The maxim of ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ has taken on a literal meaning with the new Nescafé Alarm Cap. The concept revolves around us waking up to subtle cues of chirping birds and heading over to a jar of Nescafé, twisting the cap open to switch off the alarm and then proceeding to make a cuppa instant fix. True, who can resist the smell of coffee first thing in the morning? Besides robots, and maybe the undead?

The Alarm Cap is a collaborative effort between the coffee giant, the creative agency Publicis Mexico’s Innovation Labs, NOTCOT’s creative studio NOTLabs, digital designer Eric Brockmeyer, and illustrator Charmaine Choi. The result of their creative genius is a USB powered, 3D-printed coffee lid that runs on a custom-built Arduino platform. Interestingly, the cap is entirely printed and assembled in California.


Getting into the details, the coffee jar lid sports an LED interface and and four-way joystick on its underside. These lights are synced with the different alarm tones, so in essence the lights blink and match the alarm tone. Careful thought has been given to the tunes, as the team wanted to invoke the process of gently waking and stimulating the mind, first thing in the morning. No jolting you out of bed!


The cap has two design variations, one of them is a faceted cap and the other is an accent cap. NOTLabs created and assembled the caps in-house, then 3D-printed them in nylon through Shapeways, on an SLS printer. The interior pieces were printed with a MakerBot Replicator using ABS and PLA materials.


If we take a step back and look at the project from an external perspective, this is what just happened – A big brand has partnered with smaller agencies and used basic technology (one that is used by us plebs) to come out with a creative marketing product. In short they have found an innovative route to connect with their consumers. The caps are limited to 200 numbered units for the moment, but given the hype we hope more will go into production.