The newly developed app, available solely for Android devices for now (versions 4.1 Jelly Bean or higher), was launched on Wednesday, January 20, by the Microsoft Corporation.
The free software assists users who have trouble waking up in the morning to complete this apparently simple, yet grueling task.
Moreover, it also ensures that people actually remain wide awake and start off their daily routine, instead of getting up just briefly, in order to dismiss the alarm and then doze off once again.
This is achieved by having the app user play a “mimic” game. Basically, the program asks the would-be early riser to complete a given task in less than 30 seconds.
If the individual manages to successfully do that, the alarm stops ringing; otherwise, it resumes as many times as necessary, making it impossible for the user to oversleep and be late for school or work.
There are 3 sets of games that players can choose from, and the app can be customized in order to select one of them or a combination of them so as to serve as a “mimic challenge”.
For example, one such quest requires the user to take a selfie, illustrating a specific emotion. The software verifies if the that feeling was exhibited vividly and convincingly enough thanks to its Emotion API (application program interface).
This is based on Microsoft’s Project Oxford, through which tools powered by artificial intelligence are developed, focusing on 4 major fields: facial recognition, speech to text conversion, photo editing and analysis and natural language processing.
Based on machine learning, the Mimicker Alarm is capable of examining the user’s face, and determine if it’s indeed enacting the required sentiment.
As explained by Allison Light, program manager at Project Oxford, if the portrayal is too weak and unpersuasive, then the app will ask the individual to try harder, in order to prove that he or she is indeed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Another game requires the user to say a tongue twister, and success in completing this task is assesses based on the software’s Speech API, which examines language patterns and ensures that the incredibly hard to articulate phrase was spoken not just correctly, but also fast enough.
The last trial consists of identifying and photographing an object in the house bearing a particular color. So as to verify if the goal was achieved, the app relies on its Computer Vision API, which distinguishes hues in a photograph.
Even more, upon successfully completing the daily Mimic challenge, users can share their results on social media, in order to let friends and family know about their efforts of turning from night owls into early birds.
While the games may seem childish and simple at first, in the early hours of morning they may prove more demanding or stimulating than expected.
Also, they show just how advanced machine learning has become nowadays, allowing electronic devices to analyze visual content, speech, body language and micro-expressions.
Those wishing to test Microsoft’s Mimicker Alarm will be relieved to know that despite the fact that the app requires them to make recordings or upload personal photos, the data they transmit to the Project Oxford platform will only be used in order to make the machine learning software more reliable, without serving in any way to identify them or compromise their privacy.
The lifestyle app that promises to make early rising more entertaining and effortless than ever is completely free of charge, and can be downloaded at the Google Play Store. Also, developers wishing to create their own program inspired by the Mimicker Alarm can access the open-source technology on GitHub.
Image Source: Thurrott