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Freshman MIT Students Automate Dorm Room 290

Posted by Hemos
from the kraftwerk-would-be-proud dept.
Inessa writes "Two freshman MIT students have automated their dorm room, complete with a big red party button which generates an instant party. Their custom-engineered system is called MIDAS, the Multi-Function In Dorm Automation System. According to the MIT News office, "Gone are the light switches and glaring fluorescent lights of a typical dorm room. Zack Anderson and RJ Ryan's room has several lighting schemes, remote web access, voice activation, a security system, electric blinds and more ... With the touch of one red button, their dorm room becomes a rave. The lights go out, the blinds close, the displays read, "feel the energy" as a voice repeats the same phrase over a deep bass beat.""
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Freshman MIT Students Automate Dorm Room

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:03AM (#15424596)
    And I mean that in the good way, not in the bad at sports way.
  • by ravee (201020) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:06AM (#15424607) Homepage Journal
    This inculcation of curiosity and resourcefulness is what makes studying at MIT truly unique. No wonder it is one of the premier educational institutions in the world.
    • "This inculcation of curiosity and resourcefulness is what makes studying at MIT truly unique. No wonder it is one of the premier educational institutions in the world."

      I read "inculcation" as "inoculation", and was hoping you could provide me with information on the curative properties of binge drinking and pot smoking...
  • great, but (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:08AM (#15424619)
    they couldn't solve the "where do we get chicks from?" problem. or maybe, these oxygen gas bottles are of some use after all..
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:09AM (#15424620)
    Why, when we were in college, we couldn't afford to have all of that expensive automation gear. We had to get up off of our asses and actually turn lights off on and on, and we liked it that way. In-room fridge? Hah! We were so poor, we had to keep a little piece of Velveeta frozen on the dorm room window sill, saving it up for our big Friday night celebrations. But tell that to kids today, and they won't believe you. No sir.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:10AM (#15424630) Homepage
    Why is it I get the feeling that there is a reason these guys have that much time on their hands?

    Nice work and all that, but most decent parties at college include three staple ingredients

    1) Alcohol
    2) Women
    3) Alcohol

    Though alcohol appears twice this is on purpose, once to get you drunk enough to ask, then a woman to ask, the second to get her drunk enough to agree. Now an automated party system that achieved that... the guys would be millionaires by next Wednesday.
    • Though alcohol appears twice this is on purpose, once to get you drunk enough to ask, then a woman to ask, the second to get her drunk enough to agree. Now an automated party system that achieved that... the guys would be millionaires by next Wednesday.

      So...you're saying that the party button should automate a call to an escort service?
    • If you have to get women drunk to have sex with you, than you have some problems.

      I personally do not care much for the fracas and rukus of the normal college parties for meeting women. Try a library or a coffee shop. Be interesting even when not intoxicated.

  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sakusha (441986) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:13AM (#15424636)
    I bet their dorm room still smells like dirty laundry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:14AM (#15424639)
    the party button pushes you!
    • I suspect you could use any words from the summary and get a +? funny modifier with the soviet bit. Here's, let's try it.

      In Soviet Russia, the rave throws you!
  • by ofcourseyouare (965770) * on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:14AM (#15424645)
    While they're at it, they'd better install that Korean female robot wearing something slinky - because they'll never get any real women in there... and at least she won't collapse in hysterics when told to "feel the energy"...
  • Rave??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:26AM (#15424684)
    Hey, 1989 called, they want their party terms back...
    • Re:Rave??? (Score:3, Funny)

      by k4_pacific (736911)
      C'mon, a rave button would be cool. You stair at the big button marked DO NOT TOUCH. It calls to you. DO NOT TOUCH. No one is around. DO NOT TOUCH. Touch me, it seems to say. DO NOT TOUCH. You touch it. Oh GOD what have I done? The lights are dimming. There's techno music with its hypnotic beat: DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE DOUCHE. Glowsticks drop from the ceiling. Ecstasy. Coke. Venereal disease.

      Ah, the best years of my life.

