02 May 2012
Derek Low, a Berkeley student has created an automated dorm room called BRAD. (Credit: Derek Low)

Derek Low, a college freshman at Berkeley, has turned his dorm room into a futuristic smart home.  His high tech room is complete with automated window shades, voice-activated lights and presets for college situations like the "emergency party button."  He recently released a video demo of his dorm room, which has stirred up online attention as well as the attention from his school.  He received notice that he must appear at a judicial hearing. 

Low calls it his Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm or BRAD for short.  He begin envisioning this room after seeing similar ideas online a few years ago.  To get things rolling he had to have tolerant roommates plus weeks of patience and $200-$300 in off-the-shelf hardware.  Once completed he posted the project and a video online.

Low, born in Singapore, began working on similar projects at age 16 and hopes to have his own startup one day.  He has worked on projects ranging from computers submerged in oil to flamethrowers.

The BRAD video shows Low controlling his dorm room curtain and lights using a wireless remote and self made apps on his iPhone and iPad.  He uses voice recognition from his MacBook Air laptop.  Low can speak to activate certain conditions in the room such as "sleep mode" and "homework mode".  He even has a mode called "romantic mode" which dims the lights and causes a disco ball to drop playing Elton John's "Can you feel the love tonight."  His party mode activates music, lasers and a strobe light along with UV light for a dance party.

College officials aren't pleased with his automated room and officials want to decide if he has crossed the line when it comes to Berkeley's housing policies and have him scheduled to appear at the judicial hearing.

It may not matter, as he plans to move out the dorm in several weeks into an apartment. 

Source:  YouTube / latimes.com

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