Parenting technology company BleepBleeps has designed a device that combines a baby monitor, sleep trainer and night light, all in the shape of a friendly face wearing a hat (+ slideshow).
The company partnered with website Mumsnet and neuroscience professor Colin Espie to create the bright orange Suzy Snooze, which helps babies and children find a sleep routine.
The device's sleep sequence function uses patterns of light and sounds to induce sleep at bedtime. Throughout the night, it can emit a warm glow to help children stay calm, and at a time set by the parents, Suzy's hat pops up to let children know it's time to wake up.
"Proper sleep plays an important role in the early development of a child, and it's our belief that learning good sleeping habits early in life will help minimise the risk of sleep disorders as adults," said Espie.
"Sleep is critical for a family's health and wellbeing, not just how much sleep your child is getting, but parents too."
BleepBleeps also worked with industrial designers Map, technology consultancy Hirsch and Mann and music producer Erol Alkan to refine the project. A Kickstarter campaign to fund Suzy Snooze began today and will run until 21 July.
"The idea for Suzy Snooze came from my own experience of trying to create different sleep routines for my children with my wife," said Tom Evans, founder of BleepBleeps. "Speaking to other new parents, it became clear that sleep is one of their primary concerns."
The device is switched on by a single activation button integrated into its hat. When the hat is pushed down, both the baby monitor and sleep trainer are activated.
The brightness of the light can be adjusted by turning the hat, and volume buttons are deliberately hidden on the base to prevent children from altering the settings.
"One of the biggest design challenges was giving Suzy Snooze facial characteristics without making her too human or cartoonish," said Map, who worked on the device's design.
To avoid this, an anthropomorphic appearance is alluded to through three shapes – two closed eyes and an open mouth – cut out from a felt band circling the device's bottom. The light sits over this base, suggesting a hat.
"Felt was selected to soften the look and feel of the design and is not just decorative; the cut-out for the mouth also functions as the hole for the microphone," said Map. "The felt band also hides the speaker holes without preventing sound loss."
Creative design for children's furniture and toys was one of the big trends at Milan design week 2016, where more brands entered the increasingly design-conscious kids' market.
"Adults are the ones buying toys, so they're the ones choosing – often projecting a lot of their own aspirations into the the toys they buy," Augustin Scott de Martinville of Swiss studio Big-Game – who designed the miniature adjustable Little Big Chair – told Dezeen at the time.