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Don't Wake Me Pillow Alarm Clock

The goal of this 48 hour Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design project was to prototype a Arduino-based product on the topic of "time."


To create consensus around a project, our three person team first brainstormed human experiences of time and desired product characteristics. Visually mapping these ideas led the group to pursue textile, playfully responsive objects, cumulating in the development of the Don't Wake Me alarm clock pillow.

Massimo with Pillow

The Don't Wake Me pillow alarm clock gives night owls an immediate outlet for expressing their frustration at the start of the work day. The clock's three alarm tones mimic a scream, a shake, and a strangling, and the alarms are deactivated by user employing the matching response. If the user fails to deactivate the alarm within a set time period, a brief "failure" tone plays before an alternative alarm tone demands a new type of response. Upon successful deactivation through shaking, screaming or strangling, the alarm plays a "good morning" tone to launch the happy user into his or her day. Pillow is also suitable for late night catnaps, allowing the struggling engineer to express his or her frustration while providing a subtle reminder than simple isn't always easy.

Pillow Alarm

Alarm clock is controlled by an Arduino Uno board powered by an external battery. Shaking is counted through a tilt switch, screaming measured through an electret microphone, and strangling quantified through a knit pressure sensor (wool yarn and conductive thread). Sound and pressure sensors are callibrated upon Arduino startup to account for varying ambient noise and pressure conditions. Alarm sounds implemented through a piezo buzzer. Programming done in the Arduino programming language, following a state machine structure. Pillow created with fleece fabric with laser cut images and text.

Course: Physical Computing with Massimo Banzi

Role: Lead in programming and code structuring. Key contributor to concept development, product assembly, sensor testing, and circuit design.