Now, see, this one I love. How about an alarm clock that wakes you up by reciting Shakespeare? Even better, though I don’t see anyone saying it in the comments, would be if it also played appropriate quote when you hit the snooze button.
5:58…5:59….6:00 “O now be gone, more light and light it grows!”
“It was the nightingale, and not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear. Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.”
Yes, I deliberately switched up those quotes.
The problem with the whole concept of, well, a concept alarm clock is that it has to be the best at so many things. It has to be a good radio (these days, perhaps, an MP3 player). It has to be a good clock (some people like well lit LED, some people like traditional analog, some people like large digits, some have it broadcast onto the ceiling…) You can’t just take a single idea like “Have the alarm be Shakespeare” and have the rest just work itself out.
A long time ago as part of a brainstorming exercise, myself and some other engineers were trying to dream up the perfect alarm clock. The idea that I had was an alarm clock that immediately started reading the news to you, so you could stay in bed with your eyes closed for a few minutes while still being productive. It would be voice controlled so you could say things like “Sports!” and have it jump to sports, skipping over Traffic. If you said nothing it would just go through all its stories in a row, like the local news. But unlike the local news, for any given story you might say “More” or “Pause” or “Repeat” to focus on something in particular.
These days I know exactly how I’d build that, almost. It’s basically a podcast receiver, sitting on your nightstand, with voice control. You program it with some news/sports/local related RSS feeds, it refreshes them as fast as it can, and then it reads them to you. At the time I saw two problems – true local news feeds were never up to date so you couldn’t get a good traffic or weather feed. Second, you’d have to rely on text-to-speech since the freshness of the data would preclude having somebody actually record and post an audio file. I think the first is pretty well solved at this point (Twitter, even?) but the second is still a bit tricky.
Ok, you Shakespeare geeks don’t care about tech stuff like that. The idea just brought back memories. I may take this over to my other geeky blog and continue it there.