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English Teenager Invents a Better Doorbell

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-coming-from-inside-the-house dept.

United Kingdom 363

Several readers have written with word of a new doorbell, invented by 13-year-old Laurence Rook. What's so special about a doorbell? This one lets you answer the door from wherever you can receive a call from its embedded 3G chip; to your in-person caller (facing the doorbell), that means it sounds like you're answering the door over an intercom system, even if you're really across town. Pretty clever way to make it harder for a thief to know if a home is actually occupied, though Rook says that he initially just wanted a system to avoid missed packages.

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Horatio sez... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36346960)

When it comes to the working world, it seems that Lawrence Rook... *sunglasses* ...has got his foot in the door.

YEAAAAAAAAAAH!

Re:Horatio sez... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347136)

I just had a vision of a John Hughes movie.

The lameness of the joke makes it so much funnier, if I had mod points I would have handed them over.

Re:Horatio sez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347550)

WTF. Fuck off back to reddit with this shit.

UPS Rings Doorbells? (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346962)

I have had extremely good luck with UPS, but most peoples complaints are that the delivery driver doesn't even attempt to ring the doorbell, and drives off.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (5, Funny)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346968)

What does he do, instead? Just parks and gives you 60 seconds to notice him and storm out of the house?

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (5, Interesting)

Pennycook (1296497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346986)

We've actually caught delivery guys posting us "You weren't in" cards in the past. Some of them are just really lazy and don't want to get your package out of the van if they can avoid it.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347444)

On two occasions I have had courier drivers post a "you weren't here" card on the front door exactly two inches away from the "For Deliveries Ring Bell at the Back Door" sign.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347556)

We've actually caught delivery guys posting us "You weren't in" cards in the past. Some of them are just really lazy and don't want to get your package out of the van if they can avoid it.

Yes. Through my window I watched a FedEx driver walk up without the package, slap the notice on the door, and walk away. I called the local office and raised hell.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (4, Interesting)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346994)

In our neighbourhood, they stop looking about a block away because there is not a house with the right address where the GPS coordinates say it is (but all the houses on the street are clearly marked).

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (4, Interesting)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347106)

I've caught a UPS deliverer just dumping it and running off even though the sender had requested a signature, and the only reasoning I caught him was because I was eagerly expecting the package, happened to be home, knew it would arrive soon, and knew a signature would be required. "Huh, oh yeah ... it does say signature required... oops, yeah, sign there"

Another time a UPS deliverer just put a "you weren't there" notice while I was at home late one evening, never heard a knock and I would have.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347438)

Another time a UPS deliverer just put a "you weren't there" notice while I was at home late one evening, never heard a knock and I would have.

Get a doorbell hippie!

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (5, Funny)

greentshirt (1308037) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347330)

I caught one once too. I still have him.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347072)

Our local driver(s) have on several occasions not come to the door, but mark in their system that I wasn't home. I've even been sitting out on my front porch before and gotten a notification in my email that UPS missed me. However upon calling it they said "we're sorry but if you missed the driver he'll try and redeliver tomorrow". Basically they treat residential customers like shit because they can and most people simply put up with it. Once or twice they've left a package for me at the front office of my apartment complex without bothering to leave a note on my door meaning they just drove as far as the office and then left. Being that the front office is nearly a mile from my door, I made the driver go pick the package up and bring it to me the next day. It was about 75lbs of bulky box, and since I have no car there was no sane way of me going to pick it up. Seriously fuck UPS right up their fucking asshole.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347160)

I think more people knock than ring doorbells, even when they are available.. UPS has over the years gotten bad about just dumping the package on the porch.. I think most do attempt a knock (or ring), but they are trying to get on to the next address so they are not going to wait too long before they just leave it.. If you are really concerned and unable to be there to make sure you get you package, Fed Ex has a hold for pickup and you can get your package at the nearest office.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (5, Informative)

geoskd (321194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347316)

I think more people knock than ring doorbells, even when they are available.. UPS has over the years gotten bad about just dumping the package on the porch.. I think most do attempt a knock (or ring), but they are trying to get on to the next address so they are not going to wait too long before they just leave it.. If you are really concerned and unable to be there to make sure you get you package, Fed Ex has a hold for pickup and you can get your package at the nearest office.

