Building my own Wake-up Light


During the Christmas holidays, I’ve seen a lot of deals for those new fancy wake-up lights from Philips. It promises a smooth awakening each morning with a simulated sunrise. I’d imagine it to be pretty awesome to have considering my painful Windows Phone alarm, which blasts bad music at me each morning at full volume.

But the wake-up light as just a new alarm clock (and perhaps a desk lamp), it’s very expensive at around 80€. So I thought, why not make a sunrise simulating wake-up light yourself! It won’t necessarily be much cheaper but it’s going to be infinitely more fun.

So, I ordered the parts for one. Some electronics pieces already arrived, containing triacs and optocouplers. My plan is to build a circuitry to dim the lamp accordingly. The circuit is to be controlled by a Raspberry Pi. It’s a full-fledged miniature PC and might be a little overkill for such a simple system, but it provides space for great extensions I’ve picked up around the internet: playing MP3 sounds or internet radio, running a web frontend to control the lamp from any web-enabled device, hooking up the alarms to your Google calendar appointments or reading news feeds and weather forecasts out loud. The only boundary would really be your imagination — and maybe your programming skills…


If successful, the result should look something like this. I hope to wake up with a huge smile every morning as well.

I’m still waiting for my Raspberry Pi, though. But considering its shipping times, it’s just a matter of months (hopefully just weeks), until I can hold it in my hands and start stitching together the system. Meanwhile, I’m going to read through some electronics literature to get my electric engineering knowledge up to par. I will keep you informed about the progress of this project.


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