Make cell phone calls with your Arduino

Cellular shields for the Arduino have been around for ages, but this is the first one we’ve seen that turns your Arduino into a proper cell phone.

The shield is based around the SIM900 GSM/GPRS radio module, and is compatible with the SIM908 GSM/GPRS module that adds a GPS receiver. Also on board this shield are a pair of 1/8″ audio jacks, perfect for connecting a microphone and headphones. Yes, you can actually make cell phone calls with your Arduino now.

The real star of this build is the new GSM Shield library. This library of code includes the methods necessary for an Arduino to function as a cell phone (answer, hang up, dial a number), but also includes a lot of improvements for TCP/IP communication.

Even though the cost of getting an Arduino communicating through a GSM or GPRS network is fairly high, we’re thinking this would be the perfect starting point for a completely open source, open hardware cell phone. A phone with the same functionality as an old Nokia brick that is also a MiFy would be an amazing piece of hardware, and would surely make for a profitable Kickstarter.

Comments

  1. jaromirs says:
  2. Bryan says:

    I know Verizon has a policy where if you let them test your device for compliance and EMI they will allow it on their network. Maybe one day we will all build our own phones.

  3. Malcolm says:

    It would probably also be of use if you were building your own drone and wanted to fly further than RC distance

  4. Zee says:

    At this point I’d just recommend using a rPi and a cheap 20 dollar USB GSM module. The level of complexity needed for effectively using the GSM pushes the upper limits of the arduino

    • TacticalNinja says:

      I agree on this. USB does all the connection crap for you; all you have to provide is the AT Commands and you’re set. Though I don’t know about audio input for the RPi. USB microphone perhaps?

  5. attilasukosd says:

    Usually I don’t write here, but this time I don’t agree.

    GSM/GPRS shields have been around for Arduinos for years (seeedruino?) and most of them had audio jacks for mic+speakers, so i don’t see how this is revolutionary.

  6. bikedude says:

    We don’t need an open phone. We need an open network.

    • K10 says:

      When you build your OWN network, you can do as you see fit. Until that time, when you’re voluntarily purchasing airtime & network bandwidth on someone else’s network. You play by their rules, or you leave.

      Verizon, AT&T, etc. They have every right to specify what devices they permit on THEIR network. You don’t like it ? Don’t do business with them. Simple.

    • BossDad says:

      Agreed, an open source network would be incredible. I’m not educated on what it would actually take, but I like the idea. Thoughts?

  7. DainBramage1991 says:

    in the USA, unless this fits within FCC part 15 (it doesn’t) or is for licensed amateur radio use on assigned amateur radio frequencies (it’s definitely not), it would need to be type accepted by the FCC, just like all other radio transmitters are.

    Much as I like this whole concept, I hate the idea of people just transmitting anywhere on the spectrum (on the cellular bands in this case) because they think they can.

    One last thing: In the USA it is illegal to transmit or even receive on the cellular bands without proper licensing/authorization. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

    • arachnidster says:

      It’s a working GSM radio – a cellphone – not something that arbitrarily uses the cellphone bands. I’d be very surprised if the module it’s based on isn’t already licensed, too.

  8. Galane says:

    I to see CDMA phones in North America with RUIM cards.

    RUIM is to CDMA as SIM is to GSM. This thing with CDMA phones in NA not being easily swappable like GSM phones is BS.

    I want a smartphone and a dumbphone I can change between simply by swapping a RUIM card, same as anyone can do on the GSM carriers.

  9. Captian Jack says:

    “One last thing: In the USA it is illegal to transmit or even receive on the cellular bands without proper licensing/authorization. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.”

    telecommunications act of 1925 its legal to recieve all radio communications.

    and yes, free hardware is a great idea.

    • Corrosion says:

      Thats not true.. it is a crime to intercept many different communications…

      Anything that people expect to be private

      GSM
      CDMA
      DECT

      etc….

      Two of the three are VERY easy to intercept.. and its a felony to do so..

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