I was intrigued as soon as I heard about this new form of alarm clock from a Nantes startup, founded by then-19-year-old Guillaume Rolland in his garage.
The Sensorwake Olfactory Alarm Clock wakes you up with a gentle three-minute waft of artificial odour. It comes with a cartridge of toast smell. You can also buy seaside, coffee, chocolate, peppermint and grass (oh, and croissant – although in many decades of croissant-eating, I somehow never realised they had a distinctive bouquet). How convincing are the odours? Well, my sample came with a coffee cartridge. I set it up for a blind test one evening when I had some people over, and the majority view was that it was coconut, but a very pleasant coconut. A couple said it was coffee. My thus fairly confident assumption would be that the rest of the range is similarly subjective.
But that doesn’t dissuade me from finding this a pretty fine gadget. Reason being that the wake-up routine is in two parts: first the smell, then a little electronic tune. All of this works really very well. The clock also has an excellent big, clear display and the whole thing looks kind of cool, like a miniaturised 1970s TV. Each capsule lasts for 30 awakenings.