For many people the sound of a smoke alarm is so unpleasant that they’ll take the batteries out just to avoid it; for Jer Thorp, it’s a useful notifier whenever a key news story hits the wire. Jer rigged up a smoke alarm to sound when a keyword-identified article appears, creating the incredibly annoying NewsAlarm.
As with many other hacks we’ve seen recently, the NewsAlarm relies on an Arduino board for its primary link between the basic circuits of the smoke alarm and Jer’s MacBook. A simple app monitors NewsWire according to preset keywords, and whenever the keywords – say, regarding Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper – start to flag up in more then 25-percent of the new stories the alarm is triggered.
Jer plans to put together a simple, dedicated breadboard for the NewsAlarms, using a wireless link rather than the current USB connection to the MacBook. He even wants to construct a whole bank of NewsAlarms, at which point he’ll probably deafen himself.