I’ll be the first to admit that I am obsessed with alarm clocks. Most notably, I am fascinated by all the creative and, sometimes, strange ways we try to improve upon the waking experience.
My first alarm clock project was facilitated by an annual business plan competition hosted by the University of Dayton. We had an idea of a silent alarm clock which would vibrate your pillow to awaken you without waking your spouse (or roommate). We designed the system and built a fairly simple prototype which we could slip into a pillowcase we built. Since the competition mostly examined the viability of the business, we also spent determined COGS, sales projections, and built a timeline to determine a breakeven point based on an arbitrary investment. Although somewhat simulated, the project had a very positive response and out of 120 entries, we received 6th place which had a cash prize. This funded some further prototyping, but nothing came of the project professionally.
More recently, I have re-incarnated a different alarm clock design with some collaboration from a few Venture for America Fellows. We are designing, building, and selling an anti-snooze alarm clock, the Wakeable. Wakeable is a remote off-switch to your alarm, wirelessly connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Instead of rolling over to turn off your smartphone alarm clock, our app forces you to get out of bed and press the remote button to turn off the alarm. We are excited about this project because not only is it a surprisingly un-met need, it is a learning opportunity for all of the team members. I am taking the opportunity to learn about electrical systems by designing and building the Arduino based electrical hardware; other team members are learning more about native app design and implementation. We ran a humble but successful Indiegogo campaign over the last month, selling 20 units and raising $1445, almost 300% of our goal!
Over the next 7 months, in my spare time, I will be finalizing the mechanical and electrical design and build all 20 units by hand. It is fun to think of the product actually being “out in the wild," as well as being a great project that will give the opportunity to develop new skills.
- View the Indiegogo Campaign for Wakeable, the anti-snooze alarm clock
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