At the 14th of November 2017, we launched our Kickstarter, an exciting moment for all of us. But we didn’t get her in a day. Lots of exciting moments happened in the past 2 years after Julian, Job, Wouter and Stijn met each other for the first time. Read our story here. Have fun!
1st of September 2015, Robotics Lab, Delft University of Technology
We, Wouter, Julian, Job and Stijn, met each other for the first time in the robotics institute of the Delft University of Technology. In 6 months time, we took on the challenge to develop a robot. But we approached it from a different angle: we set out not to develop the stereotypical rough, cold industrial robot but rather a soft, cuddly one. Meanwhile, we saw family members and friends suffer from sleep deprivation. Some of them tried ‘solutions’, but these were far from ideal and unable to truly help them. That’s when we decided to develop something that would actually make a difference.
28th of January 2016, Faculty of Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology
Our first prototype is finished. With a real-life breathing simulation, relaxing music, and a comfortable feel we proudly presented our first prototype to the world! With a huggable robot appropriate for the size of an average Dutch guy, we made quite an impression. In the following weeks, we got dozens of emails of people wanting to test our prototype and even the Dutch media showed some interest in it: Vice, RTL, AD, BNR, and many other contacted us to for interviews.
28th of June 2016, Main Hall, Yes!Delft Incubator
We decided to pause our studies to fully focus on Somnox. After an intense planning session at Julian’s home, we scheduled a meeting with Yes!Delft, the no. 4 Tech Incubator of Europe. That’s where we first heard of the EIT Health Launchlab, a pressure cooker that could help us build a business plan around our idea. Seven days later we were selected, woohoo! After 3 months of entrepreneurial workshops, projects, and a road trip through Europe, it was time to work towards our Kickstarter. But first, we needed an office and of course some resources to fulfill our dream of bringing sleep to many.
3rd of February 2017, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Time for some testing! At the beginning of 2017, it was time to put our sleep robot up to the test. A new prototype was developed, just focussing on a silent, realistic, breathing rhythm, to see how people responded. 15 lucky test sleepers had the chance to try out one of our earlier prototypes. With the feedback from this testing round we had lots to work on, but we knew we were on the right track. We found out it had to be smaller, softer, more silent and we need to include music. That was the start of eventual months of testing and iteration.
14th of November 2017, All over the world!
After finishing our latest prototypes, building 10 sleep robots, and successfully accomplishing our latest testing round, we now need your help. Support our Kickstarter and together we can bring the world better sleep! Visit our Kickstarter here: Click here!
After two months of die-hard developing and iterating to work towards a good testable prototype we finally managed to do this 2 weeks ago. After some thorough stress testing by the team, it was time to put it up to the test. Five lucky fans were chosen to sleep with our newest prototype for two nights, to get a first impression and give some feedback.
We’ll handle the feedback later, first, we would like to tell you something about our newest prototype. As you might know, it’s quite important to have a silent bedroom when you’re trying to sleep. When the neighbors are watching a loud movie or playing music it can be really annoying. That’s why it’s so important that the sleep robot has to be very very silent. This was our biggest challenge, and after lots of prototyping, we finally managed to do this!
So, what were the results of the first testing? Well, the first thing we noticed was that people didn’t know if the sleep robot was turned on or off when they had it in bed. It doesn’t seem like it, but this was actually really great news! This meant the noise the sleep robot made was so low, people couldn’t hear that it was on. Great!
But this meant some improvements were necessary as well, to let the user know the sleep robot is on. After each test sleeper, we decided to improve the prototype. So after the first one, we included lights to let the user know it’s breathing or not. Next, we improved the expansion of the breathing so you could feel it better, we changed the colors of the lights and we introduced music as well!
Aren’t we forgetting about something? Perhaps the most important thing: did they fall asleep faster? The answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for now. Because of the user interaction problems, in the beginning, we couldn’t conclude much about this topic. But what we see, after improvements, from the last few test sleepers is an upgoing line: a shorter time to fall asleep. Of course, the amount of test sleepers is not significant for now, but the first results are promising.
Review from a testsleeper
Marian, one of the testsleepers from last week, shares her experience with the Somnox sleep robot by the following review:
“Last week I got the chance to try out Somnox for 2 nights. I’m a very bad sleeper: falling asleep takes me an hour or longer most of the times and I wake up 3-4 times per night as well. So I was very curious if the Somnox could help me in some way.
After a clear instruction from Stijn, I set up the Somnox on a breathing frequency that felt comfortable for me. This was all easily done with the supplied smartphone. The Somnox felt quite heavy and firmly. First I thought this wouldn’t be pleasant, but it actually was. Due to its weight, the Somnox lays firmly on my mattress and it stays there. The shape is pleasant to hold. By tapping twice on the Somnox it turns on and I feel the breathing rhythm on my arms. This calms me down and I really fell asleep in 15 minutes. Magnificent!
So I wake up a few times per night, start to worry and then I want to turn on the Somnox again. But that didn’t work, the battery was empty, that was unfortunate. I think that at those moments I will fall asleep faster as well if Somnox would work through the night. I have given this as feedback to Stijn.
I’m curious for the further development of Somnox, if it’s on the market I’minterested for sure in buying one.”
In the upcoming weeks we’ll test with more and more lucky testsleepers and improve our prototype. If the prototype is totally user friendly and ready to rock, we’ll start the big testing round!
Stay up to date, follow our progress and maybe you’ll wake up with a robot one day!