Many people don't realize that UPS and FedEx now offer a shipping option called "shipper release". It is a discounted shipping option that guarantees that the driver will leave the package, no matter the neighborhood, weather conditions, etc. The building could be on fire and they will leave the package. The catch is that the carrier is not responsible for lost or stolen packages. Many shippers use this option because it is cheaper to replace any packages lost, than it is to pay full shipping price (The shipper release discount is pretty big). Many, many shippers now use it. This in large part why packages are left. Often a driver wont even knock when the package is shipper release, they just drop and run.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

rbphilip (530254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347208)

FEDEX doesn't bother ringing the doorbell. I've had them basically trip over my car in the driveway so they could walk to the door and stick their sticker on it, when I was inside. Never do they bother to ring the doorbell.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347460)

That's exactly why I've stopped ordering anything from Borders. Or Verizon; when I got my last phone, I had to chase the FedEx guy down the street after the second time he tried to stick a note in the door while I was in the house (the first day, I waited eight hours by the door, except for the thirty seconds I was in the bathroom he snuck up and didn't ring). But at this point, if I'm buying anything online and get to the shipping part of the checkout and see FedEx in there, I abort.

That, and the fact that FedEx doesn't even actually DO most of the shipping (they tend to hand a package off to the Post Office, which ships it across a few states, then a FedEx facility gets it and hands it off to the PO to send across a few more states ... until it finally reaches your town, where they then proceed to deliver only a "sorry we missed you" note) makes me wonder how they even stay in business. My best guess is the reason the Post Office never turns a profit is they kickback to FedEx to have such shitty delivery practises that they actually look good by comparison (that's right, their service is so craptacular that they've got a Libertarian extolling the virtues of the Post Office).

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347608)

It seems to be more dependent on your local offices then anything else. My local UPS people have decided that they are going to require a signature and a warm body to deliver it no matter how worthless the package or what the shipper opted for. Annoying to say the least. USPS and FedEx on the other hand have been great.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347220)

I know someone who lives in a rural area and has about 7 dogs and other animals. The UPS guy is a wuss and is afraid of dogs. He throws their packages in the desert next to their house, leaves them in the road in front of the house, and in general does everything he can to avoid going on their property. One package sat in the desert for 2 weeks before it was found. Another nearly got run over.

Whats funny is that the guy complained that one of the dogs "tried to bite him" and so he kicked it. I know the dogs, the worst they could possibly accomplish is death by licking.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (3, Informative)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347452)

You might know the dogs, but the delivery guy does not. Why should he take the chance, or brave phobias to deliver a package into the property, rather than just to the property? Think before you compose.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347494)

If you're seriously afraid of dogs, why would you take a job that requires you to travel to and on stranger's property where there's a pretty good chance you're gonna come across dogs pretty often?

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347654)

If you're seriously afraid of dogs, why would you take a job that requires you to travel to and on stranger's property where there's a pretty good chance you're gonna come across dogs pretty often?

I dunno; hunger, rent, car payments ... lots of things I suppose.

I never get why every single person's dog is "harmless" if you ask them.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347476)

That's very easy to say when you met the dogs with their owner around. When he's not, even the calmest dog will become territorially protective and aggressive towards strangers coming near a home (or car, as anyone who's ever worked as a parking valet and had to deal with asshole customers who complain to your boss because you didn't want to get in the car that their rottweiler was growling in the back of and then leave unattended in the July noonday sun for five hours can attest to).

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2)

dnorf87 (1082671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347258)

Back in 2005 when I finally decided to upgrade to a 250gb SATA drive, I first saw it being flung over my fence into the front yard in what looked like a trash bag (possibly because it was raining?). I only knew to look outside because my dog went crazy. He goes nuts when he hears Fedex and UPS trucks--or anything that sounds like one. They did the whole black plastic bag with a box inside of it again sometime later that year, leaving it next to our mailbox, which happened to be right next to our trash pile. Good thing the trash guys didn't come before I found it :| Fedex from now on. UPS around here is terrible. On Topic: Nifty idea from a techy-teen. Wonder how this kind of tech could've influenced movies such as Home Alone? Sneak attack from behind?

