Creator of automated dorm room: “It’s a learning process”

Derek Low: "It's been a learning process."

It’s been a hectic 36 hours for UC Berkeley freshman Derek Low. Ever since Monday, when he posted a smartly edited video of his automated Berkeley dorm on YouTube, he has been fielding enquiries from the media. The video has popped up on news and tech sites around the country, including TechCrunch, Gizmodo, HuffPo, TIME, Washington Monthly and CBS — as well, of course, as on Berkeleyside in Low’s backyard. It currently counts more than 110,000 viewers on YouTube

In case you missed it, we’ve included the video of the kitted out room below. The Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm, or BRAD, features automated lighting and drapes that can be operated by voice command or an iPad, as well as motion sensors and various “mood modes’, be it when homework, romance or parties are on the cards.

Low sat down at 2:00am this morning to answer some questions Berkeleyside put to him via email.

What are you studying at Cal?
I’m majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (no surprises there).

What year are you in?
Freshman

What motivated you to make BRAD?
I didn’t really create BRAD for a single purpose, like to be lazy or anything. It was more about the learning process for me. I just built it so I could learn more about automation along the way, but it turns out the end-product was pretty cool :-)

What’s your favorite part of it?
I would say the voice control was one of the more unique features of the system. It’s even trained to recognize my Singaporean accent!

What do your friends think of it?
Well… based on the Facebook reception, “awesome” seems to be the trend.

What do you plan to do with the skills you have displayed creating BRAD?
More than anything, I think the BRAD project required more creativity than any technical skills like programming. I guess it helps to think outside of the box when it comes to future projects and, who knows, job offers and internships.

What’s next?
I’m a pretty impulsive guy, so I get started on a project when the idea comes to me. Not sure what’s coming next, but you’ll be sure to see it when something comes up.

Related:
Cal student creates a “ridiculously automated dorm room” [05.01.12]

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  • EBGuy

    I have to admit, I was disappointed he didn’t use The Clapper.

  • BerkeleyFarm

    I heard that the Clapper was a bit … unpredictable.

  • Anon

    So he just built upon an existing system based out of MIT?
    MIDAS, http://web.mit.edu/zacka/www/midas.html