Still Tired? There’s Help to Outsmart the Snooze Button



Temptation, thy name is the snooze button. Dating back to at least 1959 with the Westclox Drowse electric alarm clock, the day delayer has long appealed to the weaker side of our wills. At best, activating the booze sets a precedent procrastination for the day. But their true danger lies in the risk that its respite could result in your falling asleep again and missing important commitments.

In 2005, MIT graduate student Gauri Nanda tackled the issue. An early home robot of sorts, Clocky is an alarm clock that included a pair of wheels so that it can scoot along your floor at the appointed alarm time, forcing you to get out of bed. The idea was that the rigor of the chase would be brisk enough to prevent one from getting back to sleep. The company Nanda founded more recently released a sequel, Tocky, which updates the proposition of the runaway clock by allowing it to play MP3s. (I thematically recommend As Time Goes By.) Beyond the Nanda devices, there have been other attempts to make sure one is hitting the target of an early start.

Fast forward more than a decade from Clocky and we live in a world of smartphones and sensors that have threatened to send the alarm clock to the big sleep along with the point-and-shoot camera, GPS device and MP3 players. Some have taken a night stand by catering to the trend. For example, Electrohome offers a retro-themed alarm clock that can light up its top “bells” or snooze with a wave of the hand. And Homtime offers a compact alarm clock that combines a Bluetooth speaker with two front-facing USB ports to keep your smartphone charged for a, um, wake up alarm.

Others have leveraged crowdfunding to try to ensure a clean break from slumber. Ruggie is an unconventional sensor-driven alarm clock that requires your to firmly plant both feet on its surface to confirm that you are vertical. But just in case you have any thoughts of hopping back into bed after quelling its floor-bound facade, there’s Spritely. This snoozebuster includes a sensor that lives in your bed, vigilantly waiting to alert should your mass meet mattress. It stands to be the most effective under-mattress sleep disruptor since Hans Christian Andersen’s fabled pea that ruined the princess’ night.

If you want to stick with your Android smartphone, but still have to pass a consciousness test to help ensure waking up, Microsoft may have your horizontal back with its app Mmicker Alarm. Continuing the work from its Microsoft Garage group I’ve discussed previously, the app requires you to complete an alertness challenge to turn off the alarm. This can be expressing an emotion, choosing a color, or repeating a tongue twister. The app serves as a proof of concept demonstration for the software giant’s artificial intelligence research. showing that even computers have to get up pretty early in the morning to get you out of bed pretty early in the morning.



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