Alarm clock makes you get up and enter a code on a wall keypad to turn it off
By Paul Ridden
February 19, 2012
While there are still some who, at the mention of the alarm clock, might think of a small, spring-driven, mechanical device topped by a couple of bells with a hammer between them, my generation would probably envision a digital clock radio. Recently, designers have come up with more and more ingenious (read evil) ways to get us out of bed - such as a clock with wheels that runs away at the appointed hour with buzzer sounding, or a 113dB sonic boom skull that also shakes the bed until you switch it off. The Ramos Alarm Clock from Paul Sammut is another design aimed at the dedicated snoozer who can usually find a way to prolong the warmth and comfort under the covers. The clock is wirelessly linked to a separate Defuse Panel located in another room, such as the bathroom, and a code will need to be correctly entered to silence the buzzer.
Currently awaiting crowd-source funding on Kickstarter, the Ramos alarm clock is aiming to hit the market in three flavors. The first is the LED Ramos, which is housed in sustainably-harvested birch, has an electronic buzzer sound and features an internal antenna. It's wirelessly paired with a Defuse Panel (more on that later) that's powered by a 9-volt battery. Backers are being asked to pledge US$160 for this model.
The second model features vertically mounted, new-old-stock Soviet Union nixie tubes with green LED backlighting for the clock display and is appropriately named the Nixie Ramos. The electronics are enclosed in a glossy, sustainably-harvested teak case and, while the prototype shown in the gallery has an external antenna, the production model will sport a similar internal antenna as that found in the LED version. This unit will also come with an electronic tone generator and the same Defuse Panel, and is pitched at US$350.
Additionally, Sammut is offering to produce a custom model to user specifications (including retaining the retro external antenna seen in the prototype if you wish) for a pledge of US$800 or more. He's also giving backers of this level a choice of woods and finishes for the housing, and spare nixie tubes will be included.
The Defuse Panel features a 12 digit push button keypad surrounded by a 5 x 7-inch (127 x 117.8 mm) frame (smaller than the prototype) that hides the electronics. Either standard (short range) or long range wireless technology will be offered, with the latter coming in the shape of a 2.4GHz radio module that's said to be good for 100 feet (30.48 meters). The Ramos clock sends a unique identifier header along with the Defuse Code to the Panel in order to eliminate cross-talk, should there be multiple devices in use.
The number code can either be the current date or a four-digit code that flashes on the clock display, the latter making you use your brain a little more than is probably welcome at such a time. There may be also a few other surprise disable options available when the device goes into production.
For those who tend to wake up before the alarm is due to sound and habitually alter the settings to grant another ten or 15 minutes in bed, Ramos features a 30-minute lock down mode. Half an hour before the wake up alarm is due to sound, the mains-powered (with battery backup) clock will no longer permit any alteration to the alarm settings. Users can of course completely disable the alarm early, but they'll have to do so via the Defuse Panel - and so get out of bed.
There's also a courtesy mode where the alarm rings for ten seconds and then shuts off for a minute. At the end of this grace period, normal service is resumed and users will need to head for the Panel to turn off the buzzer. There's also an optional snooze function, and those who aren't keen on being startled out of bed can take advantage of the ramp-up mode that offers a gentler introduction to the day.
Sammut says that for users who just like the look of the Ramos clocks and don't want to bother with the Defuse Panel, the remote alarm system can be disabled altogether and the unit used just like any other alarm clock.