Roles: Product Design, Competitive Analysis
Timeline: February 2016 - May 2016
Tools: Sketching
Background
In 2016, I started writing down 10 ideas every day for a month. I went through the list of ~300 ideas and pulled out a handful that I thought had potential. Musillow is one of those ideas. I created this idea with the intent to license, filing a Provisional Patent in 2016 and obtaining interest from a few companies before dropping the idea to focus on software development projects and internships.
Problem
There are approximately 30-40 million people in the United States with insomnia, tinnitus, PTSD, or some condition that affects one's ability to sleep. Some people may spend hours before they finally fall asleep.
One relatively common solution is audio such as white noise, or different audio content such as books or podcasts. Trending media content like ASMR has also become mainstream in recent years, much of which is focused on sleep.
The consumption of this media to help people fall asleep faster had often been performed through devices placed out of reach and needed to be turned off manually, through hazardous cables connecting earbuds to audio devices, or uncomfortable headgear. While some devices existed, but there was a clear need for an intermediate product and/or technology that could safely and effectively help mitigate this gap.
Musillow was created for this purpose—to help people fall asleep faster, without the hazards and pitfalls of existing solutions.

Research
A large component to this project was researching existing products and reviewing international patents on similar products. I identified about 20 similar products and 15 patents on audio-based sleeping products. Screenshots of some of these products are shown below.
After reading numerous reviews, some guidelines became evident. Problems with current offerings included:
     • Batteries didn't last long enough
     • Volume was too loud/not loud enough
     • Solutions were not binaural and had poor quality audio
     • Solutions needed to be portable
     • Devices didn't have a timer
     • Solutions were not durable
Consequently, I determined a bluetooth, binaural memory-foam pillow with a rechargeable battery connected to a smartphone application would be best suitable to meet these user needs.
Ideation
Sketches
After defining user needs, I began making rough sketches of potential solutions and settled for a product resembling the sketches below after a few iterations.
Line Drawings
In order to file a provisional patent and pursue licensing, I needed to create line drawings that could explain the project. Due to my inexperience at the time, I sent my sketches to an artist to help me create the below drawings, which I later used to explain the product and dimensions in the provisional patent.
Prototyping
To test the viability of this idea and pitch as a video, I created a prototype from scratch from a cheap memory foam pillow, an elongated bluetooth speaker, and third party mobile applications on my phone.
The capsule housing the speakers in the middle was inserted through a slit in the back of the pillow. I was able to refine the dimensions during prototyping to realize the right depth such that the speaker would not be felt by the user, and to test different equalization settings such that audio was crisp and clear, despite affected acoustic dampening and absorption due to the memory foam. 
Prior experience building acoustic panels, as well as an EQ mobile application connected to the bluetooth speaker inside the device, helped me refine these settings and test the prototype.
Solution
Lastly, I hired a CAD professional on Upwork to make the final renderings and animation shown below. I used these renderings to advertise the product to companies in cold calls and in emails.
Reflection
This product was my first attempt to understand product development and the processes involved in bringing a product to market. It was an informative first exploration into analyzing competition and strategic positioning, learning the commercial undertaking behind physical products, and understanding processes in a range of topics from product design to manufacturing.
Despite my ultimate decision to focus on software, this experience introduced me to modern product development and working with individuals of different skillsets to ideate a consumer product.
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