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347582)

Think about it, "Home Alone", like a lot of shows in that era no longer work - getting separated and being unable to contact people is a rare scenario in the cell phone era.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347362)

We've had deliveries left, not by the door, not on the front porch, but on the side of the house, 5 feet away from the side door, in our driveway, in a puddle, in the rain. Didn't knock or anything.

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347478)

I've heard that if you catch him then he will give you his pot of gold!

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (2)

ace123 (758107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347520)

Of course, UPS doesn't ring the doorbell. They knock. Three times. [collegehumor.com]

Re:UPS Rings Doorbells? (1)

duvie (692383) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347672)

I have watched UPS drivers in #roc getting out of the truck and walking up to my apartment building with nothing put a fistful of yellow stickies. And a union....

A perfect method to warn the British (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36346974)

It's what Paul Revere would have used.

Re:A perfect method to warn the British (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347534)

Sarah? Is that you?

Overkill (3, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346976)

OK, I'll acknowledge that some people are abandoning their land line and going only wireless, but putting a doorbell on a 3G system strikes me as somewhat absurd. Maybe it will be useful in places where the cell carriers don't rape their customers, but using it in the USA, with the extra account it would require, would be crazy for most people. At the very least it should also have the option to tie into the home's land line rather than use the cell network.

I could "invent" a lot of things, if practical costs of using a wireless network were not a consideration.

Re:Overkill (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347014)

Let's all stop innovating because of cost, then! This silly progress thing is just plain too expensive!

Re:Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347128)

OK lets break the cost down shall we. (I work with this stuff so I have a pretty good idea of what it will cost)

I shall do it in US dollars
Door bell 15-50 depending on what you buy.
Controller to snag the door bell signal. 30-120 depending on what you get.
3g radio/controller package 200-700. Also yes they are that much if you use CDMA/LTE, 1/4th that if you use, EDGE 1/2 that, 2/3 if you go HSPDA. That is also the low end of these sorts of boxes.
2-30 a month recurring cost for a phone line. Depending on what tech you use and who you go with and how much planned data you use. As you are looking for streaming more probably around the 15 dollar mark. And 15 if you get a good rate. Can be even higher.
20-50 for a camera/mic
30-150 for a zigbee or 802.11 network. You may get lucky and the controller/radio you get has it built in. But plan on spending more to get it.

All in all I would say about 300-900 out the door cost plus a 5-30 dollar recurring bill a month.

OR 15-50 for a door bell.

The tech is seriously cool. It is been around for ages (look up scada systems). But the cost is currently is not in the realm of normal people. Upper class certainly. Middle if they were really into it. Lower class no.

I typically build these sorts of systems for high value businesses. Where if their million dollar equip walked off they want it on film and transmitted ASAP to someone and 10 people to get ther phones paged, and NOW. Dropping a grand on this sort of thing is nothing for them. For average joe blow. A grand is half a months salary plus the recurring cost.

Not exactly cutting edge tech. There are whole companies out there that build these things. They use what he built as sales demos.

Re:Overkill (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347296)

Get a cheap android phone, like the i5500, create cheap plastic front end + app. That's all you need to do this.

Re:Overkill (4, Interesting)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347052)

well here in ireland a prepay sim can be picked up with no paperwork and i think 5 euros every six months will keep it active and in credit. so 10 euros a year to run it?

it would be nice with a wifi model running voip to your mobile though.

Re:Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347622)

There are DECT doorbells (e.g. Gigaset HC450), connect this to a VoIP DECT basestation and your whish has come true.

Re:Overkill (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347064)

Except this isn't anything 'new'. One of the newer apartment buildings built on campus (finished in ~2005) lets you buzz in anyone from anywhere using your phone. I believe the place also had washer/driers that would text you when they finished their cycle.

It may be cool, but definitely not a new 'invention'.

