VAR: Very Alarmed Reseller

Students at the venerated Massachusetts Institute of Technology have produced a wealth of high-tech advancements: Robert Metcalfe’s Ethernet technology, Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, and the ìrobotic antsî created by James McLurkin, to name just a few. But among sleepyheads, no one should be more

lauded than 25-year-old MIT student Gauri Nanda.

Nanda recently invented a revolutionary alarm clock; dubbed Clocky; that falls to the floor and rolls away on the first push of the snooze button, thereby preventing slug-a-beds from abusing the feature. To turn it off, a person must get out of bed and find the sneaky device.

The clock features two rubber wheels and is covered in 1970s-style shag carpet and other materials to cushion it when it falls to the floor. A built-in computer chip randomly decides how far the clock will roll, so it stops in a different place each morning. According to news reports, Clocky is still a research project and is not yet commercially available. But keep an eye out for it, so you can pick it up as a Christmas gift for those lazy teenage kids or that sleepy spouse. Or buy it for yourself as a ìHappy Monday morningî present.

Duck storage

Who you gonna call? In other invention news, the Japanese company that a few years ago launched popular computer data storage units shaped like rubber ducks has started selling a new product: A ghost detector.

According to news reports, SolidAlliance Corp.ís portable GhostRadar beeps and flashes red lights in response to unusual magnetic waves. It also reacts to body heat and perspiration detected by a sensor where users can place their thumbs.

The gadgets went on sale recently in Japan and the first shipments to the United States (and possibly Canada) are apparently on their way. GhostRadar comes attached to a USB memory key offering up to 512 megabytes of storage. It was unclear at press time whether the memory key is designed to store ectoplasm.

In Japan, GhostRadar costs about twice as much as a regular USB key, at around $450, according to Yokohama-based SolidAlliance. North American prices haven’t yet been decided.

Stocking this device could give a whole new meaning to VAR: very alarmed reseller.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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