Life at home has become a little bit more hectic recently, especially when the boundaries between work and personal life start to blur. For many people, home no longer offered a sanctuary away from business or social stresses, at least in terms of physical location. That doesn’t have to be the case, of course, even when work-from-home arrangements are still in effect. One can always take time and space to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of life if only we had effective reminders to do so within the day. Alarm clocks are too easy to dismiss, especially those on our phones or watches, which is why this smart home device tries to offer visual and audio cues that try to get people to take a few calming breaths before going about their busy day again.
Designer: JiaYan Li
When people think about trying to relax at home, they will most likely think of activities like meditation or soaking in a tub. While those definitely work, you don’t exactly have to go that far to put yourself in a calmer and less frantic state. A few minutes or even seconds of breathing can do wonders, giving your body and especially your brain the needed oxygen while also giving you momentary space to get some clarity.
While breathing is, of course, natural for us humans, such controlled and mindful breathing exercises aren’t. Until it becomes second nature, we’ll always need some cues and guides to help us on our way, no matter how subtle those hints are. That’s what the YIYI interactive relaxation companion tries to accomplish in your home, or in any space for that matter. As a bonus, it also functions as a piece of wall decor that’s sure to grab guests’ attention.
YIYI is pretty much a rounded rectangle with two slow-spinning circles on each end. The slow rotation of discs can be likened to the rising and setting of the sun or, more closely, the rhythmic act of breathing in and out. The discs’ wavy design and fogged translucent material, matched with the soft glow of lights underneath, try to create a soft and calming visual that’s intended to help people enter a relaxed state unconsciously.
In addition to this almost hypnotic movement, the device also offers appropriate sounds to further induce that relaxed state. YIYI also has some interactive modes, where people can greet the device or simply pass it by, and it will greet the person in return. It can also detect ambient sounds to adjust its operation, like starting its meditative spinning when it analyzes that there is too much stress-inducing noise around.
Some might consider it overkill to dedicate precious wall space to something that might only be used sparingly throughout the day, but one can’t take for granted how humans need such visual and audio reminders to be able to switch their focus. Since it doubles as an interesting piece of decor, it also strikes two birds with one stone. Maybe one day, people in the household will no longer need those cues, but YIYI will still be there to guide them whenever they need it again.