Three cheers for Professor John Zimmerman, who's finally doing some research to benefit Joe Public, and who has invented a device that lets parents sleep in late and put the kids to bed early on those long summer days. Zimmerman, of Carnegie Mellon's School of Design and Human-Computer Interaction Institute (and probably a parent himself), designed the so-called 'Reverse Alarm Clock' to give the tykes a visual representation of their expected schedule; when the clock's 'Sky Display' shows a sun, young children know they're free to roam about the house, but when a moon and stars appear, they'd better not get out of bed lest the boogie monster devour them whole. So far the system -- which uses a parent-set sunrise and moonset calculator, and also features a "Treasure Chest Music Selector" to pleasantly awaken your own little treasures -- doesn't seem to be commercially available, which is kind of a shame, because we know more than a few people who would love to trick their tiny terrors into bedtime at five o'clock on the daily.

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