Sunday, 28 February 2010


Yesterday, myself and Steph went to Falkirk Wood to find some wood for our final products. I could of bought the whole shop but limited myself to 3 elm logs and a very large ash log. I hope to be able to use these logs in my final design... fingers crossed!

Test Button

I have designed my device to include a test button to allow the user to determine if they have set up the beak correctly. I originally started with a push button; so when the button is pressed, it would 'peck' for 5 seconds only.

However, for the purposes of the degree show i have changed this to a toggle switch. This will keep the beak 'pecking' until switched off. This will help in translating my product without having to wait for the correct alarm time.

PCB making

I have made PCB boards to replace my breadboard and make it compatible with inserting safely and accurately in my product.

1. The solenoid PCB circuit:

2. The main PCB circuit:

Now that i have designed it, my next stage is to laser print it and solder the components in.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Barking Mad

I am following up my design idea to use a log complete with bark as my final product. I feel this way, i can learn the possible flaws with using a log...

>insert image<

The difficulties of using a log are as follows:
  1. How dried the log is and needs to get. If it is too damp, i can't work it and if it gets too dry too quickly it will produce massive cracks.
  2. If i cut a parallel line, it can be moved as the log is always moving and changing.
  3. the bark will probably fall off....
  4. needs to be hollowed out
  5. needs to contain electrical components
I have a tough challenge ahead!

Monday, 22 February 2010


I have been busy all week developing the form of my device and this is where i am at...

As you can see in my earlier posts, my form is taking shape based on my solenoid. By testing my options, it became clear that using the solenoid as the head of the bird, the solenoid piston can become the beak. This is the most effective sound produced.

It has been a hard week. I was very much hung on the fact that the solenoid will be a bird / beak. Most of my forms are birds on various boxes.

My device has been quite the challenge to design. For the user to be able to relate, or understand what my product does it must be relatable to an alarm clock, sleep rhythm and know what to relate the noise produced; the woodpecker.

My turning point in achieving a design was this image:

The bird could be inside my various boxes! I took this image on board to develop this idea...

1. FRONT: I used the bark / log from the image as the base of my device. The top half will be rough bark with a large shiny aluminum bottom. The idea is that nature is creeping back onto something refined, like the metal.
2. SIDE: at the back of the device, you can see the beak poking out of the wooden log cut in half, down the middle. Directly below the beak is a platform to direct the user to correct placement of the beak to get best sounding results.

3. BACK: The back of the device shows off the wood's grain and exposes the beak in the hole. On the platform is a 'test' button, this is used to test your location's sound and the toggle, on / off switch.
4. SIDE: the shape is uniform.

5. TOP: the top has a flush push button to turn the alarm signal off. This is embedded in the log and is also aluminum. not everything is resolved, like the time dial. Hope to bounce this idea of pete and jon and develop it further.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Related Artical

This is from a BBC article: How much sleep does a child need?

It is a really clear article exploring childrens night time ritual and the affects of not receiving their full requirement.

The beaks

Which is better??

I tested both beaks sound quality and loudness. I found the wooden one was softer and quieter than the metal beak. I used a glass vessel filled half way with water. The metal one sounded brilliant against it, really loud and could be herd all the way down the hall next to the lift on my floor. The wooden one sounded more delicate and peaceful.


eureka, maybe my user has multiple beaks they can change themselves to their personal preference or... the idea i like best is having the wooden one to gently wake you up with the metal one to help indicate time for night ritual.

A concern through this project is if the user can hear night and awake times from one location. Maybe they won't have to.

This gives me 3 options to explore:
  1. make a set of 5 beaks the user can switch and change themselves, or
  2. have 2 separate devices; one for in the bedroom, and one in the lounge or what ever, or
  3. have one device with 2 solenoids, a morning beak and a night beak.
I think the first thing for me to do is decide on a form and integrate these ideas in later as i still haven't been able to gel a bird with the rest of the device. (It seems to be 2 very separate things in my head which makes the design look like separate pieces and not one).

Also from my testing I have identified a problem area:
  1. placing the beak to the materials surface is still hard to place correctly and is so vital that i will need to design something to aid the user to achieve this easily.

