Inventor Hopes Alarm Clock Becomes Runaway Hit

The Boston Globe:

“Clocky” is finally up and running. It’s running away from drowsy owners reaching over to shut it off and go back to sleep.

Clocky’s inventor, Gauri Nanda , a 27-year-old entrepreneur who graduated from MIT last year, said she hoped that her small launch last week — only “a couple of thousand” were shipped — marked the start of a big business.

Richard Kimball , received one of the first shipments of the long-awaited runaway alarm clocks last week.

“It was appropriately aggravating,” he said, reporting that it jumped off his desk after a one-minute snooze alarm he’d set expired. “It started running around beeping and making an annoying racket that would get you out of bed,” Kimball said. “It bumps off walls, goes here and there. It seemed like it was trying to hide behind my water cooler.”

When she came up with the idea for a runaway clock two years ago, during an MIT industrial design course, Nanda admits she didn’t expect it to have much appeal beyond the demographic of college students who stay up too late and have trouble waking up in the morning. The clock has a built-in microprocessor that randomly programs its runaway speed and routes.

But after an MIT website published photos of an early Clocky incarnation — looking like a homely, shaggy-faced granola bar on wheels — it became an overnight Internet sensation.

Clocky had a makeover since Nanda’s initial conception. Today’s model is rounder, and made of plastic; its dial and buttons are arranged to resemble a face, and it comes in colors like cream and aqua.

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