An Alarm Clock That’s Impossible to Ignore

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By Anita Hamilton/TIME

The Walk Up! iPhone app won’t stop blaring until you’ve taken at least ten steps

Ricky Ho isn’t exactly a morning person. After years of struggling to roll out of bed before ten each morning — even resorting to a device that literally shook his bed — he had an epiphany: Since the hardest part of getting up is putting that first foot on the ground, why not create an alarm that keeps blaring until you’ve walked several steps?

“I wanted to create something that addressed my own problem. I was in bed one day, and I was like ‘Oh God, I can’t get out of bed,’” he says. His new app, Walk Up! Alarm Clock, aims to solve that problem once and forever. Currently available only for the iPhone and iPad, the $0.99 program uses the device’s built-in accelerometer to monitor your movements and keeps ringing until you’ve taken at least ten steps. (Users can adjust the number of steps to as many as 100.) Since it detects motion in all directions, Walk Up! can even tell if you’re cheating by merely shaking your phone instead of taking actual steps forward.

Ho, 31, developed the program with his brother. Since neither of them have a technical background – Ho’s last job was at Walgreen’s – they found a programmer in Ukraine through eLance and interviewed him via Skype. A few months later, the Walk Up! Alarm Clock was born.

Currently one of the top 10 utilities downloaded in the iTunes app store, the program comes with two default alarms – either a woman or a man screaming – plus options for several other jarring sounds, including a witch laughing, police sirens and coughing. The default skin shows a meteor approaching earth, but you can shell out an extra $0.99 to watch either a stick of dynamite about to blow or a shark approaching as you pace around your bedroom waiting for the clatter to stop. “The app is designed in every possible way to get you out of bed,” says Ho.

Android users might want to try a similar app released in June by Bazzinga Labs, called Walk Me Up! Alarm Clock. Bonus: Unlike Ho’s app, Walk Me Up! comes in an ad-supported version available for free.

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