As the website explains, "There is no mercy. The only way to shut off is by shaking the hell out of your iPhone."
Now you don't even need an iPhone. The app is also available for Android, so you can shake away with an even broader assortment of smartphones.
What is interesting about the app from a big-data perspective is that it turns waking up into a social activity. The app encourages users to compete with friends -- either by wake-up time or difficulty of shaking. And if that isn't enough to get you going, you can make waking up into an actual game: For instance, you can obtain 50 personal achievements for things like using the app 20 days in a row or moving to a harder level.
How's it work? The app uses what is considered one of the most important parts of a smartphone or tablet -- the accelerometer that detects the device's orientation. If you are interested in knowing more about the basic concepts behind the three-axis motion sensing from these devices, take a look at the video below.
But back to Wake N Shake... The app uses the accelerometer, and then allows users to set the difficulty level of the shaking required to turn the alarm off. A red bar moves along the screen to show how much more shaking is required to shut it off, from next to nothing to vigorous shaking -- enough to literally shake you awake.
The only use of your Facebook’s data is done in the server to pair you with other friends using Wake N Shake. Wake N Shake also uses your first name and profile picture and displays it in the “Alarms Feed” or “Daily Feed” so you can identify yourself and your friends. Wake N Shake also will look at usage statistics. These are tools provided by Facebook, and it's an anonymous, aggregated set of statistics that do not identify any one individual use case. Wake N Shake uses these to improve the product.
But there is more. If you give Wake N Shake access to your Facebook data, it will publish your activities to your newsfeed, ticker, and timeline. That includes the times your alarm goes off, shake points you earn, and the shake intensity, as well as information about your naps and achievements you earn by competing with friends.
The app also has an integrated system called Flurry, from a mobile analytics firm with data-based ad platforms. Flurry aggregates usage statistics within the app, including when a user opens the app, times the app is used, and level of engagement.
According to a November press release, Flurry quadrupled the number of data points it measured during the past year. Each day, the release explained:
the company measures 1.9 billion application sessions across more than 250 million unique smartphone and tablet devices. Over the last year, Flurry has doubled the number of applications using its services from 120,000 to more than 250,000. In total, more than 80,000 companies now use Flurry services across iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, HTML5 and JavaME platforms.
What do you think? Would you be comfortable using the app? And if you did, would you have any interest in comparing your sleep habits to those of your friends? More importantly, who could benefit from all this sleep-related data?