Alumnus Lights Up the Season

December 01, 2006

Ben Sintay (BSEE '04, BSCPE '04) is a shining example of an ECE alumnus in more ways than one.  Although currently pursuing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University, Ben found the time to work on an engineering problem on the side and let the solution help others.  In 2005, Ben launched "Control the Show", a website that lets you view and control the Christmas lights on the home he shares with his wife, Ashley.  "I was interested in creating a website that could control something physically in a way that people could interact with and see. I spent a good deal of time researching different ideas and finally decided in August of 2004 to work on a system to control my Christmas lights. The reason I chose to do this was simple: my wife loves Christmas and I knew I would have her blessing," he explains on his website.

After a short wait in the queue, Control the Show presents visitors with a control panel of switches for turning on and off the decorations on the house allowing them to decide exactly how the Christmas display is lit. Every light on Ben's home can be turned on or off including strings of house lights, lighted bushes, candy canes and a Rudolph. "I allow users a short period of time each to be in complete control of the house. Visitors are lined up so that only one person is in control at any given moment," Ben says.

But besides being fun, Ben's light show has a serious purpose.  Visitors to the site can "sponsor a light".   All sponsorship support is donated directly to the Winston-Salem Ronald McDonald House.  According to his website, Ben chose this charity because "RMHC gives needy families a place to call home during difficult times. They also provide food and caring people available just to talk. "

For more information on "Control the Show", visit the website at