Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group gives you Mayhem

At Microsoft Research TechFest earlier this year I saw a demo of Mayhem but we never covered it here on NEXT. I was reminded of it when I saw on{X} from our Bing team earlier this week and decided it was time for some Mayhem love.

Mayhem is an open source Windows application that lets pretty much anyone ‘program’ their computer to do stuff automatically across all their devices. I say ‘program’ because it’s really a very simple task of selected an event and the resulting reaction. What can you do with it? How about…


  • Pause a video automatically when you leave the room.
  • Update your Facebook status when the weather changes.
  • Use your smartphone to control your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Switch an appliance on or off with your smartphone…or your voice!


There are add-ons for INSTEON-brand lighting and home automation devices, Phidgets devices that include various sensors, servo motor controller, and digital I/O, for devices using serial communication and phone modules for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

Mayhem was originally developed by Microsoft to allow everyone to harness the power of programming to connect devices and services, without programming. Ownership of Mayhem was transferred to the Outercurve Foundation as an open source project, and is freely available for download, use, and extension.

Head to to download and try it out. I’ll tell you, it’s quite addictive and I now have some INSTEON goods on their way to Casa Clayton with a plan to automate the whole place. When the sun comes out in Seattle, I want my roller blinds to automatically roll down, the A/C to switch on and my audio system to start playing summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Who wouldn’t? :)