We created a speculative design object to explore people’s relationships with their smartphones. The object is an instrumented pillow case. Each night, you lock away your phone in a slot in the pillow case. When first locked away, it makes subtle heartbeat sounds with matching lighting effects for a short period of time, just to let you know your phone is inside. During the night, if you move a lot or bump the pillow case, another brief light pattern lets you know that your phone is still inside.
Inside the pillow case is a box with the slot for the phone, and electronics to create the behaviours. The presence of a phone in the slot is detected using a microswitch. An internal battery powers the pillow case for several nights. We used this in a diary study in which participants slept with the speculative design object for three consecutive nights.