Beak Test: Wood

I couldn't find any off cuts of oak, so i used beach instead. I had to continue using the metal lathe instead of the wooden one because since my beak is so small, the chuck in the wooden lathe is so large that it would make no sense. As this is against health and safety rules, I was not allowed to turn it myself. I drilled the holes, Roddy shaped it.

This took only 1 hour to do as wood is so soft compared with metal and, i had learnt a lot from making one the day before that i knew what i needed to do.

This also needed a larger spring (4 rings) and sounded softer.

This is a video of it working:

Beak Test: Metal

As sound is the key element of my design, I feel it is fitting to explore what my 'beak' will be made from as I must first know what sound quality it can offer.

As the current solenoid pin is made from metal, I decided to continue this route and make a beak from steel.

I used the metal lathe in the workshop to work the steel. It was hard to work and was slow to work. I also found that my 'beak' is a hard shape to shape and felt the metal lathe was very restricting compared to the wooden lathe. (My reasoning for this is the metal lathe forces you to turn wheels which control the tools to shape, where the wooden lathe frees you to your hands to work the tools.)

This took me a morning to complete:

I drilled in a hole for my solenoid to fit into it in the hope it would reduce the need for fixing with glue.

The video shows important lessons learnt:
  1. weight of the material is important
  2. length of beak reduces sound sharpness
  3. attaching solenoid piston to beak
  4. as the beak is so small, it makes making one really difficult.

In the video, i had to lift the beak up slightly for it to be able to signal. From this i returned to the workshop and hollowed it out further and cut of around 1cm off the flat end to make it lighter. It also needed a bigger spring.

I tested it again and it worked well, producing a nice sound. This is the final metal beak:

And this shows it working:

I plan to make another beak from oak tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Solenoid Bird

After seeking Sean for some making advice, I am testing the bird theory by making the solenoid the bird.

I mocked this up from MDF and hot glued the solenoid inbetween the 2 parts leaving the solenoid's piston as the beak:

Lying flat, the bird just vibrated, upright it did signal well. This still leaves me with the same problem with the piston falling forward/ out. The piston needs to be held in but still free to move:

I added paper to the solenoid, in between the neck and the spring. This made the signal quieter, so i think it prevents the strokes distance and power. But goal, the piston is held in:

It would normally fall out here:

The solenoid was still exposed, so adding a beak will cover this issue:

As this is made from paper, it did not produce any noise. I'm very keen to test this idea with some metal.

Solenoid Modelling

This video really shows the limits of using a bird when the solenoid is used to knock of it. I am questioning if this method should be used.


  1. The solenoid also has it's own mechanical noise independent of contact with materials surfaces. Might have to dampen the solenoid own mechanical noise so not to interfere with the output tune.
  2. The bird moves/ responds to the solenoid with a time dalay i.e. the solnoid moves 2 times but the bird has only moved once.
Things to do:
  1. What i need to do is find the best angel/ best response from the solenoid and work out the tune from the beak and NOT the solenoids piston and alter the code.
  2. Prototype with hard materials/ metal beak to realise if this is dooable and the correct path to be taken.
This is a video of best pivot point with cardboard:

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Solenoid Modelling

By completing this task i have learnt a lot. To be able to get it to 'peck', i had to balance out the head with the tail. I also found that it only pecks effectively when the solenoid hits off the tail.

As you can see in the video, the solenoid's action is very small. By this i mean the piston going in and out is about 5mm. This restricts the movement the bird can conduct and therefor the 'peck'.

Things to think about:
  1. angel the bird is attached to the device
  2. shape of the bird
  3. materials of the bird
  4. size of the bird
  5. whether it can hit off other materials.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Data #9

  1. I usually set my alarm for at least 30 mins before i want to get up. When the alarm goes off it wakes me up immediately, at which point i roll over and hit the snooze button. I can never get out of bed straight away. Snooze on my alarm lasts for 8 mins (and you can't change it which is a bit shit!) so i usually get about 4 snooze cycles before its time to get out of bed. By this time i'm usually feeling fairly awake.
  2. Usually go to bed about about 12 and wake between 8 and 10 depending if i've got lectures or not.
  3. Don't do anything differently on early days.
  4. A small alarm clock with a high pitched beeping sound.
  5. 6


Pete Thomas gave a lecture on details surrounding product language which was very effective and revealing to a products identity.

