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Hardware Hacking Hardware

The World's Most Devious Alarm Clock 639

wired_parrot writes "If you have trouble waking up, try this: MIT media lab has created an alarm clock that, when you press the snooze bar, runs off into a corner, a different hiding place every day. Try hitting the snooze bar again now!"
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The World's Most Devious Alarm Clock

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  • by RaguMS ( 149511 ) * on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:39AM (#12043075) Journal
    "Just don't press the snooze button and keep your current alarm clock!"

    "Why not just get up when the alarm goes off the first time? I always wake up and face the day with a smile."

    "I disabled the snooze button on my clock so I always have to get up"
  • Wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Where was that when I was bashing, throwing and generally destroying all the alarm clocks of my youth? I remember I had one that played "The Macarena" (what better way than to wake up to a HORRIBLE song) for a few mornings until I threw it out the window. Now if it hid, I would find it, but at least it would've lasted a *little* longer.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Radical Rad ( 138892 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:55AM (#12043587) Homepage
      "The Macarena" (what better way than to wake up to a HORRIBLE song)

      When I used to wake up to music on my alarm clock I actually noticed a big difference in my attitude depending on which station I had it preset to. Classical music woke me up slowly, gently and left me in a very agreeable mood. Pop music or Rock music was not nearly as pleasant to wake up to but it was highly dependent on the particular song playing. Country music was the worst. I don't mind hearing it in the middle of the day, but waking up to 'Achey Breaky Heart' made me want to spit bile and kill something.

      I quit waking to music though because sometimes the station would drift and I wouldn't be woken up at all. The buzzer never lets me down.

  • by lavaface ( 685630 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:40AM (#12043079) Homepage
    It wouldn't take me long before I broke that fucker's legs off (no, I didn't RTFA but I'd bust it's wheels if that be the case)
    • Re:You know . . . (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quantum Fizz ( 860218 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:19AM (#12043380)
      Kids in the Hall (IIRC) had the best idea for an alarm clock, as a fake commercial.

      The 'alarm' sound consisted of the most annoying recordings of your mom nagging you in her most obnoxious tone to get out of bed.

      But not just that - there was no snooze or power off. The only way to turn it off was to get onto the connected exercise bike that came with a heart monitor. You then had to pedal until your heart rate hit some critical value to turn off the alarm, at which point you wouldn't go back to sleep.

      A funny skit, but totally brilliant as well.

      • Nahh...

        I had a "baseball" alarm clock in the 80's. the only way to hit snooze was to throw it. next time the alarm went off you HAD to get out of bed to hit it, and that typically would wake you enough to stay up.

        Unless you left your bedroom door open and you threw it out into the hall where it rolled downstairs and you finally woke 2 hours later after 1st period exams were finished....

  • by Jjeff1 ( 636051 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:40AM (#12043082)
    Or I'd have 9 of these things roaming my house.
  • Fantastic (Score:2, Funny)

    by exley ( 221867 )
    Should I buy myself one of these, this means I just end up finding a way to fall back asleep with an obnoxious sound coming from some random corner of the room every day.

    Maybe if the clock rolled its way onto my bed and started harassing me that might do the trick, but I'm far enough from being a morning person that having the alarm going off won't stop me from snoozing, no matter where it is or how long it keeps going.
    • sounds like me, except i simply didn't bother with pressing snooze. i just fell right back asleep without even shutting the buzzer off...
    • Re:Fantastic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scheme ( 19778 )
      Maybe if the clock rolled its way onto my bed and started harassing me that might do the trick, but I'm far enough from being a morning person that having the alarm going off won't stop me from snoozing, no matter where it is or how long it keeps going.

      You don't want a clock, you want a pet cat or dog. They can get very insistent when it's feeding time.

  • ail.asp?cat_id=535&type_id=973&cat=001C
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:40AM (#12043087)
    If the inventor [] is around, I bet I will never sleep. Geek girl folks .. there is a hope for all of us.
  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:40AM (#12043088)
    Programmable automatic coffee maker.

    The smell of fresh brewed coffee makes me want to get out of bed to get my fix.
    • my solution is my roommate..

      if i hit the snooze button too many times, she takes my covers and occasionally hits me with her pillow.

      it's a good system.
    • Another alternative (Score:3, Informative)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )
      Apparently a company just released a watch [] that monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you up when you're at the lightest point in your sleep cycle.

      Does anyone know if there are other implementations of this? Devices which are designed to wake you up when you hit the lightest part of your cycle?

