Playful and fun-loving aren’t the terms that I would typically associate with Microsoft, but the Mimicker Alarm app comes from Microsoft Garage — they produce projects in small teams distributed throughout Microsoft, like Google Labs does inside of Google — which is perhaps where they keep all the zanier folk.
So what exactly is the Mimicker Alarm app? You will no doubt be shocked to hear that it is an app designed to wake you up in the morning. Setting up the alarm looks very much like any other alarm app, and it adheres well to Material Design principles for those that value that kind of thing. Where it departs from the run of the mill alarm app is when that alarm goes off. You can snooze for five minutes, but as soon as you dismiss the alarm you are given 30 seconds to complete a challenge.
In order to make sure that you not only wake up, but actually stay awake, the Mimicker Alarm app forces you to play a game with it in order to shut it off. “Game” is perhaps a strong term for what the app asks you to do; tasks can vary from making a specific expression at your camera, taking a picture of something that matches a specific color or repeating back a tongue twister. The point is that they require you to focus on a task and likely long enough that you will be forced out of your restful state and be ready to face the day.
The game relies on Microsoft’s Project Oxford, which you may have seen previously powering things like How-Old.net, which attempted to identify the users age from a photo, or the TwinsOrNot.net site that logically enough tried to compare two photos and identify whether they are of twins (or the same person).
The main intent of this app, as with previous projects leveraging Project Oxford, is to show off the capabilities of the APIs. It is entirely open source, with the code available on GitHub. This is a useful and clever app that you can download for free if you are looking to change up your morning wake up routine.