Wednesday, November 2, 2011

First Impressions: Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile

I felt quite excited when my Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile arrived in the mail yesterday. I'm definitely not a morning person, and I feel like my sleep sometimes isn't satisfying. The Zeo promises to help these problems by letting you measure sleep quality, and by ringing the alarm at a less jarring point in the sleep cycle. This particular Zeo is a headband which communicates wirelessly to a mobile device.

Since I'm a mobile app developer, I have several different devices to choose from to use as a base station for the Zeo. For my first night with the Zeo, I chose to use my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Google IO edition, what what!).

Fitting the headband wasn't too hard once I figured out that it could be adjusted with little velcro tabs hidden behind sock-like padding. The instructions in app were not very clear on how that worked. I thought I had an abnormally large head until I figured out the trick.

The first night went well, although I woke to loosen the head band several times to make it more comfortable. The band is comfortable and light once it is adjusted -- at least that is what one night of data tells me.

When I woke in the morning, I found that my Tab's screen was on (but black). I unlocked the device and the Zeo app was showing a nice chart of my sleep.

Oddly the Zeo never seemed to register me being awake at any point in the night -- I distinctly remember adjusting the head band several times. Also, it didn't register that I was awake at the beginning or end of my sleep period.

I tapped the sleep chart hoping to get an enlargement or more detail. Instead of that, the app crashed. I repeated this crash several times. The version 1.0 blues, I suppose. The good news is that I scored a ZW of 94 last night.

Tonight, I have started using the iPad 2 version of the Zeo app. Like the Android app, I was prompted to pair the head band with bluetooth. After succeeding with the pairing, I returned to the Zeo app. The app was unchanged: it still insisted that I pair the headband with my iPad. Huh.

I returned to the settings screen and verified that I was paired. Check. I returned to the Zeo app -- it still gave instructions on pairing. The app offered no buttons to continue, so I killed the Zeo app and restarted. Success! The app now recognized the headband.

Next I decided to sync the iPad app with the service. I entered my credentials, and got a infinitely-long spinny ring for my trouble (note: I didn't actually wait forever). Like before, I killed the app, restarted, and the app seemed to have linked with the service.

Ok, I'm clearly an early adopter here. This thing has tons of issues, but also lots of potential. Here are my suggestions for the Zeo team:

  • Find and squish the crashes and hangs on the Android and iPad. You can rent devices if necessary. I would go through the initial pairing process 100 times per platform at least.
  • Rent a usability lab for a week and have normal people set up a Zeo from box to bed without any guidance. You'll learn a ton -- and everyone will have fun if you do it right.
  • Explain the headband resizing thing with either a ton of photos or a video in the app.
  • Figure out some way to calibrate the Zeo for people who it thinks are never awake. Or maybe that is another bug. Zzzzz.
  • Tell the users that the charger base magnetically attaches to the headband. I was confused (possibly because the magnets are weaker than those used in the magsafe connectors). Photos or videos go a long way.
  • Provide some more real-time feedback in-app when the user is wearing the headband. I want to see my brain doing things!
  • Tell the user a story, or at least walk them down the path of using the app for a week or month. Put it right in the app.
A lot of these suggestions apply to any app or consumer electronics device these days. If you make apps, you can definitely learn from Zeo.

That's all for now. I look forward to trying the Zeo with my iPad 2 tonight. I expect that the Zeo experience will improve a lot once the device has been on the market for more than a few hours.


Andi@Zeo said...

Hi John,

I came across your review in Zeo's Twitter feed this morning and I wanted to say Thanks for your honest concise review of Zeo Mobile.

I though it was so good that I shared it with our internal development team, to let them know how new users are experiencing the product - and what we need to build to make your experience even better.

With regards to Zeo scoring sleep stages (including wake), you might enjoy this presentation by our Steve Fabregas, our in-house scientist.

Anyway, I really wanted to say thanks for your review and I look forward to reading more!


John said...

Nice post on the "out of the box" experience.

I also have a Zeo and use its alarm clock style base station. The good news here is that it seems quite accurate with respect to wake time. Also, once you're registered online you can sign up for coaching and you get regular emails about how to proceed.

So I can't really relate to your setup issues. But hopefully you'll get them figured out. The data you get from the Zeo is interesting.

But 94? Are you kidding? My average is about 72.

WindAddict said...

Thanks Andi,

I appreciate the nice comment! I'll check out the presentation.

I have one bit of good news: the Zeo registered my awake moments when I used the iPad2 as the base station. I don't think the iPad 2 caused it to work -- I think that maybe the granularity of the graphs just didn't allow me to see the "awake" periods on my first night. Maybe I'll write up more notes later.

WindAddict said...

Thanks John,

Maybe my 94 was beginners luck? :)

Even with only 3 nights of data (and these issues), I'm already starting to become engaged. It turns out that sleep is fascinating!

mumie said...

Hi John, Zeo mobile working for me on Samsung Galaxy W (GT-I8150). There is Android 2.3.5 GingerBread.
Not working on Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi. There is Android 3.2 Honeycomb (after update). Every time "force close/report" message. I send mail to Zeo (today), I am waiting. Yes, I update headband.
Any hints for my Tab?
Thanks and "deep sleep"

P.S. My score is 64, 94, 67. Zeo detect my waketime properly.

WindAddict said...

Hi mumie,

Have you seen my update? The Zeo seems to work fine on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 now, although I do have to turn the bluetooth off and on again to attach the headband between sleep cycles.

You might try uninstalling the Zeo app on your Tab and then installing it again. Restarting the Tab might help too, but I don't really know. I haven't seen your problem since updating the app and the Zeo firmware.

Good luck!