Patent# US 6838994 may be formally known as the Adaptive Alarm System, but this 2005 invention is a very special alarm clock. There are many novelty alarm clocks on the market that are designed to wake us up no matter what. Some run and hide and you have to find the clock in order to turn it off (I kid you not. It’s called a Runaway Clocky.) Some alarm clocks soothe us into a waking state with soft music or by jarring our eardrums with the loudest acid rock music available. There is no other alarm clock, however that can claim that “it knows when you are sleeping and it knows when you are awake.” (Although reminiscent of that song about the old, innocuous, fat, bearded guy in the red suit, be prepared to fall prey to eyes that never sleep.)
The Adaptive Alarm System utilizes a surveillance camera to determine the depth of sleep and then adjusts different environmental conditions in the room (turns on lights, turns up music) to wake the user up in a "nonviolent manner." That’s pretty cool if you think about it. This alarm system cleverly adjusts wake-up signals. It tracks the behavior of a person under surveillance (the sleeper) after the activation of an alarm clock, and establishes whether the person has been motionless (a common state for sleepers) for a predetermined time period.
Waking up is a gentle process that follows the system’s recognition that the observed behavior indicates the person is still sleeping, and the signals are gradually increased. At the same time, the electrical power supplied to the electronic devices may be increased to assist waking up. (For those who secretly fear death by electrocution, this is not for you.)
Alarms of all types have been a source of inspirations for many inventors. Consider M Dee Dubroff’s “A Fork That Tells You When To Eat: Great Idea?” and Elizabeth Valeri’s most amusing post, “Great Invention Idea? The Most Effective Alarm Clock Ever!"
I might be tempted to try the Adaptive Alarm System if I wasn’t fearful that my other alarm clocks might take offense and begin a surveillance mission all their own!
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