“Unwinding” is when tension and stress are reduced through relaxation in order to prepare for bed. It is commonly associated with meditation practices. Neru is aimed at supporting this process by using a smart hourglass to guide users through their evening routine. Deliberately taking time for these activities aids in preparation for going to bed, both mentally and physically. Neru proposes a connected product-service ecosystem with the purpose of supporting the winding down process. This ecosystem features a physical hourglass, which is connected to operate under various contexts. The hourglass can start, stop and regulate the flow of time by altering the size of the center channel.
Neru sluit heel goed aan bij de innovatie-roadmap van Auping. Onregelmatige bedtijden en onrust voor het slapengaan zijn twee van de meest belangrijke barrières voor een goede nachtrust. Neru help op een mooie fysieke manier bij het creëren van regelmaat en rust en bewust worden van deze aspecten.”
Researcher Sustainability, Sleep & Ergonomics
Royal Auping BV
Unhealthy Evening Routines
The project started with a simple self test where we used post-its to structure and time our routine. This taught us about the effect of routine design and activity timing in relation to unwinding. Next, based on the insights of the self test, a full scale user test was conducted. For the test we’ve built a web application which helped structure evening routines by placing QR stickers in the house. The QR stickers activated a timer in the web application when scanned. The test data was used to build a functional prototype of a physical timer inspired on an hourglass. This prototype was deployed in the home of several participants.
After the deployments we combined the learnings from the cases with ideas for the art direction. We created a prototype that communicated the aesthetics and interaction we envisioned. This prototype was made from handblown glass and more than a million steel ballbearings of 1mm. The charging dock was made of mahogany and the base stations where 3D printed.
Functional prototype instruction video
Crafting the hourglass
To demonstrate the functions of the product in a smart home context, a model house was built. The model house was rested with sensors and actuators that simulated activities and data-flows. By integrating multiple projects in the model house, data was used as a material to design emerging functionalities with other functions in the house.
Neru was presented at the Dutch Design Week 2019 at the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven and is now exhibited in the ID Hall of Fame at the TU/e
Project by: Lei Nelissen, Stijn Oude Lenferink, Axel van Boxtel in conjunction with Royal Auping BV and TU/e.