From the new info i got today, which i never quite understood so clearly before showed me that my current design is all wrong.

This lecture has arrived at the right time for me as my electronics are in their final stages that only now am i really starting to consider what my device will look like.

Tough challenge ahead! What i need to do to make this successful is translate that this is not a clock but keeps time, it is to do with your sleep rhythm, it is an alarm clock that sets morning and night time alarms. And encourage you to experiment and play with it.....hmmmmmm!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

PLAYing with sound

I took my device home with me this weekend to PLAY and experiment with placement and possible sounds it could make. The testing went really well.

They are not uploading very well so they can just stay in my laptop for now!

Overall, the testing showed me that the alarms work well and are effective on any material. It also showed me that some materials amplify or dampin affecting the overall sound quality. This might mean having 2 devices to make sure that they can be heard from everywhere, but generally the sounds were transmitted loudly and could be heard.

I also discovered that when i played back my sounds, they don't sound as special and rewarding!

Friday, 12 February 2010


Well Mondays end of play presentation went ok apart from the fact that i went first.... I hate going first!

I was kinda just thrown into it so i threw the lecturers into my working prototype! Bit of a woopsey on my part but it still went ok.

The product worked perfectly, the solenoid sounded really good and convincing but my troublesome switch played up a tad which let me down, but it still worked, just not when it should of... The model worked well. Jon commented on how he liked how my model moved when the solenoid came on, something to consider in my project i think!

Just not looking forward to my feedback now!

Vase Clock

I'm sad today! This is very similar to my project!

This is a clock that does not show time, as far as i can tell, and strikes the vase on the hour, every hour. The object is encouraged to be changed with other vases, which is strange but still it is experimenting with sounds and materials...

I like the simple concept of striking every hour but I'm not impressed with the design. In fact i'm off to have a wee rant so look away now!

The hammer on the outside is a nice idea and one i have considered myself but this hammer looks unconvincing and fiddly. If i touch that, it will break. It looks shoddy and badly made with off cuts of wood.

I find vase quite an unusual object choice. Why limit your product to just vases?? other materials produce sounds, but with that silly platform, the user really has no choice.

The base is unbelievable! I just can't get my head round why you would put your vase on that?! The shape and material is horrid and looks wrong next to the hammer. I will assume that this is meant to be a pride of place, interesting object to own, yet it feels awkward to look at and not quite right.

However, perhaps it is meant to be like this? The contrast between an elegant vase and awkward mechanics with poor material choice really does make that vase look nice.

This really does give me a bench mark to go better and beyond this.

By: Georgios Maridakis

found on:

Monday, 8 February 2010

Rationale refined

Lack of sleep is the biggest health concern for 42% of the population with an added 34% experiencing low level fatigue.
We are the worst sleepers in Europe, receiving on average less than 7 hours of sleep a night. This affects all aspects of life; at work, school, happiness, performance with low motivational levels.
As a nation however, we do enjoy our sleep ins so perhaps: “maybe we are not bad at sleep, just out of practice.” Sean Cougian
Using the knocking clock will improve sleep duration to 8 hours of sleep with the use of a night alarm.
Time will not be displayed as this is not a time piece but an alarming device only. This therefore has 1 application for 1 function; improving sleep rhythm.
To improve sleep rhythm, the user must have similar times they awake and go to sleep. The dial restricts this and offers limited flexibility to the sleep rhythm, sounded by a solenoid at the back of the device.
A mechanical sound is used to introduce a new technology and experience to the user. The solenoids’ sound will be dependent on the environment to make the sound produced more important than the tune itself. This encourages play and interaction with your sleep rhythm and waking experience.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Data #8

