Way back in 1998, I really wanted to buy a piece of new technology, the “Sunrise Alarm Clock”, which had the special quality of switching on a light one hour before your wake-up time, and gradually increasing the brightness until your alarm goes off. The theory behind this is that even when your eyes are closed, your brain is still stimulated by bright light that you can sense threough your eyelids.
Today, a sunrise alarm clock is supposed to mimic that primordial circadian rhythm, prepping your body to wake up slowly, stimulating your pituitary gland so that you have a nicer, more naturally transition than being jolted from a deep sleep by loud noises. Sunrise clocks are used by people who have trouble waking up at the correct time, be it because they are shiftworkers, living in a northern clime, or just played a little too much Grand Theft Auto the night before. Sounds great. Still, those lights were costing about $500 back in ’98, being serious boutique electronics, which put their price out of reach for me. For a long time, I thought that I would never own one of those things and I stopped thinking about it.
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I did a very similar project earlier this year but I wrote a very sophisticated interface that would allow you to program the alarm clock from your tablet or computer. Here is a link to the github project. https://github.com/stimularity/NaturalNodeLamp