AI alarm clock gets to know you

The Bonjour alarm clock will learn a user's typical routine and proactively provide relevant information at any given time, as well as integrate with apps, fitness trackers and smart home devices(Credit: Holi)

You may not typically be firing on all cylinders when your alarm clock goes off, but French startup Holi says it has created an alarm clock that will fire on all cylinders for you. The Bonjour is a voice-controlled, artificially intelligent device that learns about the user and acts as their personal assistant.

First things first – the Bonjour has a rather natty design that sits somewhere between contemporary cleanliness and retro stylishness. Its 5.3-in (13.5-cm) diameter circular body leans back on four short and stumpy legs, while a circular color HD screen is set into its center.

Like the Kello alarm clock, the Bonjour is aimed at enriching the user's life beyond just waking them up. Whereas the Kello aims to improve the quality of the user's sleep though, the Bonjour wants to improve their waking hours.

Day-to-day control of the clock is done without buttons or an accompanying app, although there is an app for Android and iOS to take users through the initial setup of the device. Otherwise, all interaction with it is done via voice control, using the "OK Bonjour" trigger. Currently, the Bonjour understands English and French, with other languages due to be added, starting with Spanish.

The most simple functionality of the clock is, of course, to have it wake you up at a certain time. To do this, users can simply say, "OK Bonjour, wake me up at 7am," and choose to be woken up with preset alert, or music from Spotify or a webradio station.

It's also possible, though, to set conditional alarms. Users can ask to be woken up at a certain time, or earlier if there is going to be heavy traffic on their commute. Alternatively, they might ask to be woken up early if the weather is nice so that they can go for a pre-work run. Conditional alarms are set using a simple "if" command, with Holi giving the example: "Wake me up tomorrow at 7am if the weather is good, if not let me sleep."

The Bonjour will seek to anticipate what info a user might need and provide it proactively without them having to ask. For example, it can advise if a user's smart-device-secured home is all locked up when they get into bed. The more a user interacts with the clock, the more it is said to learn about them, such has how to better understand their language-use and what their typical routine is.

Its behaviour can be further refined by way of integrations with apps like iCal, Google Calendar, Google Maps and Uber. These give the Bonjour line of sight into the user's schedule so that it can make suggestions accordingly. If you ask it to let you snooze for a little longer, say, it can remind you if you have an early meeting scheduled that you may have forgotten.

A similar functionality is provided by way of integrations with fitness trackers, like the FitBit, Apple Health and Withings. Using these to monitor the number of steps you have taken in a day, the Bonjour can remind users to get some exercise if they've been slacking.

The clock is also integrated with a number of smart home devices, allowing it to automatically adjust the thermostat or lighting based on the user's routine, and allowing the user to control their smart home devices from their bed. Among the devices and services with which it will interact are Amazon's Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings and WeMo.

One particularly useful implementation of this smart home integration is the ability for security camera or baby cam video feeds to be displayed on the Bonjour's screen. In the event that the user wants to see what's going on, they can ask the Bonjour to pull up the live video immediately.

On the subject of security, a privacy button allows users to choose when the Bonjour's "listening" functionality is active. This, coupled with Holi's assurance that user information is never shared, is aimed at providing privacy peace of mind.

Among the other features of the Bonjour are on-screen animations showing info like traffic conditions and room temperature, the ability for loved ones to send private recorded video messages to the user for when they go the bed or wake up, and a USB port from which mobile devices can be charged. The device is powered from a wall socket and runs using a Cortex A15 processor with 2 GB of RAM. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi and also has Bluetooth connectivity.

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Bonjour alarm clock is under way. At the the time of writing, pledges from US$109 will be rewarded with one of the devices, assuming all goes to plan with the roll-out. Shipping is expected from June next year.

The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for the Bonjour alarm clock.

Sources: Holi, Kickstarter

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