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'Reverse Alarm Clock' keeps the kids in bed so you can party

Evan Blass

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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