MIDAS: Multifunction In-Dorm Automation System

MIDAS AutomationAh, to have attended MIT instead of a small liberal arts school in Connecticut. I could have been matching memorized decimal places of Pi over Hot Pockets with my friends, instead of drinking Dubra vodka and painting the walls of my dormitory with vomit. I could’ve been pop-riveting together homemade robots, instead of skipping Philosophy class to buy elaborate glass bongs. And for goodness sake, I could’ve collaborated on the MIDAS system that several students at MIT hacked together to fully automate their dorm room.

The idea is simple, but the execution is not. Wire your dorm room to respond to different “modes,” including Party Mode, Sleep Mode, and Study Mode, which are activated either at the push of one, giant, satisfying button, or via voice commands. LED screens, lights, strobes, fog machines, projected audio visualizations, blinds, music, and security systems are all activated at once, turning a normal dorm room into party central at the push of a button (be sure to check out the video to see what I mean). The whole thing, including MP3 playlists and security cameras, is also controllable over the Web.

The authors have documented their project in painstaking detail, including future plans for an “intruder alert” mode…wherein the door will close and lock, the blinds will be drawn, text message alerts will be sent to the owners of the room, and all the lights will be turned off…except for one spotlight illuminating this creepy mannequin.

Sigh. And to think the best I could come up with in 1998 was a wall-mounted webcam. No word on whether MIDAS will be released to the public, but this is an exciting project just the same.