"Clap on! Clap off! The Clapper!"

The clapper is a device which allows you to turn your TV, radio, lights, or anything else run by electricity, on and off with just a simple clap of your hands.
Stealing the Clapper is also a tradition of the freshman class at Princeton University. Since the bell atop Nassau Hall is not rung until classes begin, legend has it that stealing the clapper will in fact prevent classes from starting. This will force at least a minor ransom payment (so the theory goes) to the frosh who nabs it. Damaging anything whilst attempting this is frowned upon, and full penalties remain in effect for those caught trying.

The quickest time so far is one class who had just returned from their Frosh Week 'outdoor action' trip. One member simply walked off the bus, walked up to Nassau Hall with a mass of climbing gear and scaled the outside, nabbed the ringer in question and made his escape.

The Clapper is not as useful as you might think.

Here's the situation: We have an old TV in our bedroom. By old, I mean no remote control, but we have a VCR hooked up to it that has one, so it would be great if we could turn the TV on and off from bed. So we got a clapper for Christmas this year.

The problem is that it will activate for any loud sounds, not just claps. It's not doing some sophisticated digital signal processing to determine what sounds are claps, it's a simple issue of volume. So, the TV comes on when you vacuum, or open the dresser that the TV is sitting on. In fact, my wife turns on the TV by laughing sometimes. Or coughing. Or--well, you know. The funny thing is, it's actually not trvial to clap the way the thing needs to set it off--it has to be loud enough and timed correctly, but it seems that the sounds that you don't think will activate it will.

So in some ways, it's a blessing and a curse. I have heard of devices that are in fact doing sound recognition to trigger, but of course they cost much more.

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