Innovation: An Alarm Clock That Won't Take 'Snooze' For An Answer
For many of us, waking up in the morning is a daily struggle.
You've tried everything: changing your alarm sound, setting multiple alarms, placing your alarm across the room. "Just 10 more minutes," you tell yourself, as you hit the snooze button again and again until the last possible second.
The developers of the hope to force you out of bed. Ramos is a remotely deactivated alarm clock connected to a smartphone app and a Bluetooth beacon. The developers recently put up their third version of the clock on Kickstarter.
The idea behind Ramos is to prevent oversleeping by forcing users to get up, so over time more healthful sleep habits are formed.
Users set the alarm before bedtime through the app, and the beacon is placed in a separate room. When the alarm goes off, the user must bring the phone close to the beacon to stop the alarm. Users can also choose to enter a customized code on the phone to silence the alarm, but they still have to take the phone to the beacon to do so.
Even if you unplug Ramos, batteries power it for hours. There's no getting around it.
"I found that a lot of people also have this problem where you're really well intentioned the night before, but then the second the alarm goes off in the morning, it's just so easy for me to forget all the reasons why I should wake up early," says creator Paul Sammut, a mechanical engineer based in New York City.
"It's sort of modeled after my mom because in high school I always got out of bed and had breakfast, and the reason I got out of bed was because of my mom," he adds.
But Ramos is much more annoying, which Sammut says is intentional.
"This clock is designed to be really annoying and really forceful if you don't do what it says," Sammut says. "But if you do what it says, you'll get out of bed, and you'll be up."
The clock does have some features to make getting up a little less annoying. In courtesy mode, the alarm will only sound for 15 seconds and gives you one minute to bring your phone to the beacon. Users can also set up the snooze bank, which allows a finite number of snoozes. Once the user runs out of snoozes though, she must get up and bring her phone to the beacon.
The first versions of Ramos launched in February 2012. They are more expensive, handmade clocks made of wood, Sammut says, and are still available for purchase.
Ramos is also part of the growing world known as the "Internet of Things." So for example, if you have smart lights, Ramos can tell them to turn on once the alarm sounds. And because Ramos is connected to a smartphone, different wakeup routines can be added as software updates improve phones.
"Using the accelerometer of the phone, we can do things where you have to do 10 jumping jacks, and a signal will get sent to the alarm to shut off," Sammut says.
Ramos isn't available for sale yet, but Sammut estimates it will cost between $99 and $130. A Kickstarter campaign just ended short of the developers' goal, but Sammut hopes to launch another fundraising campaign soon.
Samantha Raphelson is a producer for NPR.org. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
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