Unitasker Wednesday: The flying alarm clock

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

The Flying Alarm Clock is targeted to the difficult-to-wake audience. At the appointed alarm time, the attached propeller launches and flies away from the base station. An audible alarm can only be silenced by the user retrieving the propeller and returning it to its base.

It includes a snooze function, the very existence of which defies imagination.

While the clock would seemingly cause a Rip Van Winkle to get out of bed, so would any ordinary alarm clock placed across the room from the bed. Additionally, decapitation, black eyes, window/mirror breakage, wounded pets, dented ceilings/walls/floors, and plethora harms would not be an issue with an ordinary alarm clock. However, it could be effective if you had a home intruder and were able to coordinate the alarm properly — amazement, injury, and the alarm could prove to be beneficial.

Available from Tech Tools, and a feature at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

39 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The flying alarm clock”

  1. posted by Marc on

    I can’t even imagine how miserable I would be if I had to wake up to this every day.

  2. posted by Skeemer on

    Actually gave this to a friend. He probably threw it away asap. lol.

  3. posted by Brian on

    Well clocks in general are “unitaskers”, this one doesn’t do anything less than any others. If anything, you’d be inclined to keep the bedroom clean when you couldn’t find the propeller…. until you stepped on it.

  4. posted by Erin Doland on

    I love that so many mornings could be spent in the hospital …

  5. posted by ryan.t on

    My alarm clock is set across the room. I’ve gotten into the habit of sleep walking to my clock, ripping it out of the wall, and going back to sleep.

    I wake up not remembering anything, and not knowing what time it is.

  6. posted by Peter (a different one) on

    I simply have a two year old. He’s not consistent, but always awake before I need or want to be. Plus he’s more fun.

  7. posted by Rachel on

    My husband has his clock across the room – and it doesn’t help at all. Not that the room is very big either. Our first child is just like her Daddy – they can sleep through ANYTHING.

    But I did get a good early morning chuckle out of this alarm clock! Thanks!

  8. posted by Luis on

    Well, keep your windows shut, I guess. Or be prepared to go downstairs wearing your jammies to collect the propeller.

  9. posted by Johnny on

    This clock ranks up there with the alarm clock with wheels (moves around and makes you chase it to turn it off).

    I had a roommate in college who had 3 alarm clocks, one across the room and one on each corner of his bed. He still managed to hit snooze on all of them and go back to sleep, much to my chagrin.

  10. posted by Kai on

    you clearly didn’t look at this thing too well. It’s a small piece of plastic that flies. Sure, if someone was standing right over it at the time, it could be an eye-problem, but that’s not too likely.
    This thing cannot possibly break windows or mirrors or dent your walls or ceiling.
    For those of us who don’t hold our eyes directly over our alarm clock shortly before it goes off, and don’t keep pets in our bedroom, it’s entirely safe.
    Isn’t any alarm clock a unitasker? I think the valid complaint about this one is that it is more expensive than a basic alarm clock, but it’s not any less multitasking.

    You also must not be too heavy of a sleeper. In high school and college I had three alarms, including across the room, and sometimes managed to sleep through all. My tricks included zipping the clock inside a backpack – I would have loved something like this.
    For those of us who really can sleep through anything, something that requires dexterity, or searching like this is a significant improvement than just the stumble across the room and back.

  11. posted by Mark on

    Hmmm, well maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s pretty entertaining/cool – might even be tempted to get one. Waking up in the morning is never pretty, this would certainly inject an aspect of humor into the morning routine (until I got used to it!). Heck, I might even end up waking up early to watch it go off!!!

    🙂 Mark

  12. posted by delphine on

    I’m a heavy sleeper but I think that I would be so annoyed with this that I would break it on the first morning.

  13. posted by just me on

    I’d find the propeller, shove it back in, pound snooze, and still go back to sleep.

  14. posted by Melissa on

    So there is value to this little guy.

    Snoozing an alarm doesn’t take effort and may even require you to wake up entirely. Knowing where to go to turn of the beep is much different than having to search for something. The idea here is that you have to wake up enough to make an effort and perform functions that require you to wake-up more fully. This is very different from whacking a large snooze button a few stumbles from your bed.

    The key to a device like this is that the base (near your ear) is loud and annoying. While the fetching item is small and hard to find (makes no noise of it’s own).

    I would motion to repeal this class of item from the unitasker category, though I cannot speak for this particular implementation’s quality or effectiveness.

  15. posted by TheAntiChick on

    I am also someone who struggled with alarms in college… to the point that I had to get one of those huge belled Big Ben wind-up alarm clocks (only thing loud enough) and hide it in a different place each night (or get someone else to hide it) so I’d have to wake up enough to find it when it went off.

    This and “Clocky”, the idiot thing on wheels, would have been ideal for me as a teenager & young adult. Luckily I have somehow trained myself to wake up to a soft alarm clock now, though I now have a teenage daughter who is worse than I ever was, and I’ve been threatening to buy one or both of these things for her, though I’ll be the one woken up by it and end up serving as her alarm clock still, which is what I’m trying to avoid!! 😀

  16. posted by Lea on

    My friends actually had this in their dorm room last semester!

