There are few gadgets less tyrannical than the alarm clock, a literal reminder that our lives are regimented not by peaceful rhythms of natural light, but by gnomish mechanical taskmasters who hiss and buzz and vibrate us from our rest. On the other hand, we don't sleep in caves to be woken by centipedes mating in our ears. Progress is thorny!
The trick for alarm clock manufacturers, then: to craft devices that wake you, but just enough — an impossible calibration across the craggy depths of individual slumber. The "Vibrating Alarm Clock" by Karlsson — I'll give you one guess at its special mechanism — is meant to slip under your pillow, its keys encased in a plastic sheath to prevent accidental midnight deactivation*. It doubles as an LED flashlight. In the morning, put it in its recharging station, where it reclines the rest of the day as a simple clock.
Of course, my phone's alarm, when turned to silent mode, will also vibrate. Perhaps vibrate hard enough to wake me. And when it's done being my alarm, it returns to being my phone.
If you don't have a phone — or you use a Windows Mobile handset that would snap your neck if you secreted it under your pillow — you can pick up Karlsson model for just £25.
* Nothing to be embarrassed about.