Acoustic Alarm clock replaces buzzer with strings


September 27, 2011

The Acoustic Alarm is a one-off alarm clock, that uses a motorized pic to pluck guitar strings in order to wake its user.

The Acoustic Alarm is a one-off alarm clock, that uses a motorized pic to pluck guitar strings in order to wake its user.

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We've heard about alarm clocks that jolt you awake with 113 decibels of sound while shaking your bed, that won't stop ringing until you've done your exercises, or that you have to chase across the room. If you want to be woken in a more civilized, serene fashion, however, you might like the Acoustic Alarm - should it ever become commercially available, that is. Instead of an annoying beep, buzz or radio DJ, the one-off design exercise uses a motorized pic to strum four guitar strings, in order to gently rouse its user.

The Acoustic Alarm is the creation of product designer Jamie McMahon. "Human emotions are influenced by many factors, and one of these factors which annoy people the most is the sound of their morning alarm" he states on his website. "The Acoustic Alarm scraps the annoying morning alarm, and replaces it with a relaxing acoustic tune, which has been designed for the user to customise the tone of their alarm by adjusting the tuning pegs."

The device's cabinet is made from waxed birch plywood, while the bridges, tuning pegs and motorized pic are walnut. Two stainless steel knobs are used to set the alarm time, with one each for hour and minute. After the time is set, the alarm is turned on simply by flipping a toggle switch.

One thing that the device doesn't do is display the time, an omission which Jamie tells us was incorporated in order to keep users from getting tense by lying in bed and staring at the numbers. The time of day can be set, however, via a panel in the back.

It's unlikely that you will ever be able to buy the Acoustic Alarm, but marketing it was never really McMahon's intention. "This is basically a project using psychology and seeing what affect music and sound has on us," he says. "I want to find a way of incorporating natural sounds or music into innovative products that people will feel happy using."

You can see and hear the Acoustic Alarm in action, in the video below.

Source: OhGizmo

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Is this device large enough? It won\'t fit on my bed side table.

How about a clock which plays mp3 tracks of your choice? Political speeches to send you off to sleep. Gently twittering birds to wake you gently, followed by a LOUD cockerel to wake you completely!


Mp3 alarm clocks already exist. I use some craig travel speakers (about 5 dollars), connected with an extension cord, to a normal desktop computer, with a timer set to start a media player. It was fairly easy to set up. One of the trickier aspects is needing to manually change volume levels each time the song is switched, and making sure that the system volume levels are set the same as last time, for consistency.

Bob Humbly

If marketing is not a present of future intention, I wonder if he has any intentions of making the schematics available, either freely or at some small cost.

David Gardner II
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