How to Create a “party Mode” in a Dorm Room

You may have seen a video at some point in your online career of a college student standing in an ordinary dorm room. The man presses the button. The lights dim, the curtains close, and bam! , the whole room turns into a rave. They hit the button again, turning off “party mode” and returning their room to a learning and recreation hideout.

If you want your dorm room to have the same ambiance, you have several options, from “easy mode” to “I’d rather find a CS specialist to help with this.”

Preparing your dorm room for parties: the simple version

When I was in college, I was too busy having fun and singing in an a cappella group to worry about things like “writing code and hacking equipment.” While I appreciated those who know how to create some kind of automated party system in their dorm rooms, the practice was Mount Everest I would never try to climb.

Instead, I went with what I fondly call the “cheap route.” By that I mean I bought black light fluorescent lights from a local mall, a bunch of extension cords, and an extension cord. I placed black lights around my dorm room – usually on a shelf or piece of furniture – and connected them directly to a surge protector or daisy-chained them using extension cords.

Final goal? I could flip the switch on my power strip and turn on all the cool lights in my room. My vial soak highlighters looked neat; the Nine Inch Nails logo will glow on that huge poster I had; my Luddite friends sat in amazement at my ability to set the mood with a simple flick of a finger.

In hindsight, this whole approach probably branded me with a scarlet D for Dork, but it seemed cool at the time. Everything seemed cool in college at the time.

More modern (and expensive) dorm party equipment

Since LED lighting has become so much more popular than when I was in college, it’s easier to furnish your dorm with cool lighting effects. And you have a range of options to choose from based on your platform preference and budget. For example, you can equip your room with Philips Hue lamps, which then let you create lighting settings thatrespond to music and movies , customize the mood for parties, and even activate some nifty color changing effects using third-party apps (or a web app ).

Hugh isn’t the only game in town, however. You can also choose from LIFX lamps or LED strips that will allow you to do the same rock concerts in your dorm, as shown below:

If you want a fairly basic LED lighting that you can tweak for different colors and gradually transition between several preset themes, you can always grab a simple light strip with a remote control like this Supernight kit . (I use it to make my room window glow with annoying colors during the holidays because it’s fun.) String them across the top of the dorm room – you may need to add an extra strip or two to cover everything – and you’ll have a pretty room. for parties without spending a fortune on smart bulbs.

You can also pair your cheap LED strips with a sound controller if you want your dorm room lighting to respond to your loud, annoying party playlists. It will also make it incredibly easy for your RA to determine which room to arrest.

Ultra-sophisticated dorm room with a “party button”

So you want to create something like what the guys at MIT have on this classic YouTube version:

There are several different methods you can use to create this kind of setup, but these will likely involve a more complex configuration that uses a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi and a little code to hit the party button launches a variety of other systems. – lighting, automatic blinds, music, smoke generators and so on.

Such a setup won’t be cheap either. The materials in this Emergency Party Button tutorial cost the manufacturer £ 437.22, or approximately $ 560. This one ? 634 dollars. Better to take this job / study a little harder in the first quarter if you want to prepare a fiery party room for the winter.

I should also point out that your attempts to create the perfect automated party dorm room will likely piss off your school , but the path to “campus legend” status usually involves frustrating multiple administrators.

Regarding the physical design of your party room and the software you need to tweak, there are some helpful guides you can refer to (in addition to the ones I just linked to ):

  • The Lightshow Pi is a great resource for creating a festive lighting and sound setup, and the same principles can apply to your dorm room.
  • Mark Ireland created the party button for the New Years Eve party and detailed the design and coding in a good description .
  • Ryan (last name unknown) has a decent review of how he created the party button, but you’ll want to do a little more research to figure out how it works. At the very least, you can browse its code for inspiration.
  • This guy has built an emergency party button into the A10-A knob he uses as a remote control for his home AV system.
  • You can keepit simple and build a Raspberry Pi based system that lets you turn your dorm room lights on and off from your smartphone. Less parties, more practical.


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