  • by strateego ( 598207 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:41AM (#12043091)
    My room has so much crap in the corners anyway, the thing would never make it. I can't even get to the corners of my room.
  • Wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by killa62 ( 828317 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:42AM (#12043095)
    I don't get it, why don't they just make it roam around before the alarm sounds...
    That way, you don't get a chance to hit the snooze button.
    Heh, or make it run around WHEN it's alarm is on..
    That would be very annoying and would wake you up faster with moving sound
  • by Eric(b0mb)Dennis ( 629047 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:42AM (#12043096)
    The more annoying the alarm clock, the eaiser they tend to... mysteriously break...

    I reckon this here alarm clock would mysteriously shatter into many pieces after one to many attempts to try and hit the snooze button again
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:42AM (#12043099) Homepage
    Who was it that said, "Those who fight and run away live to fight another day"?

    Seems strangly apt here.
  • Glad to see.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Targen ( 844972 )
    Glad to see MIT researchers are dedicating their sharp minds to something like this. :P

    Seriously, though, this could really come in handy after a coding marathon on the night before a midterm. Hell, it's probably the reason these guys even considered making something like this...
  • A simpler solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the packrat ( 721656 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:43AM (#12043109) Homepage

    Wouldn't it be easier to just set the snooze button to give you a slowly increasing electric shock?

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:15AM (#12043355) Journal
      Wouldn't it be easier to just set the snooze button to give you a slowly increasing electric shock?

      "In this isle we have the Guantonimo Bay model..."
    • I did this in High School when I first learned about transformers (electrical not the robot toys). It's an ok idea, but it's hard to wire yourself up before bed and keep connected. Plus just like a snooze alarm you eventually learn to sleep through it. :o)
    • When a standard alarm goes off in the morning, for some reason it turns me thrashy and frantic to get rid of that horrible sound... I have completely wiped lamp, stack of books, cat, and everything else off my nightstand in a confused effort to turn it off. It got to the point my body would wake me up EXACTLY one minute before the alarm went off so I could avoid it. My fiance's new alarm clock has an option where it slowly increases the sound volume, and you could change the duration of time it takes to r
  • by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:44AM (#12043113)
    I can guarantee I'd be bringing it in for repairs every day.

    Me: "It uh... broke"
    Clockly Repair Man: "it rather looks as if it was smashed with a hammer, repeatedly"
    Me: "well it fell... into... a bag of hammers"

  • by jesdynf ( 42915 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:44AM (#12043115) Homepage

    You've now created a robot that opposes the will of carbon-based lifeforms by design.

    It's sole purpose, bringing suffering to humanity.


    Buncha friggin' geniuses./P

  • Prior art. (Score:5, Funny)

    by merdaccia ( 695940 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:45AM (#12043122)
    I have the same problem with my girlfriend. If I make any attempt to touch her in the morning, she runs off and I can't find her the rest of the day.
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:45AM (#12043127)
    This is a complicated solution. The easy method is to simply tie your alarm clock around the body of your sleeping cat.

    Not only will you not hit the snooze button, but you get to hear the doppler effect each morning!

  • One Of Us (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _Hellfire_ ( 170113 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:47AM (#12043145)
    Does this remind anyone of Hap's "smart" Alarm Clock from Michael Marshall Smith's One Of Us [] ?

    If you've never read any Smith, I definitely recommend it - One Of Us is one of the funniest books I've ever read.
  • I could only imagine the laughter that would ensue with switching out someone's alarm clock with this while they're sleeping.... (if they're a snoozer and aren't awake enough to notice the changed clock)

    It just goes and hides from the person... hhahaha

  • This would be perfect the first day. On day 2 I'd just smash the @#$^ing thing to bits.
  • Heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:49AM (#12043170) Homepage Journal
    Well, I really don't have anything interesting to say about this particular article. I gave up on snoozing.

    Instead, I figure I'll talk about what I do use for an alarm clock. I have a Nokia 3650 that I have retired. (Battery is toast...) I set up reoccuring appointments on it so it wakes me up on weekdays. Okay, that's pretty boring. However, when I have to wake up for special circumstances, I set up an alarm with a text message telling me why I need to get it. (i.e. You've got a flight at 6 am!!!) Why does that matter? I always read the message. If it's something really important, I simply don't snooze.

    Again, not sure if anybody really cares but I thought I'd share anyway. Knowing why should wake up helps deal with the whole snooze problem.
  • Still asleep, with eyes closed, my body will pull itself out of bed, drag itself toward the source of the noise, grab it with one hand, and slam it against the hardwood floor until the noise goes away. Six hours later I'll wake up, and wonder why I'm lying on the floor with my new alarm clock in pieces.
  • it would find itself airbourne out the window.

    I prefer to wake up gently and kindly. I have a CD player alarm clock and I burned a custom CD that wakes me up gently and kindly with music of my choice.

