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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Robot of the Day: Clocky, R2-D2-like Alarm Clock on Steroid

Clocky is a robot alarm clock created by Gauri Nanda, a graduate from the MIT Media Lab. Unlike other stationary alarm clocks, this R2-D2 or Droid-like little robot rolls off your nightstand when it's time to wake up, and rolls all over your room while making cute noises. This also means, in order to stop the alarm, you can't just keep hitting the snooze button and have to really get up to chase down Clocky in order to turn it off. What a great idea!! In fact, this idea is so great that after graduation, Nanda started her own company, Nanda Home, to commercialize the product and have already made millions.

This is yet another one of those innovative ideas of using simple robots to solve real world problems. Clocky is not a complicated robot at all. In fact, it doesn't really have any navigational capabilities or make any intelligent decisions. It just runs around randomly, looks cute, and annoys the hell out of you. But you have to admit, it does get the job done. The only possible downside is that you might be so mad after waking up and want to throw it out of the window. Although it's build to withstand falls from your tables or nightstands, but it probably won't survive free fall from anything higher than the second floor. The robot sells for around $49, and you can find many with different colors from places such as Amazon. I must admit, this little robot makes a great gift idea. So if you ever plan to send me a know...

Last year, the company made Clocky a cousin and named it Tocky. Tocky rolls around like a ball, can also play MP3 files, and is $20 more expensive. So pick the one that's easier to catch for you.

I really wonder if someone will make another robot that will chase Clocky down and shuts it off, so we can go back to our sweet dreams uninterrupted. I can imagine how hard it is to develop such a robot, because you probably have to understand concepts such as Kalman Filter or Particle Filter.

If it has a wiki page, it's worth something! (Now someone creates a wiki page for me please! :)

Video of the Day:

Check out Flying Alarm Clock. At first I thought this is Clocky moving in 3D. But I was wrong!