  1. always leave a time peiod for snoozing when i set my alarm. so if i was getting up at 8 i would set my alarm at half 7 so i can snooze if i need to.
  2. 23.30 - 7.45/8
  3. go to my bed early, listen to relaxing music on my ipod. Generally try and relax myself so i can fall asleep.
  4. upbeat music on my phone
  5. 7

Data #7

  1. I am not too bad at getting up if I know I need to get up early. Some times I would even find myself waking up a bit before my alarm which is kind of strange. The cold is what stops me actually getting out of bed.
  2. I try to go to bed around 10.30-11 and usually set my alarm for 8 if I need to be in for 9.
  3. If it is really early I would set out al my clothes for the morning so I can stay in bed as long as possible. I would some times put my phone on the other side of the room so I have to get up to turn the alarm off. Or i set it to go off a bit early so I can snooze two or three times.
  4. I use my phone, I think it is some kind of ringing tone. Depends how comfortable in bed I am. 7ish

Data #6

1. wake up very slowly and tend to snooze for 15 - 45 mins depends on how long i can spare.
2. 12.30 - 7.45
3. i tend to watch a film or tv series online in order for me to relax
4. mobile phone with multiple alarms with different tones to stop me getting used to it and sleeping through.
5. ranges from 1 - 5 but a shower and/or fresh air both change that very quickly

Data #5

  1. Very annoyed that it's time to get up, usually just been asleep for a few hours so really tired!
  2. My bed time varies a lot! I can never get to sleep so it's usually between 1:30 and 6am!! Sometimes its as late as 10am!! And wake up depending on what I have to do or places I need to go.
  3. I sometimes listen to meditation cds before I go to bed, they work sometimes but I find it really hard to switch off, my mind is always thinking about something!
  4. I used to have an alarm clock that just had a beep sound (it looked awesome though, had a plane you could move around to see different time zones) but that annoyed me, it made waking up even more depressing. So, I've just bought a new alarm with an iphone/ ipod dock and radio.
  5. I think when I first wake up I'm about 4, then I'm usually around a 7 after coming around. After a few hours I usually start to lag, then it's around a 0!!

Data #4

to get to sleep I will usually watch the tv untill I forget my miserable day or I feel i really have to got to bed. I always have to face my window to fall asleep as I find a little light helps. A bit like a night light I suppose.

getting up early doen't work for me! If i know I have to get up that's when I want to stay in bed. I want to finish my dream. i will usually have my snooze button on for about an hour before getting up. it's on a repeat for 10mins so will go off 10 times before I get up. the sound use to be a tranquil melody but I found it to depressing and it wasn't a go getter for the morning. i don't have a better tune but at least it doesn't have this effect. The tune is now of a man singing a cheesey song "take my hand, walk with me, on a nice summers day..." I usually race to get to it just to shut him up. but I do find I hum the tune the rest of the day. argh.

What will get me up is the idea of getting breakfast.
waking up rate.... 2 or 3 I guess.

Data #3

I usually get a fright when my alarm goes off, and I always stay in bed for as long as I can afford to. But 1 minute after I’m up, I feel fine, but never remember this, that’s why I stay in bed so long.

11pm sleep, 7am wake

go to bed earlier if need to get up earlier.

Iphone ‘Alarm’ tone!!! sounds as if something is about to explode, warning me to get up and out…

5, because its always bad at first, but gets better soon after.

My render rendered

This is what i will use in my 'show and tell' tomorrow. I'm very pleased with the result and I am very eager to refine the aesthetics now.

Friday, 5 February 2010


I have been playing around with the new solid works 2010 and wow is the rendering from another world!! The contrast between the cork and the aluminum is great! Take a look:

This is not the final design but an interpretation of it's potential.

Feeling Good

When i began this project, programming was very new to me. I had never coded by myself before, in our PBasic classes we were always in teams so you always had someone to struggle through with. Arduino is a completely different programming language and was foreign to me.

