Dorm room automation kit. There are many ways you could add automation to your house, many including hard wiring things in to the building to make them hidden. In a dorm room that isn’t an option, everything must be left as it was found. I want to make some sort of system to control lights and other small appliances that leaves no permanent marks, but is also fairly compact and not just a bunch of cables running all over the floor.
Building a system to monitor an NTPA pulling truck engine. I want to make some small system to record things like the header temperature, and some other variables. It must also survive the physical rigors of barreling down the track (no moving parts). A simple microcontroller (arduino?), some sensors and an SD card might work.
A random flavor button for the pop machine in the IEEE room. Everyone is always wondering loudly which pop they should get. I have an urge to hack the machine and add led lights to the buttons. If you press the random button, they light up and pulse in sequence until the light stops on a random one.
A scale, which I can calibrate to the weight of a book, the Wizards First Rule for instance. A timer can be set and the book removed. If the book is removed without setting the timer, or the timer expires an alarm goes off. NO snooze option. The book must be replaced for a certain amount of time before the timer can be set again. This would keep me from reading 800 pages in one weekend again, very bad.