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.