Canvaz Design Studio

Design Exercises

Design Exercises is a series of case studies about potential improvements, products or services. These are suggestions based on the improvement of user experience and overall interface. All comments and feedback are more than welcome. Let it rain!

Design Exercises 2 | harman/kardon Smart Home

You're sleeping less,  getting busier and busier and weekends are just a couple of hours gap until new weekly cycle kicks in again. This means than you're on right path, being a parent and having a full time job sounds a lot harder than it is and as everything else, just requires adapting, optimizing routines and making sure you do not miss the important parts of your day, both as parent and worker.

With technology getting more intrusive on everyones lives, trying to replace and "simplify" everything I find myself, an interaction designer, working for and against me. Its a thin line between what is helpful and what is just making us lazier.  We need to be very clear on which situations and actions need assistance and which are the ones that we should not consider replacing for any kind of parenting.

Well this is just a personal point of view to justify and explain some of the decisions made on this next exercise that first was triggered by an awesome email/challenge by Harman regarding smart home  and I'd like to think the key part here is the "smart"...  

This particular concept was developed thinking on how to improve, optimize and use the available resources to turn an awesome experience of bedtime story reading into something out of this world (for your kids at least) and thus "Bedtime Stories" by harman/kardon was born. Not to replace your role as parent reading to your child (that is easy but just not right) but to make that experience live and amplify the impact on the going to bed experience trying to make them look forward for that moment.


The harman/kardon “Bedtime Stories”  is a new smart home experience that reinvents bedtime storytelling and enhances the reading routines by creating a synchronized surrounding, audio and lighting, experience. Every story has its own specific settings and the example used is the “To the Sea” story by Cale Atkinson.

In this specific story we are using a combination of ocean sounds with some white noise FX and whale chants react to and evolve with the progression of the story. In parallel we are using a Philips hue with (upgraded) that projects and recreates the night sky mixing it up with elements that appear during the story. This is a dynamic experience that is adapted to each specific story illustrating and creating the environment inside your room, evolving and adapting with every page turn.

This experiment uses the Onyx Studio3 and a reinvented Philips Hue Go projector.



When talking about Smart Home products and services we found that there is an overall acceptance and excitement around the possibilities of Smart home and an intent on purchase.

“In just 12 months, we’ve seen a rise in the level of excitement about the smart home with millennials (79%) and parents (76%) leading the pack, and 50% of the overall population excited about the technology. Intent to purchase smart home technology is quickly following suit, with 50% of people saying they plan to buy at least one smart home product in the next year (U.S. intent is slightly higher at 54%).”

Security is one of the top drivers but Entertainment is a growing trend that is turning into one of the reasons for the early adoption.

“Nearly half of consumers (45%)in this year’s survey list the ability to remotely control and/or monitor their TV and sound systems as one of the top reasons to purchase a smart home system.”

This way we decided to pursue the parent niche market with the entertainment reach using the bedtime storytelling in its traditional way but recreating the remaining environment using  bluetooth connected speakers from Harman/Kardon and lighting projection from Philipps all controlled but the reading speed and page flip on your mobile device.


The “Bedtime Stories” App is a simplified version of a bookshelf focusing mostly on content display simple and setting to regulate and control the connected devices used for this experience.

Your home screen is your library and all the available devices around you. You can preview the available stories and If you don’t have any or just want to upgrade your storytelling experience you’ll be able to jump into the store and see all available content for purchase.



This particular example uses a 2 speaker setup and one projector but can easily be replicated through the entire house with Smart Home Audio and even allow everyone, or just another room where your other kids are, to listen and live this story.

This example was created for a niche market than can easily be adapted to any kind of reading experience as long as the “books” are ready for this.




When you select your story you are prompted into the intro screen with instruction and default audio/lighting settings that you can easily adjust. This combines the sound volume projector light intensity and room lighting.




To experience the best results there is a synchronization with reading speed and the audio/light projections using some old school “karaoke” behaviour and the possibility to adjust its speed, turn Playback on and even a fade out timer that allows you to keep the audio and light fading out for the amount of time you define.

This experience can also be recreated for all kinds of reading like your afternoon thriller, night time novel or any category you prefer.


I hope you have enjoyed the concept t, maybe you'll make use of this in the near future or have any ideas on how to add in some extra features to make it more complete, on my side I'm testing this at home with  DIY prototype and will let you all know the feedback form whom this concerns, children are the best target market...honest and lay it all out for you as they softening so if it does not work I'll know in 5 sec.



On the Next Design Exercise we are going to get our hands dirty with some CAR UI see you then. 

Thank you

Canvaz Design Studio