Ambitiously automated dorm-room

When Derek L My was a freshman at UC Berkeley, he kitted out his dorm-room with a variety of automation systems controlling the lights, drapes, and music (include a plastic-encased "Emergency Party Button" that triggered a disco ball and awesome strobing light-show). In this short video, he demonstrates the many preprogrammed modes he designed into the system. It's a nice testament to the ways that elaborate effects can be attained with simple mechanisms, and all the ways that a small space can be enhanced with superfluous gadgetry.

Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm (BRAD) (via Geekologie)


  1. Note: Low is currently a freshman, and UC has already been jerks and told him he has to take BRAD down.

    1. Um, maybe that has to do with the fact that Low monkey’d with his room’s wiring while it was live and without consent, placing himself and all his guests at risk of electrocution. Note the switch hanging out of the wall.

  2. A friend of mine got kicked out of the dorms for messing with the electrical system to do something just like this – but that was in the late eighties.
    Perhaps he can find a way to automatically keep his camera in focus. He could call it, and I’m just spit balling here, ‘AutoFocus’… Also, in my experience, the chicks REALLY love disco balls as a way of setting a romantic mood. 

    1. not quite — there seems to be some kind of roommate-removal functionality. perhaps the disco ball and strobe scared him away. 

    2. it’s just off-the-shelf budget store plug and shite. the delay on the response would make it faster to just hit the switch. 

  3. One man’s superfluous gadgetry is another man’s essential civilized convenience.

  4. I think “The Prodigious Hickey” episode from Public TV’s Lawrenceville Stories had a steampunk-ish version of the automated dorm room.

  5. The good news is: “I’m moving out the dorms in two weeks and moving the entire setup to my own apartment,” Low said. “The whole system is quite mobile, actually, so that won’t be too difficult.” I also expect he’ll get a lot of jobs fixing up other people’s  rooms/apartments with all this free publicity.

  6. We used to do stuff like this at Michigan Tech. One guy had an entire system in which his bed would rise and fall at the touch of a button. Then people started worrying about fires/etc. and students aren’t allowed to do that anymore. 

  7. I’m assuming that no actual partying ever went down during Party Mode.  Auto-open blinds wouldn’t be a very good idea, nawmean?

    That said, my one-time college buddies & I were always dreaming up dorm rooms like this.  Except we were on acid.  Plus, the user-friendly interface tech would have been almost science fiction at the time (mid 90’s).

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