As long as there are college students, there will be shabby old dorms and dilapidated living quarters. It makes sense, if you think about it; why would colleges revamp their buildings when they know they’re likely to just get trashed again next year?
The downside of this is that freshmen moving into their new space may be in for a shock at the lack of home comforts they’ve grown accustomed. What’s more, comfortable living aside, dorms can often be totally unsafe. Luckily, advances in smart home gadgets mean you can hack your dorm with awesome tech to make it much safer and much more fun. Here’s what the market has to offer:
The plus side of being crammed into a shared dorm is, of course, the parties. Other than a good set of solo cups, the next key aspect of a college party is the music.
Nothing’s worse than those parties where the speakers are so bad you can barely hear the music over all the chatter. Add to that the constant switching over of phones half way through songs, and you’ve got the recipe for a major bum out.
The solution? A wireless audio system.
Sonos combines state of the art speaker systems with wireless audio technology that lets you control the music through your phone or tablet. You can play music on your device, or connect to different music services like Spotify or Soundcloud.
Plus, no more hijacking or fighting over music – keep control yourself, or give out the code to the people you trust to play the right stuff!
Let There Be Light
Lighting makes a big difference to how much you enjoy a room. Many dorms are fitted with these blazing white lights that make the room seem more like a surgery than a place to kick back and relax.
New wirelessly-controlled LED light systems like Philips Hue are revolutionizing the way we light our homes. Each bulb is fully dimmable and can emit light across the spectrum – that’s 16 million different colors! All of which are controlled independently from your smartphone or tablet.
The best part about Hue is that Philips have made the platform open source, allowing for infinite possibilities from third party apps. Hue Disco flashes your lights on and off in time to music and Hue Fireworks lets you put on a 4th of July light show from the comfort of your couch.
Get Web TV
Going away to college often means leaving the limitless world of cable TV behind on mom’s doorstep. Most dorms don’t have TVs apart from in common areas, so if you’re used to hogging the remote, you better think again.
Most resort to crowding round tiny laptop screens, putting up with poor viewing angles and tinny speakers. But with a couple of small purchases, you don’t have to.
For just $35 Google Chromecast lets you stream content from apps on your phone, like YouTube and Netflix, to anything with an HDMI input. Although it’s usually used with a regular TV, you can use it with any monitor that has either its own speakers or an audio output for plugging in your own.
Catch Them Red-Handed
Did you know that 80 percent of crimes reported at colleges and universities across the U.S. are property crimes? And out of those the most prevalent is theft from dorm rooms and shared accommodation.
The fact is that if you share a room, no matter how well you think you know your roommate, there’s always a chance that they’ll bring someone back that’s totally untrustworthy. So how can you protect yourself?
Nest Cam is a 1080p HD, 130-degree wide angle, night-vision camera that securely streams video to your mobile device wherever you are in the world. Its magnetic and adjustable stand means you can put it almost anywhere – all you need to do is plug in and go.
Obviously no one wants to be sitting looking at a stream on their phone all day – that’s why Nest Cam will smart detect unusual movements and send a notification to your phone. You can even speak remotely through Nest Cam’s speaker from your phone.
On the subject of controlling things from your phone, why not just go ahead and make all your electronics remote controlled?
The WeMo Insight Switch from Belkin plugs into your power socket and lets you turn any appliance on or off from your phone. It works over WiFi or mobile networks, so no matter where you are, you have control.
The switch will even help keep your home energy bills low by letting you set schedules, monitor energy use and find out which devices are used most often. You’ll get notifications straight to your phone if something’s been left on, allowing you to switch it off remotely if you want.
What’s really nifty is you can use the app to create “recipes”, automating when certain devices switch on and off. For example, set up a desk lamp to switch on when the sun goes down.