My iPhone, along with any other smartphone that gets pulled into the fold, is my alarm clock by default. It gets plugged up on the night stand beside my bed every night and goes off at the same time every morning. Best of all, it's with me everywhere I go, which means if I'm out of town, I get the same wake-up call I get when I'm home.
But if there is one downside to using a smartphone as an alarm clock, it's that the same ol' annoying, abrupt, sleep-disrupting chime or tune it plays makes you hate it – both the sounds and role it plays in your morning routine – more every morning. The more annoying it becomes, the more likely I am to reach for snooze without lifting my head and doze off again minutes later.
I don't usually get quality sleep to begin with. I toss, turn and snore. And I'm almost positive I have sleep apnea. But pair that with an abrupt and startling alarm at sunrise and its a perfect storm for a cranky morning ... every morning. (I used to be a morning person.)
Thankfully, there is an upcoming "smart dock" for the iPhone that promises a more peaceful morning.
In its large back of tricks, Lumawake promises to "improve your life" by monitoring your sleep and waking you up much more naturally. Using a motion detector, the Lumawake companion application for iPhone will deliver detailed information about your previous night's sleep.
Using built-in illumination around the iPhone in the dock, Lumawake simulates a sunrise based on your motion. It determines when you are entering the lightest phase of your sleep cycle so you will wake up naturally and feel refreshed thanks to its smart wake technology.
On top of that, if you have your house setup with SmartThings or WeMo by Belkin for home automation, the Lumawake system will collaborate with these systems to automate tasks upon waking or falling asleep. Fall asleep with the television on? Lumawake can turn off the television for you when you drift off. Or it can start brewing a cup of coffee and open the blinds for you in the morning – that is, if you have the automation already setup.
Using the companion app, the user can fully customize how Lumawake works for them, what color the illumination displays, how it performs in the morning and how it handles notifications.
There is more than one tough knot to swallow with Lumawake, however. For starters, its hefty price tag is enough to turn some away. At $149, it's certainly not cheap. But it is also seeking crowd-sourced funding – think Kickstarter, but Lumawake's creators are calling the shots. They're looking for roughly 1,000 early brand evangelists (read: beta testers) – the equivalent of $150,000 – to get the project off the ground. Currently, the project is nearly halfway funded with 447 backers and $66,603 in funding with 22 days to go. Those who back this product can expect to receive their unit in early 2013, and they won't be charged until Lumawake units are ready to ship.
I can honestly say Lumawake is one of the more unique and intriguing iPhone-specific products to surface ... ever. It's promising and seems to exceed what I would ever expect out of a smartphone dock. I would love to monitor my sleep and could definitely use a more peaceful morning wake-up.
But for someone who doesn't have home automation systems, $150 is really too much to put into a dock. Even still, I'm teetering on the edge of backing this project. There are two things holding me back: I'm currently waiting on too many projects that I have backed (OUYA, Pebble, TGT, Bandit Guns, ChargeCard, Leap Motion and probably some more that I've forgotten about) to deliver and I'm not exactly sure how much longer I will keep the iPhone 5.
It looks like this may be the first awesome project that I will have to pass on. But I guess I have 22 days left to figure that out for certain.
What do you think about Lumawake, ladies and gents? Sure, it's a bit expensive for a dock. But most smartphone docks start in the $50 to $80 range and do little more than charge your phone. Is this smart alarm clock/sleep monitor worth the extra cash? Will you back Lumawake?