    I think they threw it out eventually because their room was so messy that when the propeller flew off, they couldn’t find it and had to resort to knocking out the batteries to turn it off.. haha!

  17. posted by Adrian on

    Don’t laugh! I just bought something very much like this on Ebay. Clocky is an alarm clock with wheels and if you don’t get up and shut it off, it jumps down from your nightstand and runs around the room. I originally bought it for myself, but my 20 year old overslept AGAIN today, so I think it’s destined for him, plus it’s his birthday tomorrow. And it will drive the cats CRAZY!

  18. posted by Laura on

    I love this product. Not because I would ever buy it, but because it is very very funny and speaks to a real aspect of the human condition. It’s trying to address an actual problem, instead of a inventing nonexistent problem to solve.

  19. posted by Miss Mouthy on

    I think an improvement would be if the propellers kept coming off, a new one every 30 seconds, until the sleeper was awake. I would LOVE to get that for my DH!

  20. posted by Adam Snider on

    Like many others who have commented, I actually think this and similar devices (“Clocky,” for example) are good ideas.

    I have my alarm clock on the other side of the room (actually, it’s my cell phone, so I guess it’s a multi-tasker) and still find myself hitting snooze. Walking the 2 or 3 steps necessary to cross my bedroom isn’t enough to wake me up. I hit snooze and crawl back into bed.

    Having something like this would probably work for me, for the reasons that Melissa mentioned.

    And, as Kai said, the flying piece is too small and light to cause any damage unless you sleep with your face over-top of your alarm clock.

    This is probably the first time I’ve disagreed with a Unitasker Wednesday post, but I definitely do disagree with this one.

  21. posted by jrochest on

    I’m heartened to discover that so many people are defending this: I’m constrained to putting my alarm under my bed in the morning, so that I have to leave the bed to get it out, find it, and turn it off. And I’m in my 40’s. AND I have a cat.

    If I leave it on my nightstand, I wake up three hours late, without remembering how I turned it off.

    Those of us who are catatonic in the morning, or capable of walking across the room in our sleep, need something like this. It’s a unitasker, sure, but a useful one.

  22. posted by Angela D on

    …and if this didn’t do the trick, you could get someone to use a sonic grenade, which looks even more annoying!

  23. posted by Hippykidz on

    OK so I love this clock. I would never buy one not because it is any more unitasker than my current alarm. But because I am a wicked heavy sleeper and have to change alarms every six months or so. I get used to the noise and just sleep through it. I keep a few around and just rotate them. Six months from now the only thing it would do is Royaly tick off my wife. “you spent how much on that stupid….” Sorry to have to disagree on this one.

  24. posted by Another Deb on

    My husband is very slow to wake in the morning, especially since he cannot bring himself to go to sleep early enough.

    His solution, to my chagrin, is to have the radio set on ear-splitting radio tuned to a rap music station. He hits snooze for at least an hour until he regains consciousness. So, for an hour I get repeatedly startled by loud, ear-shredding music.

    I have been getting up and starting my day ahead of all that noise and end up physically shaking him to wake up for work. That’s one more hour of time on my day, I guess.

  25. posted by Will on

    My wife requires a cup of coffee and a full hour before she is able to move in the morning. I’m not sure that I understand after a full night’s sleep how anyone can not wake up feeling energetic. Genetic defect?

  26. posted by Emily on

    I agree with Kai. Any clock (except maybe a radio alarm clock) could be considered a unitasker. In college I slept on the with the alarm clock across the room; I’d jump out of bed, hit snooze, and climb back in bed several times before actually getting up. I am anticlutter and I recently bought the clocky (alarm clock with wheels). It encourages me to keep the place clean so that I don’t step on anything, and it actually gets me up when I’m disciplined enough not to disable the wheels.

  27. posted by Mary Sue on

    I tried your little “alarm clock across the room” trick. It doesn’t work if you’re a heavy sleeper with a tendency to sleepwalk anyway.

    Much like a fire extinguisher, this is a unitasker that is neccesary and good.

  28. posted by allen on

    As someone with a sleeping disorder, i was disheartened by this post. Waking up is just not as easy for some of us as for others, just like falling asleep isn’t, or undestanding math, or any topic/thing.

    This alarm-clock fills a purpose, a very nice one, without getting in the way. To call it a unitasker is to call ANY Alarm Clock a unitasker. They have come up with a clever way to try to stop people who (like many have mentioned above) are able to walk anywhere in their home to put the alarm clock on snooze, and fall back asleep.

    I am not angry, becuase i know this post was not out of malitiousness, & I am sure that it can seem like a silly object for many (maybe most?), but this is not a unitasker.

  29. posted by Caroline on

    I’m going to defend this item. Unitasker it may be, but most of the other unitaskers I’ve seen on Unclutterer are for functions that you don’t do that much, or that you could easily do with something that’s already around the house.

