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Soothing Bedside Oil Lamp

Fall 2020
DSID 128
Team project with Bao Tu & Sam Vizcaya
Role: CAD, Rendering, Animation, CMF (Ideation, modelmaking, research, and interviews was done together as a group)

Today, many are plagued with poor sleeping habits coming from many different sources. Sleep is a crucial need for our brain to grow and stay healthy. 

MLO is a soothing bedside table oil lamp that helps people relax before going to bed.


It does this by providing some natural light before bed which allows melatonin production, and sleep chemicals to continue through unwinding. 

Image by Annie Spratt

Poor Nighttime Habits lead to Poor Sleep

Constant Stress

Artificial Lights

Coming from work, school, or normal everyday life. Stress and anxiety keep you from falling asleep quickly by keeping your mind active.

Artificial light and blue light trigger alertness in the brain and reduce the production of melatonin in the brain.

Modern Distractions

Smart devices act as a distraction due to their ability to reel someone in and keep them online for a long time.

Talking to Sleep Dr. Kram

After interviewing a group of users and finding the most common pain points, we went out and interviewed Dr. Kram, a leading expert in sleep research in the Bay Area, to hear about what methods are most effective to help the users we interviewed.


 Dr Kram told us that "to help those with sleep problem, the light dimmer is the most powerful too, as is winding down to continue the production of melatonin in the body."


Throughout our process, we focused on 3 main themes to help us guide us. These themes were based on what was the most effective way to help people with sleep along with keeping a simple user experience. Those themes were: meditative, behavioral, and devices.

Average person begins to produce Melatonin

Stress from school does not allow for time to slow down before bed.


8:00 PM

Homework/ Study 


9:00 PM

Eat Dinner

10:00 PM

Back to doing more hw or web surfing

12:00 AM

Begins to get ready for bed and goes to sleep at 1:00 AM

Artificial cool-tone lights trigger alertness in the brain

Having an inconsistent sleep schedule may cause a disruption in sleep rhythm

Base Routine

With all the information we created a base routine and added the pain points to understand when things happen and we can think about how to prevent them.


Top Concepts

We choose our top 3 based on what best fits our criteria. We went ahead and prototyped them all to showcase how they would be used and tried to use them for a day. By doing this we were able to knock out some ideas and find possible problems with each concept. 

Putting it to the test

After living with them for a day, there was a clear favorite and proved to fit better into a person's life. There were aspects from other concepts that were also proved useful so we tried to add the best ones to the direction chosen. 


Figuring out the details

Moving forward with the bedside concept, we moved on to improve how it's used, how it works, the scale, and the intended experience. We tested by incorporating them into our rituals and seeing what was working and what wasn't. We also aimed for low-tech solutions to remove unnecessary complexity.

Refining Controls

Here we are trying to cut down on the number of controls and make them as easy as possible to use. We found the use of a dial was effective for a user to figure out how to use the product and as a control. We also found that pulling and releasing at a height was a sure way to set times to wind and reduce build complexity.

Final Design



Oil Dampers

Oil dampers allows for a slow and smooth drop down the side tracks

Glass Chimney 

Chimney allows for an abstract way of bending light and also sits on for easy removal 


The dial make it easy to raise and lower the wick height for easy lighting and light intensity control

Leather Strap

The leather strap allows for a satisfying material to hold that is not as heat conductive as metal.

Frosted Glass Canopy

Frosted glass diffuses light when it rolls down for a smoother transition of light and is easier to clean. 

How to use

Lifting the top makes the wick accessible. Light wick with lighter and change height with the dial for intensity control. Overtime the canopy will lower itself until it reaches the bottom, putting out the flame.

In Action

Thank you!

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