    • The first rave happened in the 1960s. Here's audio-visual evidence [primus.ca]
  • by reset_button (903303) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:30AM (#15424703)
    the "off" button.
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) <curt,johnson&gmail,com> on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:36AM (#15424724) Homepage
    The lights go out, the blinds close, the displays read, "feel the energy" as a voice repeats the same phrase over a deep bass beat."

    Appearantly, these "freshmen" haven't been out of their dorm room since the early 90's
  • by d'fim (132296) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:37AM (#15424727)
    "feel the energy" . . . I'll bet THAT never gets old!
  • One Man Party (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aaron England (681534) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:38AM (#15424731)
    Now comes the hard part: make friends to utilize their party room.
  • These guys have been 'aving it tiny in a smaller venue for rather longer: The Miniscule of Sound at 1.99 m2! [minisculeofsound.com] (gallery here [phonecoop.coop])Come back when you've got it in a broom cupboard....
  • Next Story (Score:5, Funny)

    by enrgeeman (867240) <slashdot@enrgeeman.com> on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:44AM (#15424752) Homepage
    Someone gets in through remote web access and continually makes it party mode.
  • by Lenoia (967427)
    It's all a nice setup, but when happens when these kids have to move out of that dorm? (Due to a pile of dirty laundry growing legs and chewing on wires)

    After running a few LAN parties, I know full well, set up is half the time of take down.

    So assuming these boys have been at this whole Dorm Party System for a couple of months, dare I say a year? How are they going to take all this down?

    I bet everything has been screwed or nailed in, modified and altered to accommodate all this equipment. Who allowed them t
    • by Aerion (705544) on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:49AM (#15424997)
      It's all a nice setup, but when happens when these kids have to move out of that dorm? (Due to a pile of dirty laundry growing legs and chewing on wires)

      If they want, they don't have to move out for three years. On most halls at East Campus, you can squat your room as long as you want (except that they'll probably have to keep squatting it as a double).

      I bet everything has been screwed or nailed in, modified and altered to accommodate all this equipment. Who allowed them to do this?

      Joe Graham. ("Kids making illegal modifications to their rooms? I'm on it!")

      Last time I checked you weren't allowed to mess around with dorm rooms.

      At East Campus, you actually are allowed to mess around with dorm rooms. Murals are painted everywhere, and all sorts of cool shit happens. The building is so old that nobody cares anymore, except for the Cambridge Fire Department. And if you keep the room's door locked during inspection, they don't have to know about it.

      Nice system and all, but -10 practicality. Maybe it would have worked better in a house or apartment. They should have worked more in how it looked and how it was to be set up instead of just building it.

      Yeah, but by the time they live in a house or apartment, they won't have the free time to do this kind of stuff. Heck, next term they probably won't have that kind of time.
    • by Zackbass (457384) on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:52AM (#15425005)
      As a fellow resident of this dorm (East Campus, home of the disco dance floor, time traveler's convention, and numberous other widgets features here at some time) I feel qualified to call you both uniformed and a bit of an ass. :P

      This degree of customization is quite common and encouraged here. The building was built in the 20s and its condition very much reflects that. For that reason students are allowed to do pretty much whatever they can get around the fire code. Many rooms feature lofted beds, weird paint schemes and odd lighting. The hallways are covered completely with student painted murals.

      If they tear it down tomorrow (or Saturday since that was check-out for the summer) and leave big holes in the walls nobody would know the difference. If they leave it in the next residents will take it over since they'll be the same type of person. Also, most people live on the same floor for all four of their years, many staying in the same room.

      My floor, 2E, features a lounge with a lofted couch, hacked together projection system, a water cooled media center, and a 16 processor Alpha (4x ES40) cluster in our kitchen.
  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by freaktheclown (826263) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:56AM (#15424796)
    You can watch a video here [youtube.com] of it in action.
  • As a student, I don't have the money to go buying lots of expensive hardware (but I wish I did...) so how do these guys? Oh, and the text to phone alarm thing, wasn't that in Veronica Mars?
  • by Beebos (564067) on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:07AM (#15424833)
    At a single voice command the door swings shut and locks, bars secure the window, the lights dim, room oxygen is reduced by 20% creating a lightheadedness, and the audio system repeats the phrase "Give in, you know you want me".
  • ..the two roommates will not be returning to their dorm room next year, since they flunked out by neglecting their coursework.

