Almost Genius: “Alarming Clock” Imitates Woody the Woodpecker’s Drumming

A clock that recreates the sound familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the woods.

Alarming Clock

Alarm clocks are a singular design challenge: It’s one of the few objects–besides smoke alarms–intentionally designed to be as annoying as humanly possible, without being hopelessly unpleasant.

Thus, you have fire alarms on your iPhone; clocks that roll away when you try and shut them off; and the ubiquitous, startlingly loud bleeting that graces almost all digital alarms. And now, the gorgeously analogue Alarming Clock by Scottish designer Natalie Duckett.

The clock is designed to recreate the sound of a woodpecker drumming with its beak. To adjust the specific sound you want, simply set the clock’s “beak” against something–whether a wall or a glass or anything on your nightstand.

Alarming Clock

“I was inspired when I was exchanging sleep experiences with friends and family,” says Duckett. “I found that no one liked their alarm signal or in fact their waking experiences. It became my mission to improve this.”

The clock has two different alarms: One more subtle evening alarm, telling you when to go to sleep, and one morning alarm that wakes you up. Setting the morning alarm automatically sets the evening alarm, 16 hours later (so that you get eight hours of sleep). The clock’s beaks can be switched out, to alter the sound it makes; the bark of the clock, in addition to referencing the woodpecker’s habitat, is meant to age and weather with use.

Alarming Clock

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.



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