    As someone who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I can understand the need for something like The Flying Alarm CLock because getting out of bed is something we should all be doing every day.

  30. posted by John of Indiana on

    Try this on for size:
    I sometimes incorporate the alarm into my dreams. I’m asleep, dreaming that there’s an alarm beeping someplace. i may be dreaming that i’m looking for it, but in reality world, I’m asleep. Then I went to a CD-alarm w/a disc of bagpipe music in it. Now sometimes I dream I’m at a pipe meet.
    I just can’t win. Oh, to finally be free of the shackles of having to be someplace at a given time because that’s what they expect in return for their money…

  31. posted by Sue on

    I don’t fully understand how people who share a room with someone else (dorm room, spouse) can get away with having multiple alarms or hitting snooze constantly. Doesn’t your roommate want to kill you after this?

  32. posted by Cal on

    Sue, I don’t profess to understand it either. I’m a reluctant morning person I guess… I always wake up and stay awake when the alarm goes off, even if I’m groggy and grumpy about it.

    I can believe that it’s a real problem for some to wake up though. 9-5 work schedules are generally not friendly to the night owl.

  33. posted by James on


    I’m going to defend, my own, propeller alarm clock.

    It is the only thing that wakes me up enough, as others have said, a buttoned snooze is just too tempting.

    Not only do you have to find the helicopter, retrieve it, but also put it up the right way back into the unit, whilst an ear splitting alarm keeps you engrossed in the task.

    Thank you flying alarm clock, you have added an hour to my day, to let me go running in the morning.

  34. posted by catmom on

    I look forward to Unitasker Wednesdays! Some of the items I have either heard about or seen. This alarm clock definitely goes on my list of “when I think I have heard everything”.

    Keep up this column, in today’s world we could all use a good laugh!!!

  35. posted by texs on

    I’ve been looking at this thing for years- also what I call the “stinking alarm clock,” which lets out a few different scents before it goes off while slowly raising the light and sound levels. There’s also a similar alarm clock which rolls on the ground.

    I’ve done the “sleeping through three alarm clocks on the other side of the room before” thing and it’s not fun. It’s a curse. Not only does it stink to wake up late, the number of times I’ve been stressed out in my dreams trying to find the source of a loud buzzer, alarm, or whatever worked its way into my dream- it may sound funny but it is not a refreshing way to wake up. For me it’s the changes in rhythm, loudness, pitch, and so on that get my attention when I’m sleeping. There have been times I woke up two hours after an alarm clock started going off because the sound of it STOPPING woke me up. It’s a curse.

    There was also talk of a device which is like a mask and monitors REM so that it wakes heavy sleepers up at the most opportune time- I haven’t heard anything about that in a while but it sounded like another good idea.

    Anyway, just wanted to express the seriousness of the problem of not being able to easily wake up to the author and others here. If I have an important engagement in the morning I often stress to the point that I will just stay up all night long. If that’s not practical it becomes something that I dread weeks in advance.

    As far as the practicality and safety of these alarm clocks are concerned, I doubt they will injure someone. I’m sure they’re very light. Have you seen these $20 remote control helicopters you can pick up nowdays? The things actually fly yet you would hardly notice it if it hit you. When you mentioned “wounded pets” I started laughing, remembering what happened when I brought home the $20 remote heli. The only way my cat was going to be wounded was by miscalculating a jump and slamming into a wall while he was trying to bring down the chopper. It didn’t take him long to destroy the tail rotor- and this is a cat that is scared of helium balloons. I imagine he would stake-out the alarm clock every morning, just waiting…

  36. posted by Adam Snider on

    @John of Indiana – I’ve done that too, only to wake up 15 or 20 minutes late and realize, “Oh, that was the real alarm going off, not just an alarm in my dream.”

    The only time I’m able to consistently wake up on time is if my girlfriend has spent the night, because she has to be at work earlier than I do and kicks my ass if I don’t get out of bed.

  37. posted by greeneyes on

    I’ve seen this before and initially thought of it as a good idea. Like the one with wheels that rolls under your bed (THAT one seems like a pain to retrieve… who wants to be crawling under the bed?) But the fact that it has a snooze button kinda defeats the purpose…
    I once set the alarm clock across the room. I quickly grew to ignore the sounds coming from it, while my entire family had to wake up to yell at me.
    Still looking for one that has the ability to wake me up!

  38. posted by Lehcarjt on

    Lol! I used to own this but passed it along to a teenage son of a friend. I actually liked the flying bit. We used the alarm as a reminder for the family to start their get-ready-for-bed routine and it worked wonderfully. The kids thought chasing after the whirly top was lots of fun. However the alarm sounded like an ambulance and if it went off while we weren’t at home, it would just keep going for hours while he battery wasted away.

  39. posted by Chelsea on

    Oh come on, you can’t deny that this is a hilariously awesome way to wake up every morning. The buzzing alarm clock I’ve had since I was in first grade still works, but I’d like to be able to laugh when the propeller hits my roommate in the face.

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