    [Been there (MIT), seen that. Some of the most amazing projects were done by students who never completed their studies. Of course, many of them went on to be entrepreneurial millionaires, while the rest of us became 9-5 drones...]

  • by heatdeath (217147) on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:36AM (#15424934)
    friends. Although, judging from how they've tricked out their room, they're probably in short supply of those.
  • Sillie Frosh.... I remember when I used to be into crazy stuff like that, with a PC pimped out with lights and loud fans and all that crap...... I eventually got over it though....... Although that is controllable, and that makes a big difference. I personally think it's cool too, although the party mode would be overkill for me. I guess it is this sort of motivation that makes an MIT student though.
  • Of course they made it a red button... that's always the button you're never supposed to press.
    • How can they afford all this stuff?
    • How the hell do they manage to build/maintain that room and keep up with their studies?

    As a college student and a full-time employee, I find it incredibly difficult to keep up with things. There are dozens of cool ideas I'd love to implement, but they sit on the back burner due to lack of time and money. Maybe these two are like the many freshman I see on campus. Mommy and Daddy pay for everything. So they blow off their studies, have no major financial debts, and

    • I would suspect that you are right with regards to the source of the funding but MIT rather than discouraging this sort of thing actually encourages it and depending on their course I would guess alot of what they have done and the lessons they've learnt from such a project will stand them in good stead.

      I'd rather employee people like these two who can demonstrate not only do they have their bits of paperwork (assuming they pass) but the ability to actually use their knowledge. Too many grads I've seen in i
  • well, if this wasn't mit it wouldn't be in the news, /. or otherwise. I would however like to throw out to whomever listening that the interesting between-the-lines of all this is that this sort of DIY, as easy as this particular project was, behavior is not only tolerated but celebrated at MIT. where I went to college, a little place call Moravian, the students were barely literate. In fact they were stupid. Which wouldn't be so bad if they were all women and attractive, but they weren't. Building such a
  • Party mode (Score:2, Funny)

    by Megane (129182)
    The lights go out, the blinds close, the displays read, "feel the energy" as a voice repeats the same phrase over a deep bass beat.

    "The system is down! The system is down!"

    "Hey The Cheat! I told you, no more light switch raves!"

  • My buddy Chris built the "BITCH" at MIT's ILG Fenway House. It stands for Bathroom Integrated Tracking something something, he tortured an innocent acronym to make it. Anyway, in a classic Boston Brownstone (right on the Fens, beautiful) they have 4 bathrooms and up to 25 people. So, each floor has a box with LEDs that light up when different bathrooms are in use. No indication of when the automatic Out-of-TP warning lights go in.

    And what's kitchen pantry without an Athena terminal? 8)
  • by Hershmire (41460)
    The lights go out, the blinds close, the displays read, "feel the energy" as a voice repeats the same phrase over a deep bass beat.

    You obviously can't teach good taste.
  • by marxmarv (30295) on Monday May 29, 2006 @02:05PM (#15425474) Homepage
    I'd rather have "The system... is down... [homestarrunner.com]"

    -jhp

  • by fwwr5007 (977554) on Monday May 29, 2006 @02:24PM (#15425531)
    ...I'll build my own party button. With blackjack. And hookers.
  • Typical EC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JelloJoe (977764) on Monday May 29, 2006 @05:37PM (#15426067)
    You only find this stuff at EC. After 4 years here at MIT, EC is definitely the most unique group of students. I have to give them credit for the creativity they have, from the disco floor, to their annual rollercoaster during rush, to their naked parties. If you think of MIT students you think of EC. Although, there are "normal" students and "normal" parties at MIT. Baker has the best dorm parties, EC the most unique, Senior Haus the most drug-filled, but they all contribute to the great diversity at MIT.

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