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Wake-up light

Stripboard with the electronics of the wake-up light

…, 5:58, 5:59, and 6:00 AM. Current starts to flow from the battery. A light emitting device, often called a screen, gets alive. Photons are released from the screen, but their journey will end fast.

At the same time sound transmitter starts to vibrate. The air is compressed at high speed. A set of pressure waves are released at high frequency to the environment. Two sound receivers are placed three meters from the speaker. The receivers are placed on a mechanical body. It is part of bigger system around 1.90 meters. The receivers are located 20 cm of each other and receive in opposite directions. This creates a phase difference between the captured pressure waves. Useful to locate the origin of the sound transmitter.

Close to the receivers, connected to the body, another sound transmitter is located. It produces sets of low frequent pressure waves all night long. The volume of the released sound varies a lot over the night. Fortunately, no significant interference would happen between the two transmitters. The high frequent pressure waves are still reaching the two transceivers.

A smooth, uprising sound is released in the scalp of my ears. My mind starts to startup after hibernation. What is happening, what is that sound, where am I? Slowly opening my eyes I notice everything is black around me. I’m lying flat on a mattress.

After couple of seconds I realize that my alarm has set off. On exaclty 6:00 AM my smartphone will let me know I need to wake up. I need to get out of bed, shutdown that noise. Suddenly, a tremendous feeling of tiredness enters my mind. It still dark outside and in my room. Why should you wake up now? My mind and body wants to stay in hibernate.

Wake-up light

This happens to me every morning, especially during the winter days it is hard to get out off bed. Until I heard from a wake-up light, I thought it was normal, that struggle and feeling tired in the early morning. A wake-up light is light bulb that slowly increase the intensity of the light and the color of the light to mimic the sunrise. This process starts about 15 to 30 minutes before you need to wake up.

I needed that device, but wake-up lights are really expensive. I decided to build one on my own. The basic is founded by Jason Poel Smith with his tutorial on Instructables. The basic idea is that a mechanical timer is placed in the outlet of the wall and will switch the device on 20 – 30 minutes before wake up. A electronic circuit will slowly increase the intensity of the white LEDs.

The sun is transiting from red light to day light during sunrise. I wanted that effect in my own wake-up light. I added red/orange LEDs next to the white ones. The red LEDs require a lower voltage to operate. Therefore these will light first and then white will slowly increase.

I have used the wake-up light for a year now and it is one of the best things I created. Not because it is robust or high-tech. A lot of energy is directly flowing to my mind and body when the alarm clocks ring. I wake up so much easier and don’t feel a dark, heavy, tiredness during the first two hours of my day.

The only con of this device is that it is all analog electronics. But, I got an idea for that. Integrating a ESP8266 WiFi module with a transistor to trigger the device electronically and an Android app to set the alarm. Hopefully I will find some time between graduation to realize this.


Posted on

April 6, 2017

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