    I change the CD every few months. Right now the play list is:

    1. 2/2 by Brian Eno from Music for Airports
    2. Aguirre by Popul Vuh
    3. Ode to Hats, by yours truly
    4. Autumn by Wendy Carlos from Sonic Seasonings

    by that time, I'm up and out of bed, grumbling about the day, and getting my daughter fed and d

  • Sooner or later one of these will crawl off into a traffic path and the alarm's owner (stumbling out of the room in a drowsy fog) will trip over it and break his/her neck. The liability insurance alone will be more than the projected $20 cost!
  • This is new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thogard ( 43403 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:55AM (#12043211) Homepage
    Last year I bought something that does this at the local pet shop but it doesn't have a snooze button. Its also seems to be permanently set to about 1/4 hour after sunrise or whenever the traffic starts picking up in the morning, which ever is earliest.

    For an project for an Engineering class, I built an alarm clock based on an a 6811 board. It could decode a signal from WWV so it never needed setting and it had some advanced alarm features such as figuring out when the lights went out to decide how much to advance the wake up time. It also could cope with the later classes on Tue and Thur and beep in a non threatening way around noon or so on Sat and Sunday.

    It also had a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor so it if it was very cold or raining then it would go off about 10 minutes early. If it was real dark and wet and cold, then it wouldn't go off at all. For some reason, the professor didn't like that feature.
  • by Barlo_Mung_42 ( 411228 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:55AM (#12043214) Homepage
    When I lived in Anchorage Alaska for a winter I found that I was really affected by the lack of day light. I had to put a second wind up alarm clock on the top shelf in my closet across the room.
    Even then I woke up one morning on the floor in front of my closet with the clock in my hand, late for work again.
    Not long after that I moved back down South.
  • by HexaByte ( 817350 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:55AM (#12043216)
    My alarm clock's snooze button only works if you get up and make her a bottle. By that time you're wide awake, but after you feed her SHE goes back to sleep!
  • MY room... (Score:3, Funny)

    by nsaneinside ( 831846 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:55AM (#12043217)
    ...only has four corners.
  • Oh My God! (Score:3, Funny)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:00AM (#12043262) Journal
    That looks like a domo-kun, but shorter and fatter. I bet I can scare my cats with it.

  • Holy Crap! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ABeowulfCluster ( 854634 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:12AM (#12043339)
    Could you imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these?
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:17AM (#12043371) Journal
    after I press the snooze button, and I guess that after that I'll just have to grab my Taurus .44 Magnum out of the left hand nightstand and pop Clocky with a 240 grain wad cutter.

  • Another solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:22AM (#12043404) Homepage
    While an alarm clock that hides is, admitedly a lot more fun, the same effect could be achieved with only electronics.

    Have an alarm clock with a keypad and a multi-digit display. When the alarm goes off, display a randomly generated multi-digit code. The user must enter the correct code to stop the noise.

    I think the ability to read and correctly key a code requires a level of consiousness similar to searching a room. The complexity of the code could vary depending on the user's ability to handle numerical data entry when half asleep.
    • It'd have to be battery powered.

      When I was living in the dorms, I put my alarm clock on top of my TV, which was on top of a huge dresser. I could only reach it by jumping to hit the snooze. After about 3 days, I just pulled the plug and went back to sleep.

      Maybe that's why I'm going to community college now....
    • Instead of jarring us awake with mechanical screeches demanding us to apply cold logic, why not use the built-in system we already have: our eyes. It's much easier to wake up when the daylight starts earlier and you have a south-facing window which is open. I simulate this with a simple desk lamp hooked to an outlet timer. A half-hour of light before my alarm goes off, and I'm usually already awake.

      It also helps to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Maybe we argue that there is too much to do in a day to affo
  • by Forbman ( 794277 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:46AM (#12043548)
    ...has got to be a curious 2-6 yr old child.

    First they yell at you. "Daddy, it's time to wake up!"

    Then, they start beating on you.

    Finally, they pry your eyes open.

    Just dandy fun at 6am on a Sat or Sun morning.
  • by triffidsting ( 594096 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @02:01AM (#12043611)
    I could swear my keychain already exhibits similar behaviour, clearly MIT stole the design from me.
  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) * on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:53AM (#12044191) Homepage Journal
    "Daddy. Wake up. Wake up Daddy. Daddy. Wake up.... Wake up! DADDY. DADDY!!!! WAKE UP!!! DA-DEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!... WAKE UP DADDY!!!

    Then, he starts hitting me. I've had my alarm clock disconnected for months. Waste of electricity.
  • Another option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:59AM (#12044212) Homepage Journal
    Not only do I know the problem (I used to need almost an hour to get out of bed), I also was wasted for the first 2-3 hours of every day.