Re:Overkill (3, Informative)

11_biznatch_11 (875790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347154)

Most apartment building I've lived in, including my current 20 year old one, have the main entrance intercom system just dial a pre-programmed phone number. In the past you would give it your land line and buzz people in from that, but since you can have it call any number most people I know now have it call their cell, since they don't have land lines. I've been answering my buzzer/intercom with my cell phone for 8 years.

Re:Overkill (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347454)

Did you get sent back in time? My apartment still has us use quarters for the wash.

Re:Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347504)

I had a girlfriend once that would do that too!

Re:Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347082)

Thats it, lets all stop innovating because American companies rip off Americans.

In Europe, this would cost zero euro per month, plus the cost of the call.

Sometimes I wonder if Americans *actually* know there are other countries and just because they take it up the ***, we don't...

Re:Overkill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347304)

you take it up the ass too, just with different things: like taxes for instance, or lack of freedom of speech

Re:Overkill (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347708)

Except you get what you pay for.

HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347092)

Ha! Cell carriers raping US customers? Pfffffft. Try looking at what Canadians have to bend over and put up with from our carriers.

Re:Overkill (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347158)

I agree that 3G in the doorbell is overkill. Honestly, why not tie it into a home's Wi-Fi or ethernet and have it ring your phone via VoIP? It's not like your door is going anywhere...

Re:Overkill (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347430)

Or, you know, POTS. The doorbell isn't mobile, it is not going anywhere.

In fact... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347626)

...the door buzzer system in my apartment uses a land line.

And you know what? The number it calls when you hit the number on my apartment calls MY MOBILE PHONE!

So what this kid invented is made obsolete by a buzzer system that was installed in the 80's. Great work, kid.

Re:Overkill (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347174)

The trend toward "every gadget with its own bloody cell contract" is rather annoying, especially when the house in which this item would be installed probably has a perfectly good internet connection already or, even if unwired, a number of devices that could be sharing the single comparatively expensive cellular modem and contract.

Unfortunately, home automation still seems to be in a rather ghastly state. You can get something polished if you pay reasonably serious money or sink considerable time and effort, and the options for cobbling stuff together out of miscellaneous geek gear are better than they used to be; but I do suspect that the rise of unnecessarily cell-driven widgets is (aside from the obvious rapacious greed of the telcos factor) driven by ease-of-use considerations. Embed a cell modem in something and, like magic, you don't have to pay support people to explain the mysteries of whatever horrid mixture of incompetence, cut-rate gear, and sheer mystery lies between the device they just purchased and the internet.

Re:Overkill (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347230)

I imagine you could use a PayGo contract with this, and any other device...

Re:Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347300)

I could "invent" a lot of things, if practical costs of using a wireless network were not a consideration.

I hate these types of comments. Have you a invented anything? If not STFU. Let the doers do it.
If you have, nobody is writing about it enough to be on /. so, STFU. Nobody cares ATM *

* you may have invented really cool/important shit; I dunno that, but at this moment the discussion is not about you. Submit you invention to /. for discussion if you wish

Re:Overkill (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347450)

Think further. Think company doorbell.

Imagine you have a small one-man shop and you just step out for groceries or something, wouldn't you want to be able to tell your delivery guy that he should wait for 5 minutes (and receive a nice tip if he did) instead of having to wait all day in your office for him?

Imagine you're a big company and you try to avoid having a phone system. It's not as absurd as it may initially look, considering that the setup cost of phone systems (even aside of the system itself, cables, phones, etc) is easily overcome by handing cells to all your employees, which has pretty much become the standard in some companies anyway. How about every secretary (or a few of your personnel) receiving a call when someone rings the doorbell and they can even open the door for them? Even if they're not in the company (granted, opening the door should be reserved to certain special occasions in such a case).

I could even see an added security feature, akin to a four-eyes principle, where the security head receives a call when a certain security door is to be opened and only his code, sent via cell, can unlock the door in addition to the guard's button.

I could see a lot of interesting ways this could be used in business.

