MSR Introduces 'Mayhem' Open Source Application with a Near-zero Learning Curve

Microsoft Research at the TechFest, demonstrating an open source scripting app called "Mayhem," an open source application with a near-zero learning curve. The goal of Mayhem is to allows users to interconnect services and devices within and beyond the Windows ecosystem."Mayhem provides a collection of triggers events and reactions, allowing non-programmers to use their computers […]

Microsoft Research at the TechFest, demonstrating an open source scripting app called "Mayhem," an open source application with a near-zero learning curve. The goal of Mayhem is to allows users to interconnect services and devices within and beyond the Windows ecosystem.

"Mayhem provides a collection of triggers events and reactions, allowing non-programmers to use their computers to automate… anything! What sort of things? Chase your cat off the couch automatically. Receive a text message when your physical mail arrives. Advance to the next slide in your presentation when you wave your hand. Update your Facebook status when the weather changes. The possibilities are endless," informs Microsoft.

Microsoft donated the technology to OutercurveFoundation, who has "Mayhem" to its roster of open-source projects cited as an example connecting an alarm clock and a coffee maker.

"Any interconnected device could communicate with any other through simple trigger events (if the alarm clock rings) and reactions (then start the coffee maker.) Unlike writing a program, the user simply selects an event and a reaction, and then turns on the connection between the devices. No code, app or programming required," Outercurve said.

The power of Mayhem is that it lets you trivially connect any device or service to any other device or service. It would be impossible to list all the things you can do with Mayhem, but here are some examples:

  • Use your cell phone to control your PowerPoint presentation - e.g., advance to the next slide in your presentation when you wave your hand.
  • Receive an email reminder to winterize your house when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Automatically update your Facebook status when the weather changes.
  • Add an auto-save feature to a program that doesn't have one.
  • Pause a video automatically when you leave the room. Chase your cat off the couch automatically.
  • Receive a text message when your physical mail arrives.

Outercurve is also running a "Make Your Own Mayhem" contest to encourage the development of new add-ons to Mayhem.

Deadline for submissions is midnight (PT) on April 30, 2012, with more than $5,000 in prizes up for grabs.

The Mayhem developer preview is available for download from CodePlex.