This invention -- an alarm clock that releases a synthetic coffee smell when the alarm goes off -- is sort of neat, in a tacky sort of way. I'm sure it doesn't smell as good as real coffee. And more importantly, there is no real coffee, so if you use the thing you're starting your day off with disappointment from the very first minute.
Better idea? An actual bedside coffee grinder/alarm clock. The whir of the burrs wakes you up while releasing the sirenous aroma of real fresh ground coffee. Say, Guatemala Huehuetenango. The coffee dispenses into the state of the art automatic bedside Clover, which brews a perfect cup before you even have time to remember the name of the alluring woman lying next to you. All for just three easy payments of $19.95.
(Pop quiz: Which aspect of my above fantasy is most unrealistic? Hint: It's not the $60 Clover.)
I actually did have an idea for an alarm clock once, but it used a paper shredder instead of a coffee grinder. The shredder is in one room, such as the kitchen. It communicates wirelessly with the alarm clock in the bedroom and is set to turn on five minutes after the alarm goes off. Before going to bed, put a $20 bill in the shredder. Then you have to get out of to bed to save your bill, and by then you're in the kitchen, so you might as well make some coffee. See my original post on the economics of the situation.
I've since decided a better alternative would be to give the money to the charity of one's choice rather than shred it. Perhaps the alarm clock could communicate the time for which it's set to your computer. In the morning, you'd then have to log in to your computer in time to prevent an automatic transaction from billing your credit card for a donation.
The drawback would be that if your Internet connection is down or your computer isn't working, you can't stop the transaction. The upside is that over the long term, you won't mind if you overslept a few mornings and ended up donating $100 to the humane society. Yet since that doesn't mean you want to donate $20 every single day, the alarm is still effective.
[Via TMN. Cross-posted on Eternal Recurrence.]