Meet the UMass student who recreated the ‘Stranger Things’ wall inside his dorm room
A Reddit user submitted the entire ‘War and Peace’ text for display
Things are getting strange at the University of Massachusetts this semester. Mastermind Caleb Kussmaul, a junior at UMass, spent four hours replicating the "Stranger Things" light wall inside his dorm room, and created a website to live stream messages people send for display.
Though not searching for anyone lost within the "Upside-Down," Caleb utilizes the wall's mechanics to communicate with friends, family, and anyone else who wants their messages transmitted to his dorm in Chadbourne Hall.
In an attempt to get noticed by Reddit for the opportunity to work as their engineer intern, Caleb shared a link to his website that users can submit messages to spur the colorful lights above letters to light up one-by-one, spelling out words.
Genius, am I right? Not to mention, just in time for the second season premier this week!
The Tab spoke with Caleb, AKA the number one"Stranger Things" fan, about his ingenious display.
How did you come up with the idea to make the wall?
The moment I saw it in the show I thought "hey, that could be a pretty fun project." And I wanted my friends to be able to send messages, so connecting it to the internet was the next step.
Who's your favorite "Stranger Things" character?
I absolutely love the show and if I had to pick a favorite character, I'd say Mike but they're all really interesting.
What are some of your favorite/weirdest messages people have sent you for the wall?
Well, it being the internet, a lot of people were trying to out-weird each other so it's hard to say. But I certainly wasn't expecting the entire text of "War and Peace" to show up.
And how many messages have you received?
The process is automatic. So a message submitted on my site, for better or worse, is automatically displayed. I tend to be more of an "anything goes" kind of person, so the only filter in place is to stop spam like "aaaaa…"
At it's peak, I was receiving dozens of messages per second, even after blocking IP addresses that were obviously trying to DDoS it. My poor server still couldn't keep up so it's impossible to say how many I got, just that it was on the order of tens of thousands.
Oh wow, so all day the lights are flashing? Yowza. How does your roommate feel about it?
Well after I ended the live stream it's back to a slow trickle, which honestly is really fun to watch it light up occasionally and have that fleeting connection with some random internet person.
My roommate is used to this kind of stuff by now, I think. He was very understanding and made the most of having his room being streamed to 50 thousand people.
What's your dream job? And have you been recognized around campus?
Dream job would be starting my own software company. Thankfully I have not been recognized, but a few of my friends found me on the front page which is always fun.
What other projects have you done in the past that you're proud of?
I've made a handful of projects over the years for communities I've been a part of, just whenever I thought "there has to be a better way to do this" I'd end up making my own program to do it. One that you might enjoy is GIFKR, which is a glitch themed image/video filtering program. It's been really cool to see people creating some very unique works of art using it. I've kept most of my more recent projects private though. Last year I tried to give myself a sixth sense, and ended up burning myself with a vibration motor because the room I was taking an exam in faced north, and I repurposed some of the parts for my Stranger Things wall.
@Reddit, The Tab fully endorses Caleb for the engineer internship!