— 28 February 2005 —

Where’s the Snooze Button?

I saw the KidSmart™ Vocal Smoke Detector on a gizmo-related web site today.

The most important feature of the KidSmartâ„¢ Vocal Smoke Detector, and the reason you should have one in each of your children’s bedrooms, is its patented “familiar voice” alarm.

Nothing is more effective at awakening your child from deep sleep than your own voice, which your child’s brain recognizes as familiar and important. This phenomenon has been studied by the Victoria University Sleep Lab in Victoria, Australia and the University of Georgia – and in both studies the “familiar voice” of a parent proved 100% effective at awakening sleeping children in seconds.

While this is the type of product that you really do want 100% success rates in your usability testing (if they did that), the only thing that came to my mind was this: how the hell am I going to depend on this thing when I can’t even get my daughter to wake up on a normal morning by shaking the bed and saying, “Sagan, wake up!”

I want to see a branded version of this detector that has tentacles that whip around, a hissing noise, and Bill Paxton yelling, “Game over, man! Game over!”

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