Bedbot – furniture with a tech twist

Fine woodwork has always been a mystery to me. I blame the church summer camp I went to when I was nine, where the boys got to build wooden doorknockers shaped like woodpeckers, and the girls – you guessed it – got to paint them with flowers. (This also meant that half the children didn’t get to take a doorknocker home with them at the end of the week. Very poorly thought out, Rev H.)

I once made a shelf to go inside an airing cupboard.

Perhaps I assign too much value to things I could never, ever contemplate making myself. But I’ve a suspicion that the rest of you will also think this project is pretty darn amazing: here is Bedbot, created by Peter Roca, the sort of person who can casually say, “The drawer front is a ¾″ thick piece of curly maple that I had laying around”.


Peter calls Bedbot a Daytime Initialisation Assistant. In short, Bedbot is there to ease Peter from sleep into a state of energised morning wakefulness. It is a very over-engineered alarm clock.



Peter did a gorgeous job of constructing the furniture itself. He then designed and built the hardware that lives inside Bedbot, wrote the software (which includes a rather snazzy user interface in QT), put in a touchscreen from Adafruit, and an OLED screen to tell the time with.

Peter says:

It tells time
It can wake me up in the morning
It can play FM radio (f*** AM)
It can play internet audio streams
It can play audio from a headphone jack in the back
Anything else you can think of that requires the internet, speakers, a touchscreen or a radio antenna.


He’s made an online Board Explorer to show you around the hardware (beware: this won’t work on mobile devices) which is well worth your time. There’s also video of Bedbot in action which we can’t embed here, which Peter has made part of his exceptionally thorough build diary and writeup – go and check it out. You’ll find all the software he used on GitHub.

Thanks for the writeup, Peter – we love it. It’s a beautiful object: we hope it continues to cheer up your mornings for a long time to come.


alexeames avatar

That is wonderfully mad. Combines two of my favourite activities too.
*Checks wood supplies for curly maple*

dhruv avatar

Wow ! Now that’s cool . Wake up to fm or somthing .

Michael Horne avatar

Lovely piece of furniture, that, before you even get to the tech.

Homer L. Hazel avatar

That is a lovely piece. I could possibly make it if I had a year or two. At best I am a rough carpenter. Nobody will ever accuse me of being a Finish Carpenter. (nor Swedish either). If I were to make this, it would probably look like a stack of pallets that haven’t even been sanded.

Now, if I can make it smaller and let me program or select a tune to use to wake up my Grand Daughter, I may have a go at it. I am the only morning person in the Family, so I get to wake her up. For many months, it was “Do you want to build a snowman” Now it is “Axel F” (the theme from Beverly Hills Cop), plus the tune the President plays on Monsters Vs Aliens.

I may actually attempt a table top version, Very simple. Just a box.

Peter Roca avatar

Homer, you can absolutely make Bedbot WAY Smaller. All it really needs is the hardware to work. My (very novice) circuit board is like 13in x 5in x 1.5in, and I could probably dramatically reduce it building it a second time. As far as the software goes, if you know Python, you can do whatever you want with this. It’s configured with JSON files, so you don’t need to mess with the code at all to configure the presets.

Homer L. Hazel avatar

Thanks for the reply. I will definitely make it smaller. I don’t know Python yet, but I just bought the books from Adafruit in the USA and am studying easily (that means not too hard yet).

I have to follow the links to your project. Thanks again.

Yvan T. avatar

I can imagine we can add wheels to it to evade capture or to trigger a bed shaking apparatus for those that has problems waking up in the morning.

Or press multiple snooze buttons to stop it :)

Liz Upton avatar

What you need, Yvan, is cats.

Helen Lynn avatar

Or preschoolers. Or cats, interacting with preschoolers.

Yvan T. avatar


Cats big enough to shake the bed when they jump in, ought to scare you wide awake. Especially if they roar in your ear instead of a mellow “miaow” :)

MalMan35 avatar

I will only wake up to LOUD sounds so… I wake up to dr.mario fever theme (very 8-bit sounding :D) every morning. Cool wood working though. Maybe you could add a little mole that pops out of a hole and you have to bang it with a hammer to shut off the alarm. :P

Peter Roca avatar

That is a brilliant idea

MalMan35 avatar

Thx! It would take concentration to shut it off so by that time you would be woken up! (In therory ;D)

Timothy avatar

Awesome! Just need a little painting and it’ll be perfect!

Douglas Newman avatar

Just came here from your website.

Wow! Absolutely amazing workmanship, creativity, and design in everything you’ve created there. Oh… I forgot functionality!

Well done!

David Schlie avatar

Nice work, very inspiring.
I “The Destroyer of Wood”, would have to do it in metal or get my youngest brother in-law to do all the wood work!

Hmm, Python you say.
I can do that!

Thanks for sharing (and inspiring)!

noi that gia dinh hoa phat avatar

Great creativity, I am looking for information about interior design ideas. I will bookmark your blog

Jane Richards avatar

When I scrolled down and saw the picture of this table,all I said was WOW! It looked so beautiful then I found out it was a very fancy (and elegant) alarm clock. If I could I would make one for myself but for now I just have to stick with waking up to my phone’s alarm.

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