Wake Up With The World, an iPhone app by Pratt Institute MFA student Eric Rieper, can’t solve the repetitive Pavlovian torture of being forced to wake up early every morning, but it can make the horrors of daily wake ups a more positive, communal experience. It’s an alarm clock that syncs with other alarm clocks around the world, turning your phone into but one instrument in a global orchestra.
The app translates your GPS coordinates into musical notes and blends them in with other notes that represent other users simultaneously waking up around the world. Each user becomes part of the group composition and the tempo quickens as more users wake up and join in. (Whomever sets their alarm for the same moment as you do may be automatically selected.) And each user fills one of four parts in the composition: lead, bass, chords, or percussion.
The app is free, and it makes for an excellent case study of how the fabled Internet of Things could play out. Because as the devices around us grow smarter, connecting themselves to the Internet with increasing frequency, there will be more opportunities to leverage those connections at a global scale. Hopefully, our day-to-day experiences with objects will improve in kind.
So what will we do with all those connections? Wake Up With The World offers us just one possibility. It’s unobtrusive and enriching. And most of all, it has nothing to do with Facebook likes, retweets, or any other “social” networking as we know it.