Texting your door lock: “open pls. TY”

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Technology
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You can leave your keys at home with this clever hack by Billy Chasen, who rigged up his deadbolt to a Propeller-based Spinneret Web Server. Using an SMS gateway called Twilio, he can open and close the lock by tapping out a quick text message. Not only that, but the system also responds to acknowledge his request. For security, there’s a whitelist of permitted senders.

It’s an awesome project, but I hope for Billy’s sake that his deadbolt doesn’t go rogue and start texting up all his deadbolt friends. “R U unlocked right now?”
[via BuzzFeed]


12 thoughts on “Texting your door lock: “open pls. TY”

  1. knuckles904 says:

    Anyone know if theres a service like this twilio thats free?

    1. Matt Richardson says:

      I was thinking that instead of going through an SMS gateway, you could have the Spinneret serve a phone-accessible web page that has a lock and unlock button on it. Though I’m not sure how you’d secure it without a password, which would be a pain. Though Mobile Safari on the iPhone does save passwords.

    2. clide says:

      You could use Google voice in conjunction with some email forwarding rules so that an SMS to the GV number sends you an email. The email could be verified and interpreted by the server, or you could use in intermediary like Gmail to do the filtering/rule checking and forward it from there to a second email that the server is checking.

      You could also look into unofficial Google Voice APIs (I don’t think they have an official one)

  2. GanadoRH says:

    I’ve often considered this solution to a workshop door, but I’m concerned that this solenoid backplate will not stand up to a KICK like a solid wood door frame would. Does anyone have experience or a tale about this style of backplate’s strength? After all, a dead bolt is only as strong as its weakest link.

  3. Alan says:

    This is a pretty clever hack. Rather than turning the deadbolt knob with a servo, though, I’d probably favor installing an electromagnetic lock. They are standard off-the-shelf items, and very secure; I lived in a building with an electromagnetic front door lock in a pretty rough NYC neighborhood for 10 years, and despite several serious attempts, nobody ever succeeded in breaking it.

  4. Ceejay Roxas says:

    what is the material that you used and how do you do it?

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

View more articles by Matt Richardson


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