At work, I often use a Post-it note stating my whereabouts on my office door for those who stop by looking for me when I am out. Some notes are one-time use like “On vacation. Back on 11/20.”, and some can be reused like “Up in the 3113 lab.” Sometimes, though, I am late to return from a previous meeting or am home sick. In these cases, I would like to be able to update my status.

The solution I came up with was to use an Arduino Uno and a GSM shield that allows me to send a text message to the Arduino/GSM. Once in the Arduino, the text message is extracted, manipulated a bit, and then displayed scrolling across a 16×2 LCD affixed to my office door. To mount the display on the door, a bracket was made with a 3D printer, and a cable connects the Arduino to the LCD.

This project is my first with Arduino, not counting turning an LED on with a push button. It is a combination of getting the GSM side of things to work and programming the message for the LCD. There are lots of opportunities to make tweaks to fit your particular needs, especially how to mount the display.

The code and related files can be found at the GitHub repository for this project.