Experiment Two: Zephyr


Concept Statement

Zephyr is inspired by my childhood morning routine of sleeping in until the last possible second until my mom – whose patience was wearing incredibly thin – would warn us that if we didn’t wake up, she’d throw a bucket of water on us. She never did, of course, but the dread of being doused in freezing cold water was alarming enough to promptly get us out of bed. However, the temptation to continue sleeping through all your alarms – no matter how jarring – persists. I’ve realised though, that external stimulants – like my mom’s warnings – can in fact, be extremely effective.

Working towards a gentler, more soothing stimulant, I gravitated towards activating our sense of smell to help bring us out of sleep. Our sense of smell is an important, and often disregarded, factor in having a good night’s sleep [1]. Aromatherapy is often used to ensure both a restful night, and a refreshing start in the morning. This project utilises our sense of smell and essential oils, to bring you out of sleep in a serene manner.

Triggered by your first alarm, the machine is activated – opening up the container of essential oils, and starting up the fan that disperses the scent around your space. This fanning action continues until the user has awoken, and has drawn their blinds, thus letting in the sunlight necessary to halt movement, and reset the machine. In using scents, a calming environment is created which in turn can boost our energy and mood

final images




Experience Video // How it Works Video

[Note: for the experience video, the day I was filming was extremely gloomy, so a lot of the video is pretty dark, and I had to substitute the sun with the ceiling light. I will re-film the video when the sun comes out again!]

Calm Technology Principles

The two Calm Technology principles that I’ve implemented are:

1.Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity

Zephyr was designed to perform in the shadows, and to awaken the user with a sense of calm and serenity. With the majority of its work being done while the user is asleep, the machine itself brings about no attention to it or it’s function, but instead quietly transforms the space for the user with little to no direct interaction. With the addition of a catch-all space, zephyr allows itself to be multi-functional, and is then able to serve the needs of the user even when it is not operating.

2.Technology should make use of the periphery

Keeping with its minimal aesthetic, zephyr can literally blend into the dark of night, and requires only the indirect action of drawing their blinds for it to fulfill its purpose. Thus, the user is not responding to the machine itself, but just continues their process of waking up. In doing so, the machine is not necessarily perceived by the user, instead the effects of its work (i.e., the scent that lingers) shapes the atmosphere that impacts the user, and their mood.

Process and Development

circuit diagram


process images


img_6600  img_6602

links to process and development videos

cc-process-img-for-vid1  cc-process-img-for-vid2

Arduino Code  



[1] Suni, E. (2020, October 23). Smell and Sleep: How Scents Can Afect Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/how-smell-affects-your-sleep#:~:text=Because of the power of,psychological and physiological responses2.