The alarm that makes you play games to turn it off

If you’re always oversleeping Microsoft has come up with a fun way to get you out of bed, literally, with its Mimicker Alarm app…

27 Jan 2016

Snooze, snooze, snooze. If that’s how you usually emerge, bleary-eyed from your cocoon-like bed, then prepare to transform instantly into a morning butterfly with Microsoft’s new alarm clock app. And it’s an alarm clock like no other.

The Mimicker Alarm app makes you complete fun tasks to turn the alarm off so there’s no more wasted time snoozing your mornings away. Microsoft insist their app, released through Microsoft Garage (their experimental projects platform), is not as harsh as some alarms which don’t even give you a snooze request. They let you have one 5-minute snooze to delay the game before the fun starts. 

But taking a morning selfie to stop your alarm buzzing loudly could sound very harsh to those who aren’t naturally at their most effervescent as dawn breaks.

So what exactly does the Mimicker Alarm app make you do to wake up and stay up? You play 3 simple games in which you ‘mimic’ in different ways. There’s no shirking with this Android app. Alarm clock

Take a selfie

A groggy selfie is an unusual way to wake up but all you need to do is mimic an emotion in your selfie when Express Yourself suggests one. ‘Contempt’ may well be an easy one for you to do at 5am but ‘happiness’ could be a stretch for some.

How does it work? The Express Yourself game is based on Microsoft’s emotion API which identifies emotions based on universal facial expressions.

Tip: make sure you have enough storage available on your phone before you set your alarm. If you hoard images on your phone and your storage is almost full you don’t want to be caught out by not being able to take a picture to turn the Mimicker Alarm app off.


Find and take a picture of a colour

With Colour Capture you’re asked to take a picture of a suggested colour. This game is the one that could potentially take the longest. If you don’t have a hot pink object in your home to snap then your alarm could just keep ringing. At least you’ll be up and out of the bedroom though so mission accomplished for the app.

How does it work? Colour Capture is powered through Microsoft’s Computer Vision API which uses image processing algorithms to identify visual content.


Credit: Microsoft


Repeat a tongue twister

Say what you hear – a tongue twister. This Tongue Twister game wouldn’t require much brain power, after all you’re just repeating a saying, so this is probably the easiest game of the 3 as long as you listen carefully, and can engage your mouth with your brain. Oh hang on – being articulate the moment you wake up isn’t for everyone – it might be tricky after all.

How does it work? Microsoft’s Speech APIs use complex algorithms to process spoken language.


If you don’t complete a game in 30 seconds then, you guessed it, your alarm goes off again. Luckily if you really don’t like a particular game (running around the house for Colour Capture for instance) then you can choose which game to wake up to when you set your alarm.

All 3 games on Mimicker Alarm app are powered by machine learning APIs from Microsoft Project Oxford.

The Mimicker Alarm app is available for Android users on the Google Play store.

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