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Pitches with Prototypes: Open Clock Project


Next in our run-up coverage of MAKE’s 2013 Hardware Innovation Workshop is Craig Bonsignore’s Open Clock Project. Craig is a biomedical engineer with more than fifteen years of experience designing, developing, and analyzing cardiovascular implants. He’s got an MBA from Berkeley, an extensive list of patents and publications, and five years’ service as Director of Medical Design at Fremont-based Nitinol Devices and Components under his belt.

And he’s fed up with badly designed alarm clocks.

“The modern alarm clock,” he writes, “is an object that we use every day, and rely upon when we are most vulnerable. We depend on this thing to know when to go to sleep, and when we have to wake up. It’s the first thing we look at if we awaken in the middle of the night. We interact with this thing in the dark, and usually when we are tired and not quite thinking straight. If it doesn’t work correctly, which happens quite regularly, the day will be off to a stressful start.”

Open Clock Project

Among Craig’s complaints about off-the-shelf alarm clock offerings: Displays too small to see clearly with uncorrected vision, ambiguous indication of AM vs PM, ambiguous differentiation between multiple alarm times, needlessly complex and fiddly setting procedures, ugly alarm noises, and easily jostled controls.

Open Clock Project Isometric

His prototype Open Clock includes a large, bright, clear LED screen that automatically adjusts its brightness with the time of day, a high contrast red/green color change to distinguish AM and PM, simple intuitive touch-screen controls, and user-definable alarm sounds. It’s Arduino-powered and all resources live online in the project’s Github repository.

Check out the pitch Craig sent us for the Hardware Innovation Workshop’s prototype contest, below:


Click here to register for the MAKE Hardware Innovation Workshop.


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan