See Who’s Calling With Caller Pi-D

One of the hardest things in life is watching your parents grow old. As their senses fail, the simplest things become difficult or even impossible for them to do.

[kjepper]’s mom is slowly losing her sight. As a result, it’s hard for her to see things like the readout on the caller ID. Sure, there are plenty of units and phones she could get that have text-to-speech capabilities, but the audio on those things is usually pretty garbled. And yes, a smartphone can natively display a picture of the person calling, but [kjepper]’s mom isn’t technologically savvy and doesn’t need everything else that comes with a smartphone. What she needs is a really simple interface which makes it clear who’s calling.

Initially, [kjepper] tried to capture the caller ID data using only a USB modem. But for whatever reason, it didn’t work until he added an FSKDTMF converter between the modem and the Pi. He wrote some Node.js in order to communicate with the Pi and send the information to the screen, which can display up to four calls at once.  To make a mom-friendly interface, he stripped an old optical mouse down to the scroll wheel and encased it in wood. Mom can spin the wheel to wake the system up from standby, and click it to mark the calls as read. Now whenever Aunt Judy calls the landline, it’s immediately obvious that it’s her and not some telemarketer.

[via r/DIY]

13 thoughts on “See Who’s Calling With Caller Pi-D

  1. sorry for all the posts right now, but i just love your site so much.
    I want to stress how much hurt we go through when we become disabled, dreams dont come true no more.
    You should try being a mental patient on the brain sucking medication, give you an 80 year olds brain your 34!!!

    1. You are not the only one. There are always trade offs when hacking the mellon.

      A single punch in the head when your fourteen can lead to increased aggression; due to the diminishment of the frontal lobe. Upon realization of this aggressiveness, and after years of selecting flight over fight, one can become trapped in a persistent state of heightened anxiety, which also damages the brain. Eventually, one might start making connections where they simply do not exist (ie. “they’re out to get me”)… Which necessitates medication.

      Just remember, an 80 year old brain is better than no brain at all. After all, they are always looking for new daisies, especially when people stop taking their meds(it makes for “good” news)…

    1. You can hook a Pi up to most (if not all) monitors that have a DVI out by using one of those little HDMI-DVI adapters that come with slightly fancier graphics cards. I think DVI-I and DVI-D can carry HDMI signals to some degree, which is enough to connect said monitor to a Pi.

    2. If you look closely at the pictures you can see a hdmi->vga adapter (the dongle that has a blue connector plugged into it), they can be had reasonably cheaply especially if ordered fro china

  2. Note, setting an exposed board on an ESD bag is not a good idea. they are conductive and you can get weirdness from pins now getting signals from where they are not supposed to because of the bag. I discovered this when I started playing with FPGA’s and had really bizarre behavior when I was trying to make one act as a RF receiver. simply picking it off the bag made the problems go away.

    1. Yeah, I knew a guy who swore you were supposed to install a PC motherboard by pinning the ESD bag underneath the board with the standoffs. Took him years to figure out why they kept dying…

  3. Or he could have just downloaded NCID on the Pi. Has way more features including AUDIO call display (read the phone ID out loud) and more importantly CALL BLOCKING that automatically hangs up on known SPAM numbers and lets you block numbers.

  4. Multimon is a pretty good old linux soft multi protocol decoder which includes not only DTMF but also the phone FSK CLIP protocol. Unfortunately seems that now is only available via the wayback machine.

    I’ve been using it trouble free now for years for this same purpose in my home server with a phone line to sound card adapter. For the display a cheap digital frame updated remotely via bluetooth is the most convenient.

  5. This is a really good idea. Perhaps instead of a blank screen, it could show a slideshow of family pictures or something? I imagine she’d wonder to herself fairly often if the thing was on or not.

    Could also expand it to do weather, event reminders, “post it notes” (e.g. you log in to a web UI remotely and post messages to it) and such, plus with extra hardware, do things like turning the display on / off based on motion (with a 433mhz receiver and a cheap $2 motion detector from eBay)

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