Microsoft's new Android alarm app won't stop until you're super awakeBy Devin Kate Pope
Did someone ever try to wake you up by singing or opening the blinds or doing something equally annoying? My Mom was partial to singing a song about birds and the sun, and I hated it as a teenager. Now, thanks to Microsoft, there's an app that will annoy you into waking up. Meet the Mimicker Alarm app for Android, released through the Microsoft Garage.
After the alarm goes off, the app forces you to play a game to ensure that you're wide awake at the end of it. There are three options: "Express Yourself" (where the app gives you an emotion and you have to take a selfie that matches it), "Color Capture" (where the app gives you a color and you have to take a photo of something that's the same color), or "Tongue Twister" (where you have to say a, you guessed it, tongue twister.) There are also different options for the alarm sounds like with most alarm apps.
There is an option to snooze, but once you dismiss the alarm there are only 30 seconds to play one of the games. "And if you don't complete that game in time, we assume you've fallen back asleep and then the alarm will start ringing again," says Allison Light, a program manager on a team that develops apps for Project Oxford. Luckily, just playing one game (not all three) is enough to shut off the alarm. Then you can go about your morning and not think about having to repeat the demented cycle again the next morning.
This alarm might sound like my personal nightmare, but really it's just a fun app to show off the cool stuff Microsoft's machine learning can do. "We are showcasing several different Project Oxford APIs," Light says. "Since we're open sourcing all of the code, we thought an alarm app would be easy for other developers to read the code and see how we used the APIs." Fun for developers, maybe not so much for the peacefully slumbering folks who don't want to wake up just yet.