I'm feeling good as not only have i managed to write pages and pages of complected code that actually works (!!!), yes there are a few things i need to tweak but i'm not worried! I need to sit down and continue studying to begin piecing it together like a jigsaw... find your corners, edges and then your off filling in the gaps then viola! Done! (i say this as if it's easy but put the time, effort, pulling hair and will pay off)

I'm feeling good as i helped a fellow arduino player fix his code that he had been working on all day. It only took me a minute to identify his problem and simply add my corrections to the code and it worked perfectly first time! I'm chuffed with myself as i helped my colleague who had helped me right at the begining to find my feet. It feels good that i fixed it quickly and effortlessly whilst leaving to go home for the night!! Happy days!

Video of it working

The working Model Complete

I managed to get my push button working to a certain extent but enough for PLAY crit on monday.

The problems with a non latching switch, or push button, is as follows:
  1. switches deal with on / off signals or HIGHS and LOWS. A latching switch is always either fully HIGH or fully LOW. Think of a light switch; it has a position to be switched to, to do the action required. A non latching switch has no correct position i.e. the HIGH and LOW share the same position.
  2. this causes problems as when the switch is not pressed, it equals LOW. When you press down it = HIGH then returns to a LOW signal in it's original position. This produces problems as the signal is as long as the switch being pressed down.
  3. This means it is not a steady action.
So when i state:
if (buttonawake == LOW){ //if button is not pushed do the following...
//solenoid loops
But when i want it to do something else:
else if (buttonawake == HIGH){ // has the button been pressed?
digitalWrite(solenoid,LOW); //turn everything off

This would work for as long as i held the button down. When i released, the solenoid would resume action.

I got around this by adding a 1 minute delay, so by the time it wants to turn the solenoids back on with the button released, the alarm signal is over so will not signal.

else if (buttonawake == HIGH){ // has the button been pressed?
digitalWrite(solenoid,LOW); //turn everything off
delay(60000); //wait 1 min

Model Complete

The final cardboard model:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The working prototype

Today i was making my working prototype.
I am making one of my simplest designs from cardboard.

  1. Simplest design as i still have not decided on my form and at this stage of my PLAY. My electronics is my most important element with most of my efforts going into making it work so it is therefore more fitting to show and tell this part of my project.
  2. I decided to put it in my simplest design to keep the form as neutral as possible. I hope by doing this, my audience will not be influenced by the design but by the technology and function of my project. In other words i don't want people to get hung up on what it looks like!
  3. It is also not very high as the solenoid moves and if it was any taller, it would fall over or be unbalanced.
This is what my model is looking like:

the internal workings

the front of the device

the dial reveals the time you have chosen

the back of the device, showing the solenoid

the push button on the top

the electronic side

i will finish my model tomorrow as well as my electronics...

looping almost controlled

I have developed a code to stop my previous loops with the help from the arduino forum.

HOWEVER, i can't control my loops with a trigger(time/ dial) as this part of code is in the " setup () " instead of the normal place in " void loop () ", this is where actions take place.

The code is as follows:

const int loopTimes = 10; //set Thee loop to cycle 10 times

void setup() {
// initialize the digital pin as an input: //normal proceedings in setup
pinMode(redled, OUTPUT);

for (int i = 0; i< style="font-weight: bold;"> set loop 1 to loop 10 times
for(int r=0; r<10; s="0;" style="font-weight: bold;">set loop 2 to loop 10 times
if(s<10) style="font-weight: bold;"> where it normally is!!


I'm still going to work on this but after spending a whole day trying, i feel i better get on with the other aspects of my project.

Creating a loop

Had a great deal of difficulty with looping! Not much appears to be available online explaining how to do it. What i have finally managed to do is add 2 loops, which gives the solenoid a different pattern. What i have failed to do is control the number of loops it should loop...

for(int r=0; r<20; style="font-weight: bold;">set to repeat 20 times
digitalWrite(solenoid, HIGH); //turn solenoid on and off every 50ms
digitalWrite(solenoid, LOW);
delay(3000); //once loop has completed 20 times wait 3 seconds

for(int s=0; s<10; style="font-weight: bold;">begin new loop to repeat 10 times
digitalWrite(solenoid, HIGH); // turn solenoid on and off every 250ms
digitalWrite(solenoid, LOW);

delay(1000);} // once loop has completed 10 times wait 1 second

So this has created a sequence that continues to repeat itself infinite number of times.

Working the solenoids continued...

