Over the last few months, I’ve noticed extra calls coming in from local numbers, and if you live in the US, I suspect maybe you have too. These calls are either just dead air, or recordings that start with “Please don’t hang up.” Out of curiosity, I’ve called back on the number the call claims to be from. Each time, the message is that this number has been disconnected and is no longer in service. This sounds like the plot of a budget horror movie, how am I being called from a disconnected number? Rather than a phantom in the wires, this is robocalling, combined with caller ID spoofing.
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 FSK–DTMF 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.
We spotted this odd piece of geek couture on DVICE today. It’s a bracelet that displays incoming calls via Bluetooth and also vibrates. The intended use is kinda interesting, but we wonder what else could be done with it. Could you update it with any text you want by creating fake caller ID messages? You could have your laptop in your backpack and have the bracelet update when it finds an open access point or any other sort of notification. The display shows the word “Connecting” in pictures, but apparently only displays numbers for incoming calls. It also includes a button to reject calls.
Do you have a project that needs a wireless display? Are there other options like this? At $25, this might be worth a try.