ClockyClocky is a brand of alarm clock outfitted with wheels, allowing it to hide itself in order to force the owner awake in an attempt to find it. Invented for an industrial design class by Gauri Nanda, then a graduate student at MIT Media Lab, Clocky won the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in Economics. After earning her Masters Degree from MIT, Nanda founded a company, Nanda Home, to commercialize Clocky and other home products.
The original prototype, built in three days, was covered with shag carpet to appear like a pet. After the end of the design class for which she invented Clocky, Nanda did not make any further plans for the device. However, several months after a description was posted on the Media Lab website, pictures of Clocky were picked up on various technology product blogs including Gizmodo, Engadget, and BoingBoing. Within two weeks information about the device became an Internet meme and Nanda, the inventor, had been booked to demonstrate the device on Good Morning America.
Nanda filed for a patent and, with support from her family, left MIT after a master's degree to found Nanda Home and develop the invention for commercial production. The newer version, though not carpeted, is still designed to appear zoomorphic. Production is outsourced to Hong Kong. As of August, 2007 the company had sold 35,000 Clockies.
Clocky may be used as a regular alarm clock. However, after the second time the snooze button is pressed the device moves on its own power. A microprocessor ensures that the device will move at a random speed direction, and around obstacles, using a different route each time. Large wheels on shock absorbers extend beyond the top of the clock to protect it from impact should it roll off a nightstand. By the time the alarm sounds again the device is in a place unknown to the user, who is forced to determine where it is, and possibly walk to that location to press the snooze button again. As...