mobile app.

After deciding on the pillow direction, I created a mobile interface for setting alarms for Eos. I began by sketching interface concepts. I took cues from well designed existing alarm solutions and paired this with standard usability practices to establish my app design goals:

  • Feel similar to existing alarm apps
  • Display connection status and battery of pillow
  • Allow multiple alarms for different days of the week
  • Allow setting colors the colors of the alarm lights
  • Turn on and off haptic alarms


The Pillow

The final product is a hand sewn pillow two Arduinos, a flexible baseboard with the LED arrays mounted to it. The pillow stuffing serves to diffuse the light from the LEDs. A wake cycle demo is programmed into the Arduinos which simulates an expedited alarm sequence. First, the lights uniformly change from off to a deep blue, which then fades into a bright white. This white then fades into an orange white twinkle imitating twilight at the time the user sets their alarm. If they have not been gently roused from their sleep, the vibration motors engage to provide a physical alarm along with an orange pulsing, until the user flips their pillow over to silence the alarm.

An abstract clock is on the side of the pillow is engaged by a soft potentiometer, resulting in activation by touch.

The Mobile Application

I created a mockup of the application in Sketch and animated it in Principle. 

The mobile application is designed to be very similar to the iOS clock application so users feel familiar with the interface from the start. First, the pillow is connected to the app interface. Next, the alarm is set. The options available compliment the abilities of the LEDs and motors, and allow the user to select:

  • The time
  • Days of the week for the alarm to be active
  • The alarm color(s)
  • Haptic feedback
  • How long the alarm will start to gently wake before the desired time

By tapping the alarm, the app previews the wake cycle.

Add an alarm flow.

Eos app icon created as a part of my 100 days of UI challenge. Check out the rest here!


Evaluation was limited to casual testing of light brightness, vibration intensity and discussions of usefulness. This project could move forward into a product launch given the following:


  • I would need at least a software engineer to code the clock setting interface and a hardware engineer to ensure the pillow's hardware would be production ready and meet various safety codes.

Hardware improvements

  • Redesign the brain of the system by using one single Raspberry Pi Zero or custom printed circuit board to control the lights, which would also allow the system to understand what time it was.
  • Remove flexible baseboard in favor of LEDs connected with conductive thread, allowing them to float freely and making the pillow far more comfortable.

Software testing

  • I have not yet tested the application with users. User testing would be very important to make sure the application is as intuitive as I have hoped. 


  • Kickstarter or another crowd funding platform would be ideal for gaining traction and funding.
pillow animation.gif