Intentional clock and timer-based alarm

A light wooden block, a white acrylic top with four screws and a metal button in the center. There is a white cable coming out of it's bottom.

Concept

This project comes as a response to my personal relationship with time. I am a very anxious person, and during critical periods I compulsively check the clock. This object seeks to add intentionality to this action, so the user has to actively raise it to check the precise time.

Beyond that, it has an alarm clock feature that shifts the way we usually think our wake up time by asking the user how many hours they want to sleep, instead of what time they want to wake up. When the alarm finally goes off, it also asks for continuous manipulation of the object for the sound to stop.

 

Overview

This clock is a wooden block with a single button on top. The time is hinted based on the color of the button’s light — changing through white (midnight), bright yellow (06h), amber (noon), and red (18h). In case the user wants to know the precise time, they have to lift the cube and look under it. The bottom part of the clock has a knob, and a display. The display shows the time and the amount of hours set for the alarm.

When the user is going to bed, they should press the button at the top, which will change color to blue and start the alarm countdown. It will go off after the amount of hours set in the display have passed. After that time, the user has to grab the cube and hold it upside down for a few seconds for the alarm to stop.

 

Materials and shape choices

The weight is an important feature in this piece. The whole point is adding intention to the act of checking the time, so it is essential that there is some effort to it. My first intention was to build it out of concrete. After some research, it seemed like it would be too difficult, not as environmentally friendly, and probably not more effective than building it out of wood and adding weights.

The parts were chosen when thinking of it as a concrete block, so the idea was that the metal button would follow the cold, hard aesthetic of the concrete block, but adding a little breathing point with the round, colored LED ring.

In the current version, the top and bottom panel are made out of white glossy acrylic, which contrast with the organic texture and color of the wood on the sides. I don’t like it’s transparency and how you can see some of the components, so for another version, I would like to have opaque acrylic sheets.

The USB cable used worked well in all my tests, but now that I have been using the clock on my desk, I wish I had a bit more space to move it around. Maybe a coiled cable would be best.

photo_2020-03-29_14-45-37

Circuit

Diagram
photo_2020-03-29_14-41-43.jpg

Demonstration

Link to code.

 

LED program

Time 00h 06h 12h 18h 00h
Color White Yellow Amber Red White
R 255 255 255 255 255
G 255 255 128 0 255
B 255 0 0 0 255
Alarm Start Stop
Color Blue Green
R 0 0
G 0 255
B 255 0

 

Components and materials

Electronics
Arduino Nano 33 IoT (1) — clock
Rugged metal push button with RGB LED ring (1)
Speaker (2)
Rotary encoder (1)
1.3″ OLED display (1)
Tilt switch(1)
Half size breadboard (1)

Enclosure
2cm X 20cm X 60cm wood (1)
White translucent acrylic sheet 12×18” 3mm (1)
Assorted standoffs (12)
Matching standoff screws (16)
Small wood screws  (4)
Bumper feet (4)
Metal knob (1)
White velcro
Wood glue
Clamps
Sand paper

 

References

https://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/labs/

https://www.hackster.io/techmirtz/using-common-cathode-and-common-anode-rgb-led-with-arduino-7f3aa9

https://www.instructables.com/id/Tilt-Sensor-Tutorial/

https://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/arduino-tutorial6-rotary-encoder

https://blog.saikoled.com/post/43693602826/why-every-led-light-should-be-using-hsi

Sons no Arduino usando buzzer

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_SSD1306

https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=624569.0

Debouncing a digital input

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