Programming the solenoids with time went smoothly. When i programmed the solenoids to come on at a particular time with the dial at the correct setting it went off perfectly.

I'm imitating 'lesser spotted woodpecker' sounds from:

What i plan to do next with my code is introduce cycles or loops so the alarm signal is not a constant sound but is one that gradually builds.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Working solenoids with time and dial

When i began running my code that activates my solenoid, i realised that the spring had made the piston stay too far out to be magnatised, sucked in. So i removed three rings from the spring and it seems to work fine.

Below shows how far the piston was originally out:

The hardware is proving to be difficult to wire up to ensure each component has the correct voltage. Below shows my circuit mess...I have all components working, even though my potentiometer will only work straight from the arduino board and not the breadboard for some reason?!

I have been listening to Lesser Spotted Woodpecker noises to try and imitate with my solenoid. I have written a code for this.

I want to however be able to control this into short bursts, which i think can be done by coding another loop that counts how many times it loops before acting on it. Ha very elaborate i know! e.g. I want to to beat 20 times then rest then repeat. No luck with this code so far. Very little appears to be available on constructing a loop in my code!! eek! Back to studying for me again!

Solenoids sprung

Two of my solenoids have springs attached to the piston:

Monday, 1 February 2010


This one uses the solenoid to 'peck' on materials around your home.

This is of course it i want to keep a bird or make it metaphorically etc....lots to work out!


I decided not to sketch but to basically think 3D do 3D. I kept my most common sketch idea and explored what i could do it. This is what i got. Quite like these ones.

This one shows my device when materials are brought to it. The solenoid will push the bird up stricking the material with it's beak.


To get the solenoids able to be spring attached, I have handed them into the engineering building to drill holes and solder them together. I should receive them back tomorrow...

Talks with Pete

A few pointers from Pete:

  • Can the device be in one space and perform both jobs? I am to speak to Jon about this tomorrow.
  • Size too big? Maybe materials come to the device? Tower?
  • User testing, next stage up.
  • Might confuse toggle switches, make more obvious or separate them.

Form extended

I continued to do more sketches but i am feeling very restricted by my form... or perhaps this is what my alarm device should look like?!

I am going to continue sketching and begin prototyping tomorrow. I also want to get some feedback regarding my rationale, form and function.



This is a device very similar to an alarm clock in the sense that it will wake the user up from a set time.

The main aesthetic difference is that this will not look like a clock and will not display time. The purpose of this device is to improve sleep cycle / rhythm and our waking experience.

This is achieved by choosing one of the ‘wake’ set times available. This will activate a corresponding ‘night time’ signal exactly 9 hours before the user is due to be up. This will indicate when you should begin your night time ritual and achieve an 8 hour sleep.

The device can be placed on any flat surface so e.g a door or a table and will produce a mechanical signal. The sound is pleasant yet assertive and is based on the surface and type of material the user chose. This allows for experimentation with your wake preferences and does not restrict the user to keeping the device next to their bed.

The device will be made from materials such as aluminum and cork.


Arduino will control the internal workings of the device and will be battery powered.

The users input:

A dial, much like that of a safe dial, will be used to pick one of the pre-programmed set ‘wake’ times. The dial shows the available times and when turned, it will click when it reaches a new time.

Sound will change depending on the material and location the user chooses to place the device. This invites the user to play and discover sounds that suit their sleep rhythm and waking experience.

A toggle switch will be used to control if the user is in fact ‘having a day off’, in which case they will flick the switch to be able to sleep in. If they need to get up, they would simply switch it back.

Finally, another toggle switch will be used to respond to the device disabling the signal. This switch has no correct position. Arduino will simply read if it has moved / changed position.

The toggle switches are to be almost like flicking a light switch on and off.

The output:

The output will be made from 2-3 solenoids which will strike / hit the flat surface they are facing to make the noise. The pattern will be set but the pitch and depth will change with different materials and locations. It will not be invasive.

Automatic controlling:

A DS1307 will be used to keep real time and will receive a radio frequency to maintain the correct time.

The dial position will activate the ‘wake’ time set and will automatically activate the corresponding ‘night time alarm’9 hours before wake time is due.


