April 10, 2005

Which Is Your Favorite Deadly Sin? Mine is Sleepyheadedness

What makes people think that overengineered wake-up technology is going to overcome the raw power of human sloth?

A female MIT student has invented an alarm clock which purports to solve the whole "hit the snooze button eight million times" problem with a special feature: the alarm clock jumps off the bedside stand and rolls away on the floor, so the user has to physically get up from bed and turn it off.

Okay, sure, you get some cute points for giving the invention a name ("Clocky") which brings to mind delightfully weird Pee Wee's Playhouse memories, but still.

Veteran snoozehounds like myself realize what a waste of effort this really is. For awhile in college, when I was in a cycle of staying up too late to finish papers and study, and then desperately trying to wake up early enough each morning to get to my coffee shop job (where they expected me to show up bright eyed and bushy tailed before seven a.m.), I had an even more elaborate system in place to help me wake up on time. It involved lights on timers, strategically located and consumed cans of stimulating beverages, multiple alarm clock around the room that got progressively louder with each snooze resetting, and the ancient, pre-technology standby "hungry cat who begins knocking things down when he's not fed immediately upon the awakening of his owner," and I still managed to sleep too late.

Is this the best application of the energies of our young scientists? How about some wakeup technology that lets me greet the day with fresh breath? Something that gently removes the ick from my eyes before I even open them? An alarm clock that styles my hair? That would be revolutionary. Somebody write a letter to the National Science Foundation. Maybe they can do something in conjunction with the Olsen Twins' CutieMegaGloboChemoCom.

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