    Until I bought a "dawn simulator". here's one [], there are many others.
    Essentially, it's just a bright light, with a matte glass so it spreads out a little (you can actually look into it without hurting your eyes, even though it's bright enough to light up the room).
    What it does is dim it up slowly. Really slowly. Mine can be programmed to start at 90, 60 or 30 minutes prior to "wakeup time".
    So I need to get up at 7 am. At 6:30, it will start to slowly dim up the light, reaching full brightness at 7 am, at which time it also sounds a soft alarm. By that time, however, I'm usually already awake.

    I was a bit reluctant until I said "what the heck" one day and just tried it (found a vendor with a 21-day money-back-no-questions-asked policy).

    The concept is that it simulates dawn, triggering your natural processes of waking up. A normal alarm clock just shakes you out of bed, and leaves it to you to become awake over the next few hours or so.
    • I'd just roll over and pull the sheets over my head. There's no way this would wake me up. I frequently sleep through the real sun shining right into my (closed) eyes. I also sleep perfectly well with the light on.

      When I wake up, I generally have no idea who I am, where I am, what I'm supposed to be doing... I sometimes have the feeling that if I could just get out of bed, things would become more clear, but I can't remember how to do that. I've slept through about anything you can think of, including
  • by EEBaum ( 520514 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:26AM (#12044310) Homepage
    When the alarm clock goes off and the snooze button is pressed, Clocky will roll off the bedside table and wheel away, bumping mindlessly into objects on the floor until it eventually finds a spot to rest.

    My floor? It'll make it all of two feet before getting caught at the Ephel Duath of papers, books, and clothes on the floor.

    Minutes later, when the alarm sounds again, the sleeper must get up out of bed and search for Clocky.

    I think not! They really should look at the habits of people who *need* a devious alarm clock and hurry out an all-terrain model :P
  • by Cloud K ( 125581 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @07:08AM (#12044745)
    I've been fighting with alarm clocks for years. Always becoming immune to them and either sleeping through altogether or having an unconscious habit of pressing the snooze button. I've tried all manner of ways to get around it - using multiple alarms, putting the alarm across the room... I'd always manage to snooze them, often turning off all except one, then walk back across the room and flop back into bed.

    Then it just clicked a few weeks ago - one of those "duh" moments. ( As blogged on my site [] ) I threw out my digital alarms, went out and bought an old-fashioned Westclox wind-up alarm. You wind it up every night, adjust the little lever to allow the hammer to move between the bells at the alarm time, and that's it!

    Then it goes off and you get up.

    It really is that simple. I wish I'd thought of it 10,15+ years ago!

    It doesn't have a snooze function, so you know you have no choice in the matter... you can't "just return to that dream for another 10 minutes" - you have to get up. And there's nothing like a hammer striking a couple of bells to make you jump out of bed, much more effective than some little buzzer.

    About 3 weeks using it so far, haven't snoozed once ;) Best "gadget" (traditional clocks are actually pretty cool IMO) that I've bought in a long, long time! And they're so user friendly... ok they're not millisecond-accurate but it's fun adjusting them to get as reasonably-accurate as you can.

    I tell ya, the snooze button was the worst design decision ever made. Alarm clocks are designed to be evil, to give you a sudden kick to get you out of bed - then they went and put a "shut up" button on it! Evil, evil idea and so many of us now waste up to an hour of our days just fighting that damn button because we all sit there and accept it. I'd love to meet whoever invented it so I could bring along the biggest "snooze button" I can find and hit him around the head with it.

  • by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:04AM (#12045411) Homepage
    Some people have the alarm clock from Hell, some the alarm clock that would wake-the-dead, but a friend of mine had or had the alarm clock for the-end-of-the-world. It would wake anyone up with in earshot. Earshot could be the entire neigbhorhood (OK maybe I exaggerate a wee bit).

    I cannot describe the toodling buzzing, distorted horn noise it made. If you heard it you'd know. When I'd visit him and stay overnight I could hear it in the next room. The thing is he wouldn't wake up. He wasn't dead or drunk. No one else I knew was immune to the sound. Not even his room mate. Now that my friend is married I don't think he has that alarm clock any more. But I'm sure we'll all hear it again someday...
  • by khrtt ( 701691 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:43AM (#12046289)
    My usual method is, set the alarm so late I can barely make it even if I don't snooze. Then I won't have any illusions about using the snooze button. Plus, I get maximum sleep.

    And if it turns out to be not enough sleep, I just sleep through the alarm anyways. And if I'm late, I'm late, and it doesn't matter if you're late by 10 minutes or 2 hours - I still have to lie about dog ate my homework, or buy new plane tickets, or whatever, right?

    Life is short. I don't have time for snooze buttons.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.