For those whose sleep pattern is irregular that they feel tired all the time or feel un-refreshed.

• For those in preparation for exams. This will indicate to the students when they should stop studying and start winding down so they are able to sleep well and be able to wake energised ready for another day of studying or for their exam.

• For children learning when they should go to bed and when they can wake up when they are unable to read time.

• Working difficult hours, lets them adapt to a new routine.

• People who travel a lot.

Ultimately, this is for those who want to improve or help their sleeping experiences.


The device does not display time as there are so many types and applications already available; e.g. the iPhone has so many applications that you are easily distracted. This device is 1 application = 1 purpose.

The purpose of this is to improve sleep rhythm and waking experience because we are the worst sleepers in Europe receiving, on average, 7 hours of sleep a night. This affects all aspects of life; in the work place, happiness, motivation levels and can be dangerous when on the road. As a nation we do love our sleep; lie-ins so perhaps; “maybe we are not bad at sleep, just out of practice.” Sean Cougian

To maintain a sleep cycle / pattern the user should go to sleep and wake up at similar times so to ensure this is met, there are similar set times to choose from.

An alarm signal is sent 9 hours before ‘wake’ time to indicate to the user that they can get a full night’s sleep and wake up refreshed if they begin, if they have not already started, their night time ritual. This provides a ‘spare’ hour to wind down and is not an instant response to sleep from the device.

The device needs a flat surface to be able to function properly.

A mechanical sound is used so the outcome is dependent on the environment. The alarm is therefore set on the users terms. This will also give an extra quality to the product that a recorded sound is unable to do. Also being able to change or manipulate the sound can keep the product refreshing and interesting.

The mechanical sound also offers an element of play and experimentation to the user, introducing new mechanical technology into the home that the user is unlikely to have come across. They can play with where the device goes and what sound they think the device will make in that location. This also gets the user to build a relationship around the object and their sleeping experience. i.e. how they want to wake up.

The light weight materials will be a contrast of metal and natural materials to exaggerate the move away from a standard alarm clock and the attitude towards them. This device needs to be treated kindly and have place and purpose in the home. Generally, many people dislike their alarm clocks.

Cork is an excellent shock absorber so whilst the solenoids are signalling, the rest of the device will not be affected. Cork is also one of the most environment friendly materials available. Aluminium is light weight and easy to shape and polish. It is also a metaphor to our own sleep pattern; quite rough yet refined.

A dial will be used to limit the available options to the user on the times they can set to wake. It also has adds a nice, smooth and simple interaction that a push button would not give. An added click will be used to provide the user feedback to their involvement.

A toggle switch will be used as an on / off button to give the user physical feedback to their action , i.e. it is will show that the device is on / off, there will be no mix up like if a push button was pressed, as you might not know if u successfully pressed the button and you might forget what the button is set to.

The toggle switch will therefore be used for responding to the signal as well. There will be no correct position for the switch as if the user switched signal off, they would have to return it to its signal on position. This might not always happen and the device will not ensure the user is up. This also keeps the switches the same.

Solenoids will be used to produce the mechanical sound dependent on the environment. Solenoids are very reliable, accurate and safe to use.

A set tune will be programmed to make the sounds produced more important than the tune itself, taking it back to its early uses. A very basic pleasant yet assertive sound will be played with.

Time will be automatically kept via radio signals to maintain simplicity of the device. This is not a time piece and should not be used similarly to a clocks’ function. This is an alarming device only.
One of the functions of this device is to improve sleep rhythm. This can only depend on the time set to be up. It would be bad form to get the user to input the ‘night time’ alarm and ‘wake’ alarm. It is the device’s job.

The benefits of using the device is a regular sleep rhythm and better waking experience. The device is successful when the user beats the device to winding down and waking up. This is what a sleep rhythm is all about; naturally waking up and falling asleep without the reliance of technology.

Research shows that disrupting deep sleep with sudden noise is bad for our mental health and overall performance as this scares the brain into waking up.

Lack of sleep is the biggest health concern for 42% of the population with an added 34% experiencing low level fatigue.