The marriage of hardware and software is giving rise to a plethora of connected gadgets that can be controlled via your smartphone. Which of course beats the fiddly proprietary menu interfaces gadget lovers used to have to put up with. Here’s the latest connected gizmo hoping to find its way into your heart and your home: iwaku is a wirelessly connected wake-up light plus smartphone app that lets you can set its wake-up light alarm to your tastes — adding music to go with your faux sunshine, or not.
As well as its own app, iwaku’s creators say it can integrate with third-party sleep-monitoring apps — such as Sleep Cycle — so that you can set the light to come on at the most appropriate time for you, i.e. so you’re woken up when you’re in lighter sleep and consequently feel more rested. iwaku uses Bluetooth Low Energy to link to your smartphone so is compatible with newer iOS devices (iPhone 4S onward) or Android handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and all HTC One models.
Sleep cycle apps typically work by using the phone’s accelerometer to monitor mattress movements — meaning you have to put your phone on the mattress when you turn in for the night. “We use the same principle where apps track small movements of the sleeper as an indication that he/she is entering a lighter sleep phase. When a light sleep phase is detected the sleeper is gradually woken with the increasing light,” explains iwaku founder Jochem Reijndorp.
Reijndorp adds that iwaku is in talks with the Sleep Cycle App developers to see if they can integrate iwaku as a wake-up light with their natural alarm clock proposition. He says iwaku is also planning to open up a public API — in “about a month” — to allow developers to build other stuff that taps into the wake-up light’s dimming feature.
Another feature of the iwaku lamp is it’s been designed to throw out a high light intensity which its creators say means it can double as a light therapy device to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. “iwaku is also a bright light therapy device with which a user could actually improve his sleep rhythm (bio rhythm). This could even be further enhanced with analysis of his sleeping patterns, but this is not something that is being offered in our app right now,” adds Reijndorp.
iwaku is the creation of Dutch startup, founded last year, that’s currently privately funded. Reijndorp says it’s doing a “small crowdfunding” in The Netherlands to get the first production batch of iwaku out the door, adding that “a Kickstarter or Indiegogo is on my list for entering into the U.S market, but this depends on how well the introduction in the European market will go”.
iwaku is expected to go on sale in Europe this fall, with North America following “soon after”. RRP will be €229/$299.