Only the greatest people in the world are able to always wake up with a smile on their faces and fire in their spirit. The rest of us, we mostly struggle with our darkest demons, no matter how early or how late we wake up. That is why there are countless alarm apps that try to wake you up in a unique, sometimes even creepy, ways. Microsoft now has one as well. But the Mimicker Alarm for Android is even more unique because you’ll need to convince its AI that you really are already awake. At least before you throw the phone out in frustration.
The basic goal of the alarm is the same any other “gamified” alarm apps. You need to push some grey matter in order to turn off the alarm, just long enough so that you’ll really be awake in the end. For angry. At first glance, the Mimicker Alarm apps are just the same, offering three choices of games to get you up and about.
The simplest is perhaps “Color Capture”, which needs you to snap up a photo of an object that has the named random color in the app. While that might sound easy, it does depend on you having something like that in your room. If not, you’ll have to go out and, in the process, become wide awake. “Tongue Twister” is as its name says, which is useful considering how cognitive ability is needed for a difficult task such as that.
And finally, there is “Express Yourself”, which requires you to make a face to match the emotion noted in the app. It might be the one that causes the most joy or exasperation, depending on how well you can make faces at that time in the morning. Whatever the outcome, you can always share your morning selfie on social media afterwards.
These seemingly simple games actually have some very heavy computing behind them, particularly artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision. These features are provided as open source API from Microsoft’s Project Oxford, the very same people behind Microsoft’s recent amusing, sometimes ridiculous, “How Old” and “Twins or Not” web experiments.
Mimicker Alarm is available for free on Android and showcases some of Microsoft’s latest AI research. Just be sure you know what you’re in for when you try to hit that snooze button.