How can I make a wake-up light?

You must've seen them before, those alam clocks that simulate the "rise and shine" feel when you need it the most: winter.
Now instead of wasting money on one with chirping bird sounds and other stuff I don't need, I want to build one myself.
The problem is that this would be my first design of an electronic device, and I don't know where to start. Should I get an arduino for being the clock + alarm clock part? Is there a more elegant way of having a 1Hz alarm clock triggering a light dimmer circuit? Is using an LED bulb a good idea? Where do I start?
The fundamentals don't seem that complex, but it's putting it in practice and actually drafting the design and picking the right components that's hard.

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Re-design7 years ago
A very simple way would be to substitute a relay for the speaker/buzzer in an alarm clock. The relay contacts can control a 120 volt light if it is rated for 120 volts. That way instead of a buzzer you get a bright light in your face. I'd use a second one or add a buzzer to the relay also since lots of people don't wake up when the light comes on.
Giedow5 years ago
This summer im gonna make just that, using a timer to controll a lightbulb and a motor that will slowly take away a piece off wood. if I am done and I made a tutorial i will post it here.
cephalopoid (author)  Giedow5 years ago
Awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing it!
as promised:
onrust7 years ago
Use a clock radio and the speaker is the power for your light.
jeff-o7 years ago
Well, here's one, written by Eric himself!

You'll see a bunch more in the "related" column to the bottom right, and more still if you do a search.