Monday, 1 February 2010



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.

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