Long Introduction

For a while, I was thinking about what I could build that I had already built so I could finish this homework without needing a late night and squeeze in some extra sleep time.

But in true finals spirit and to make things as challenging as possible. Even better, I decided to start this project the night before it was due.

Lately, my thoughts have all been revolving around sleep. As I push myself to stay up late and get things done over finals, I find that I’ve been missing my morning alarm more.

Wake up earlier on weekends. Now you get to sleep in for 5 days a week instead of two.

To fix this problem I’ve been thinking about getting a louder alarm. Or possibly on of those alarms that move and are un-snoozable. But the more I think about it the more I think we see it all wrong. A few nights ago, it occurred to me as I was trying to get an amazing 4 hour sleep night but couldn’t because a mosquito had gotten into my room. A thought occurs to me and I check online to see if I can buy mosquitos and I can!


Mosquitoes are the worst, right? Well, what if the alarm clock (it really is a dead man’s switch, right?) unleashed something horrific so that you HAD to wake up to prevent it!

Mosquito Alarm Clock


Simply place a mosquito in the capsule. Press the button to reset your sleep timer. And then wake the fuck up or the mosquito gets loose and you’ll have bites on your face.


In terms of components, I really wanted to do this with a stepper notor rotating a threaded shaft, an LCD screen, and a button to reset the dead man’s switch.

alt New toys from tinkersphere: stepper motor and stepper motor driver.

alt Stepper motor driver breaks… FML

alt And now I have to go at it with raw wires! Luckily, I hate JSTs and I’ll probably end up in the hospital removing one someday. So cutting this off felt glorious.

alt In frugal ITP fashion, I thought I could use a bolt and nut as the threaded rod. Well, why not build a custom shaft coupler to mount the bolt to my stepper motor? Ben definitely didn’t tell us not to do that.

alt Ah, ahead of schedule. Green tea ice cream sandwich break.

alt Custom shaft coupler looks pretty great glued together!

alt And it turns great too!

alt Here it is!

alt Lasercut a quick cardboard panel to start putting things together spatially.

alt The LCD module is a real pain because it requires 23213,12312,12213129821 OUTPUT pins. =X I finally got it working and I still don’t get why we need a potentiometer…

alt Rushing through everything, I decided to use long wires and wire nuts. Because I hate soldering and what could possibly go wrong? Somehow, I already know I’m going to regret the wire mess…

alt Midway progress looking pretty good!

alt And now to figure out how to house our mosquito. Beautiful option A: glass, beautiful, and a ton of work.

alt Realistic option B: plastic, cheap, acorn.

alt Lasercutting a real wood top.


alt Morning of, I can’t seem to get my stepper to turn anymore… yet it still hums as if to taunt me. The mess of wires comes back to haunt me. I give up and decide to use a servo. To really showcase what I’ve learned, I decide hot glue will work just fine for this tiny servo.

alt Finished countdown timer! “Time Til Death”

alt Given the mishaps, it’s not quite done but it’s almost there…