By detecting a person's movements using a sensitive microphone, HappyWakeUp uses statistical analysis to decide when your sleep rhythms reach a natural 'almost awake' state, and will wake you gently at that moment - up to 20 minutes before your latest-possible alarm time.
The smart alarm clock is the result of a study conducted in two Finnish universities, Tampere University of Technology and the University of Helsinki, and is the first health-promoting mobile phone technology in the world.
In order to develop a simple sleep screening method, MSc Vaino Virtanen in Tampere University of Technology, started to record and analyse snoring two years ago.
"Very soon we noticed that a common microphone is very sensitive to any sounds and voices produced by movements in the bed during night-time. Everyone has heard the typical voices, when a mobile phone has accidentally called you from someone's pocket", said sleep specialist Tapani Salmi, MD, PhD.
The sleep research group used the new technology to develop HappyWakeUp, which gives an alarm signal in the morning just before the ultimate alarm time, if the sleeping subject is awake or "almost awake" due to the natural sleep rhythms. During these moments, the body and brain are already awake and waking up is natural and easy
"It is rather an arousal clock than an alarm clock", said Salmi.
One can set the alarm time normally with the mobile phone, which is located beneath the pillow or the bed linen or near the sleeping subject. The appropriate almost-awake moments are detected by using a microphone and statistical analysis of voices.
During the last 20 minutes before the ultimate alarm time, the analysis is activated to give a soft alarm signal, if there are movements indicating that the sleeping subject is awake or "almost awake". If the subject is sleeping calmly, no alarm signal is given before the ultimate alarm time.
"The alarm signal during deep sleep is stressful and familiar to everyone, but with the smart alarm clock this is avoided. After a trial period of some days or a week, you start to notice the benefits", promised Salmi.
If used continuously, the clock also helps the internal clock in your brain learn the proper sleep rhythms.
"Pleasant mornings help avoid stress in your body and brain. Elevated stress-levels are associated with several risk factors and even diseases, such as hypertension and problems with the heart and brain. HappyWakeUp is not a medical product or treatment to any disease. "In case of sleep-associated diseases and symptoms you should contact your doctor", said Salmi.
HappyWakeUp is available for Nokia smart phones based on S60 3rd ed FP1 platform at www.happywakeup.com. A one-week trial period costs 2 Euros. A two-month trial period and a permanent license are also available.