This is an old invention of mine. I had trouble waking up for work, and traditional alarm clocks didn’t seem to help. I learned to hit the snooze or off buttons in my sleep. The problem was that alarms are too easy to turn off, and so I set forth to create an alarm clock that challenges me to prove that I am awake.
How should it challenge me? Well, I’m from a math background, so the natural choice is with arithmatic. A problem like 23*17 + 6 will keep me thinking for at least 20 seconds; if the alarm clock makes me solve five in a row, then it can be sure I’m awake. There’s no way I can learn to do this in my sleep.
The design is powered by a PIC16 microcontroller, which manages the user interface and keeps time. It displays the current time and the arithmetic challenge via a cheap lcd from all electronics.
The design is free and open source; do whatever you want with it.
The source code.
The schematic and board layout (in ExpressPCB format), and an image of the layout.
If you wanted to make advancements to the design, may I suggest:
A battery backup. As it stands, you must have enough will power to leave it plugged in.
A radio? I suggest the Si4701 single-chip radio.
I will be demoing this thing at the next meeting of Make:NYC. Come check it out!