LetterBot is a friendly home monitoring 'bot. It keeps an eye on all things related to my front door and tells me and my wife about it.
LetterBot tells us when the mail arrives, he alerts us when someone is at the door and keeps tabs on any movement in front of the house.
LetterBot logs all event data to data.sparkfun.com because graph all the things!
LetterBot is a work in progress, currently he lives on my breadboard - read below for more details!
The Story Behind LetterBot
My inspiration for LetterBot is my need for music whilst working. As an occasional home work with toddlers, I often find that I can only listen to music through headphones due to naps and the risk of interrupting the daily showing of Frozen. I also find that using headphones over speakers helps me to focus and is useful on sprints of work.
Here's the problem though: how to tell if someone is at the door? It's pretty tough to hear the doorbell with Headphone on or loud music playing.
The LED Desk: The first idea was to use RGB LED's above my desk. There is 5m of the types of strip where they all show the same colour looped back and forth under a shelf above my desk. It's great - set any colour you like to work under and avoid eye strain! And it would be utterly unacceptable to not have an Arduino in there controlling the show!
So the original plan was to pulse the LED's red for a few seconds when the doorbell was pressed. Before DoorBot there was an earlier prototype which sniffed for the binary code my cheap wireless doorbell spat out on 433MHz and pulse the lights red whenever it saw it. The problem was that 433MHz is great for cheap sockets (I'll be posting my wireless Arduino Christmas Lights timer later in the year!) but its not reliable enough for something so time-sensitive and urgent as a parcel delivery.
So after loads of searching I found Spark Core. An Arduino derivative with on board WiFi for £28... Perfect! I can just use some web service or another to send a push notification to my devices when the doorbell is pressed and even get my Wife's devices in on the action.
And DoorBot was born... Sorry, LetterBot!