Hate that shrill sound of your alarm clock in the morning? A new bedside device claims it will get you to rise and shine to sweet-smelling aromas. SensorWake – dubbed the “world’s first olfactory alarm” – aims to wake sleepyheads up with the scent of peach, hot croissants – even dollar bills. The device reached its Kickstarter crowdfunding goal three times over and will be available from November at $68 (80 euros), including two 60 use-capsule. Metro spoke with Guillaume Rolland, the 18-year-old French engineering student behind SensorWake, about this new way to awake from our slumber.
Q: How did you come up with SensorWake?
When I was 17, my father, who is in charge of a nursing home, was telling me how some of his residents were having difficulty waking up because of their impairments. So, I thought about it and an olfactory alarm-clock seemed a solution.
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Q: What makes smell better at rousing people than sound?
When you wake up to a scent, you enjoy a gentle and fresh awakening, without any frustrations usually created by the sound or light in the morning. What’s more, you can personalize your morning by choosing your favorite scent. For example, you can wake up with an aromatherapeutic scent like ginger – it’s perfect for a fresh, "zero-frustration" morning. Actually, we propose the perfect way to start our day as waking up well directly influences the rest of your day.
Q: How did you figure out the best scents for waking people up?
I worked with doctors, experts and Givaudan, a big company in the flagrance industry, to develop special scents that are truly stimulating to wake you up in the morning. Research into the aromas was really important.
Q: What about users with allergies or hypersensitive noses?
Scents are developed to be 100% healthy, so free of any solvents or volatile organic compounds. And the device doesn't leave any residue on surfaces.
Q: Is the gadget easy to use?
It works like a capsule-operated expresso machine. Insert the scented capsule (hot croissants, coffee...). At the scheduled time a concentration process begins and the scent is diffused towards the user to wake them up in 2 minutes.
Q: Google recognized SensorWake’s potential as one of the top 15 inventions “that can change the world” at their 2014 Science Fair. How are you dealing with the success so far?
It's a big surprise. I'm only 18 and it was impossible for me to expect this huge response. And it's just the beginning. The best part is that people from all around the world send me nice messages; they come from Asia, the U.S., Mexico, Europe… It's incredible!