Zelda and the Ocarina of Things

Voice recognition is this year’s model for home automation, but aside from feeling like you’re onboard the Aries 1b arguing with HAL 9000, it just doesn’t do it for our geeky selves. So what’s even geekier? How about carrying around an ocarina in your pocket so that you can get a Raspberry Pi to unlock the door for you? (YouTube video, embedded below.) Yeah, that’ll do.

[Sufficiently Advanced]’s video gets us 90% of the way toward replicating this build. There’s a tube with a microphone and a Raspberry Pi inside. There are a bunch of ESP8266-powered gadgets scattered around the house that take care of such things as turning on and off the heater, watering plants, and even pressing a (spare) car remote with a servo.

We’d love to know what pitch- or song-recognition software the Raspberry Pi is running. We’ve wanted to implement a whistling-based home automation interface since seeing the whistled. We can hold a tune just fine, but we don’t always start out on the same exact pitch, which is a degree of freedom that [Sufficiently Advanced]’s system doesn’t have to worry about, assuming it only responds to one ocarina.

If you’re questioning the security of locking and unlocking your actual apartment by playing “Zelda’s Lullaby” from outside your window, you either overestimate the common thief or you just don’t get the joke. The use case of calling (and hopefully finding) a cell phone is reason enough for us to carry a bulky ocarina around everywhere we go!

Thanks [Itay] for the tip, via Sploid.

21 thoughts on “Zelda and the Ocarina of Things

        1. It appears that the general public ignores these things because they continually use in-secure IOT devices on a daily basis.

          So yeah, I stand behind spelling it out….

      1. Lock picking is not impossible and be done fairly quickly by people who are trained to do it.

        But, it’s not as simple as just playing back a pre-recorded sound…
        This is basically no different than the TSA holding up their master keys — in a photograph — for the world to see.

    1. See, what you do is, you program it to unlock an encrypted copy of a movie/song/photograph/novel you’ve written every time it unlocks the house too.

      So when a thief imitates your tune and gets into your house, you can charge them with not only robbery, but also with a DMCA “circumvention of technological protection measure” on a copyright work, the fines are much bigger…

      1. That wouldn’t work….

        You are guilty of contributory infringement
        https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/contributory_infringement

        Also you could think of it like the following example:

        1) You jerry-rig a gun do that it will fire when a door is opened.
        2) You place a victim in the path of the gun.
        3) A criminal breaks-in and the gun does off and kills the victim

        — The criminal is guilty of a BNE, but they aren’t guilt of murder (you are…)

        1. My understanding is that the user of that proposed scheme owns the copyright to the content used in the unlock code. And thus (obviously) has permission to use it for that purpose. An unauthorized third party wouldn’t.

          1. I still think there would be an issue with contributory infringement (you are directly causing another to infringe) — in other words legal entrapment.

            I would think the only way to solve that would be to take someone to court and suspect that could be used as a defense.

        2. No. If I have composed the tune I use to unlock the door, then I am allowed to play it. The burglar does not own copyright and so he infringes it, if he plays the tune to unlock. The burglar would play it himself, not the lock.

  1. Is this compatible with N64 controllers? They’re a bit stealthier than playing an ocarina in front of the door… And having a gamepad next to a door is cool (“What game are you playing on that Door64™?” “Locked Door Simulator – Ocarina Edition”).

  2. Even easier is just smash his window. That’s even quicker and easier. You don’t even need to take your own tools.

    Picking locks is only for when you don’t want anyone to know you’ve made access or there is no other access route.

    This is a pretty cool build and full of ubber geekiness. Where does he buy his clothes I want to break in and steel his Tshirt :-)

  3. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but in case anyone else ventures this way, he eventually posted a how-to video. Please update the article. I’m looking at the part says you can only guess what software is running.

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