Better Sleep through Haptics

How might oscillatory stimuli be used to help people have higher quality sleep experiences? We are gathering data about the use of vibrations to help people fall asleep.

Vibrations are relaxing -- but might they be able to help people fall asleep faster? For instance, imagine a hospital bed that could help patients fall asleep -- or, a regular bed, for that matter. As the father of a 1 year old, I’d sign up for the crib version! Or, airlines might offer vibrating seats that could help passengers lull off to sleep. 

Intuitively, some vibration patterns are better for alerting users (e.g., a loud “bzzt. bzzt. bzz.”) while other patterns are likely to be better for sleeping (perhaps a low, rumbling “thdrdddrdddrrr...”). To validate these intuitions, our research group is now collecting data from participants as they rate various vibrations on different experiential scales (e.g., “On a scale of 1-10, how effectively could you fall asleep with this experience?”). We are also providing a UI to allow participants to generate different vibration patterns, with the instruction to create vibrations that will help them fall asleep. We then measure how much time participants spend at particular frequencies -- and whether they fall asleep!

All Research