Gadget Spot: Moshi alarm clock

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Moshi seems like a unique word, but it's surprising how often you come across that moniker.

Moshi is a traditional Japanese greeting. Some 150,000 people living on the lower slope of Mount Kilimanjaro call Moshi their home.

Moshi Moshi is a sushi restaurant in Seattle. It's also the name of a Brooklyn restaurant specializing in kosher Asian fusion fare. And, of course, there's our own Moshi Sushi in Bexley.

Lauren Moshi designs women's clothes. There's even a female Ruby English Toy Spaniel named Moshi who shares a blog with another canine named Kibo (last May, Moshi ran across a duck and five ducklings returning home from a walk).

On the gadget front, Moshi Lifestyle offers a line of voice-controlled alarm clocks. Imagine, never again having to fumble with your clock as you're waking up.

For now, the company offers two products - the Voice Control Alarm Clock for $50 and the Voice Control Mini Alarm Clock for $25 (online at A Voice Control Travel Alarm Clock can be pre-ordered for $25; it ships later this month.

And when it comes to Moshi, there's even an app for that. The company is currently working to bring their interactive voice response (IVR) technology to the iPhone and iPod Touch so they can double as alarm clocks, complete with multiple alarms, greetings, local weather reports and traffic updates to start your day.

From the moment you first plug your Moshi into an electrical outlet, the conversation begins.

You: "Hello, Moshi."

Moshi: "Welcome. Command please."

You can set (or ask for) the time, temperature, date or a nightlight. You can ask for any of the clock's three alarm sounds - chime, chirp or bell. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can also request one of three sleep sounds - water, birds or waterfall - to play for five minutes.

My Moshi worked as advertised, though it took me seven tries to accurately set the time and two tries to set an alarm. All my other voice commands worked on the first request.

In case you're wondering, Moshi has a natural sounding, though soothingly throaty, female voice.

One other note, IVR technology is hardly perfect. Saying "Huh, Moshi," brought my clock to life. Once, chatter coming from my TV elicited an unexpected "Welcome. Command please," from my clock.

Nothing in life is perfect. It's easy to cut some slack for a voice-activated clock that does so many things right.

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