Stevens Inventor Brings Alarm Clock for World's Most Stubborn Sleepers to Market
April 19, 2012
Paul Sammut (B.E. in Mechanical Engineering, 2009), a research engineer at Davidson Laboratory, spends his days in the facility’s wave tanks building innovative underwater vehicles.
Sammut has more than enough smarts, knowledge, creativity and drive to lead some of the world’s most cutting edge marine and naval transportation research projects. What he doesn’t have – or didn’t until recently – was enough time to enjoy the typical leisurely morning routines of adulthood.
As a young sleep-deprived professional, Sammut hardly ever had breakfast or read the newspaper before he was off to work. When his alarm went off, he would simply hit “snooze” until the very last minute.
“My sleepy self subconsciously knew that I didn’t really have to get up that early,” Sammut said. “So with regular alarm clocks, I would always just turn them off and go right back to sleep.”
Tired of oversleeping, Sammut’s engineering training and love of design kicked in. Drawing on the experience gained developing his Senior Design project as a Stevens undergraduate, he built a prototype of Ramos, a remote deactivated alarm clock that gives you no choice but to get up out of bed and start the day.
“I wanted something that wouldn’t just wake me up, but that would force me out and away from bed at the time that I wanted,” Sammut said. “That’s why I built Ramos. It is designed to be smart – to get you out of bed without any inconvenience and thwart attempts to defuse it from bed in hopes of sleeping in.”
When Ramos signals wake-up time, you have to punch the day’s date into a keypad located in a separate room to turn it off, which requires you to get your brain working right away and also forces you far away from the comfortable bed you probably want to crawl back into. It has a “snooze” mode, but you can set a maximum number of snoozes allowed before the mode no longer works. If you try to unplug it, a battery takes over.
In some ways, Ramos isn’t that different from the typical alarm clock. It has a number of tones and features available in three different models, which range in price from $200 to $800. There’s a “ramp up” function where the alarm increases in volume. It even has a “courtesy” mode where the gadget only sounds for 10 seconds, and then gives you one full minute to get up and punch in the code before it sounds again.
But Ramos – which took three years of developing and testing to perfect – worked wonders for Sammut, who uses it every single day.
“Ramos makes sure you wake up when you want to wake up,” said Sammut.
To help others who find it difficult to rise and shine, Sammut wanted to share his invention with the rest of the world. In February, he launched Ramos on Kickstarter.com, a web site that invites the public to invest in creative ideas.
“I’ve always built things, but this was the first time I’ve ever tried to launch something as a product,” Sammut said.
Relative inexperience proved to be no issue. With a catchy video describing Ramos, the invention received rave reviews by Gizmodo, the Associated Press, Fox News and other media outlets.
Potential users also embraced the idea. Sammut has already raised more than $150,000 to fund expenses associated with manufacturing Ramos for the market, including renting a wood shop and machine shop, buying electrical components, investing in a spray finishing system and creating an assembly process.
“As of now I’m just concentrating on creating a manufacturing process and making the clocks people have already ordered.”
That’s no easy task. Sammut has already received more than 400 pre-orders, which he hopes to fill by the end of the summer and ship out in September.