Scented alarm clocks & smoke alarm light bulbs: 6 exciting new French innovations

By Kitty Knowles 24 February 2016
Sensorwake scent-spraying alarm clock. Pic: Sensorwake.

Meet some of the brightest new businesses from the Créative France showcase at Soho House, London.

Known for its high profile design, fragrance, and cosmetics industries, some of France’s namesake industries are going through new waves of innovation.

The country is already an attractive destination for UK investors with almost 2,300 British companies employed over 230,000 people across the Channel.

Now a new campaign from Business France called Créative France seeks to further that bond, and last night dozens of France’s brightest new companies set up on the trendy rooftop of east London’s Shoreditch House.

Meet five of the coolest attendees…

The scent-spraying alarm clock

No one enjoys hearing the bothersome beeping of an alarm clock first thing in the morning: Now though, you could skip out grating sounds altogether to instead start your morning with SensorWake.

Founder Guillaume Rolland came up with the scent capsule system alarm clock two years ago, aged 17, and the company’s success snowballed following a promising Kickstarter campaign.

“We were really annoyed with alarm clocks,” company CMO Adeline Constant told The Memo. “We tried to make something new that could wake you up happy in a good mood, every morning, all week long. We’ve done this with not hearing but with smell.”

Users are able to pick their own scent out of a vast range, Constant explains:

“It just has to be a stimulating and concentrated scent, something you like; hot chocolate, coffee, croissants, or the seaside.”

“We wanted to create scents that everyone would like,” she adds. “If bacon or toast is very popular in the US or the UK, we can adapt very easily and make new ones.”

Bacon butty before breakfast anyone?

The smart smoke alarm light bulb

We do love a connected lamp, but new business Belle & Wyson are now pushing the boundaries even further.

Founded in 2014, the company tries to balance sleek design with connected technology to solve problems you didn’t even realise you had.

“We’re trying to do things that others don’t,” co-founder Stéphane Burton told The Memo. “We first launched an integrated LED light and smoke detector which was completely new on the market, and we’ve since designed a camera light bulb.”

“Today if you wanted to have a smoke detector connected you have to do a lot of wiring, but in our case you just screw it in and it works.”

For Burton, it’s about making life easy and beautiful, a combination that has seen the brand featured in exhibitions like Germany’s Messe Frankfurt, and France’s MAISON&OBJET.

“We try to make things people can be proud to have in their homes – very often connected devices, IoT devices are not so nice to look at,” he says.

“All the projects we do we have the same concept: something simple and well-designed that people can use in a connected way, but also simply on a daily basis.”

The clever connected cosmetics brand

Even the biggest skincare brands aren’t tailored to your day-to-day activities yet, but one company is treading new ground.

Romy Paris, founded in 2012, uses an app and specialist skincare capsules to create a daily regime that changes according to your daily needs.

“It’s a completely new way to make cosmetics,” co-founder Morgan Acas told The Memo. “We have a Romy app for your smartphone that takes all of your data – whether you’re planning on going for a run, or doing any sports, measuring the weather and your pollution peaks – and we can use this to give you the best recommendation each day.”

“Of course France is the cosmetic country, but we are creating new technology and breaking all the rules of the industry.”

“Using our capsules you can make a freshly made cosmetic, your own personalised skin care,” says Acas.

Romy Paris will send out stock for the first time in March 2016, and plans to launch in department stores and have their own flagships stores in the UK.

Personal pollution tracker

If you live in a city you probably simply ignore the high levels of pollution around you every day, but Plume Labs is on a mission to raise awareness and help you to protect your health.

“Air pollution makes it hard to breath in our cities, it impacts people’s health and their wellbeing,” founder and CEO Romain Lacombe told The Memo. “Our app helps people avoid pollution and its negative effects.”

“At its core it’s actually an information issue,” explains Lacombe, who previously helped the French government set up its open data task force. “To avoid harmful pollutants you need to have forecasts that are correct in real time by the hour.”

“We’ve built environmental artificial intelligence that use data sources from all around the world to helps people to decide the best times to engage in outdoor physical activities, or when to bike instead of travelling by bus.”

Plume Labs currently acces data from 300 major cities and metropolitan area around the world to feed its forecasts, and last year the app made headlines after it pinpointed that for a few brief moments France was more polluted than Beijing.

“It demonstrated the value of transparency on the air we breath,” said Lacombe of the reading. “To us the question of pollution is not something that unfortunately will be solved in the next fifteen years, it is something we have to start protecting ourselves from.”

The designer fragrance diffuser

Dutch entrepreneur Wim Meulenkamp just upped France’s fragrance game, with a new dispenser which emits 200,000 vibratory waves per second to delicately transform pure perfume in a dry cold mist with no gases or burning for diffusion.

“I created Êverie in France because if you talk about fragrance, if you talk about luxury, if you talk about craftsmanship, you talk about France,” the founder and CEO told The Memo.

“In other perfumes you’ll find there’s a lot of alcohol in them, a lot of solvents, but we went back to the essence to use technology to diffuse this without heating it, without gas, without adding any artificial. It’s far purer, higher fidelity.”

The device, which took three years of research to create, launched in Harrods last year, and will be making a flagship fragrance for the department store.

“Like N’espresso, we make little capsules that you infuse into a machine in your house,” said Meulenkamp. “This has very innovative technology inside – like inkjet printing technology – that allows us to defuse the perfume in the best quality.”

“We’re also going to make the diffuser itself connected so you can control the machine from a distance, and in the future we might even think about creating your own personal perfume at the instance of fusion,” said Muelenkamp.

A colour change igloo

Imagine lying on padded couch, and relaxing – or napping – in a pod carefully hued to suit your mood.Created by Pantone Universe founders Valerie Corcias and Dominique Kelly in 2014, My Coocoon, is a space that can seem at once both gentle and vibrant, where calming music plays, and if your lucky, soothing scents drift in the air.

You even select your ideal shade through a smart-connected app.“It’s an immersive colour experience,” Kelly told The Memo. “At Pantone all the projects we are working with are colours, it is something that is very present with Valerie and me.”

“Today the world is very aggressive, and people need this change, to rebalance and meditate.”

Read more: My Coocoon: A colourful igloo of calm in your office