Re:Overkill (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347526)

OK, I'll acknowledge that some people are abandoning their land line and going only wireless

What planet do you live on? Everyone except the elderly has cell phones now, and most got rid of their land lines years ago.

great! (1)

CaptPadlock (2032918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346982)

now i can answer my neighbors doorbell :-)

"even if you're really across town" (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346990)

it sounds like you're answering the door over an intercom system, even if you're really across town

oh, there went my how-could-that-possibly-be-abused alarm.

Re:"even if you're really across town" (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347044)

If you're capable of physically ringing the doorbell to cause abuse then you already have a million and one ways at your disposal to do it. You already know they're not home.

He invented this? How come I had one before he was (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36346992)

He invented this? How come I had one before he was born?

I think I still have it saved somewhere in my old "Cool"
alarm equip. I used to do installs in the pre-computer
(pre 386 days). This was a box, with triggers and a phone
module. Event triggers, allowed for voice out, mic in.

Exact same thing. So... innovation?

Kudos to him for a great innovation.

-@|

AC til I find it...

Re:He invented this? How come I had one before he (1)

Literaphile (927079) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347132)

He invented this? How come I had one before he was born?

I think I still have it saved somewhere in my old "Cool" alarm equip. I used to do installs in the pre-computer (pre 386 days). This was a box, with triggers and a phone module. Event triggers, allowed for voice out, mic in.

Exact same thing. So... innovation?

Kudos to him for a great innovation.

-@|

AC til I find it...

You were using 3G in the pre-386 days?

Re:He invented this? How come I had one before he (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347288)

Yes, the spectrum was nice and clear back then.

Re:He invented this? How come I had one before he (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347302)

This was a box, with triggers and a phone module. Event triggers, allowed for voice out, mic in.

Parent explicitly mentions a phone module. So no, not 3G - but a phone nonetheless.

Re:He invented this? How come I had one before he (1)

geoskd (321194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347360)

He invented this? How come I had one before he was born?

I think I still have it saved somewhere in my old "Cool" alarm equip. I used to do installs in the pre-computer (pre 386 days). This was a box, with triggers and a phone module. Event triggers, allowed for voice out, mic in.

Exact same thing. So... innovation?

Kudos to him for a great innovation.

-@|

AC til I find it...

You were using 3G in the pre-386 days?

the 3G part is not that part that people think is the cool part. In fact, the 3G part is entirely irrelevant to the operation of the invention. You could rig one of these things to work over a ham radio, or better, as was suggested earlier, VOIP through a pre-existing connection and save a fortune. The 3G part was because the kid is 13, and all the components of this setup are fairly easy to wire together (probably doesn't even require a breadboard). All of the parts are standard off the shelf modules. Hell, someone with some programming skill could make an old 486 with a sound card and a network connection do everything this does through VOIP, with only needing to make about half a dozen wiring connections through the game port and the speaker connections. Not that I have put any thought into this or anything.

-=Geoskd

Data plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347000)

Sorry, but I don't want to pay $40/month for my doorbell.

Re:Data plan? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347398)

Just get a second SIM-card for your current subscription. A small price to pay for a cool door bell and no extra costs per month.

Slashdot could do better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347008)

Guys, why bother with a cell network? We've got smartphones! What we need is a way to get our doorbell online - and make it all accessible from an app.

Re:Slashdot could do better! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347024)

Then when people show up at your door, they download the app?! Brilliant! Android users can keep iOS users away, and iOS users can keep Android users away, and no one has to deal with the remaining riff-raff.

You know what might be better though? If you gave every doorbell a number, and then you could just enter the number of the person you wanted to talk to.

Re:Slashdot could do better! (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347040)

If you gave every doorbell a number, and then you could just enter the number of the person you wanted to talk to.

I was going to say "they have.. it's called a..." but stopped myself before the Woosh! :)

Re:Slashdot could do better! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347056)

Brilliant! Android users can keep iOS users away, and iOS users can keep Android users away...

As if anybody who would go to this extent would be getting hordes of people knocking on their doors to visit.

Re:Slashdot could do better! (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347038)

Wasn't there someplace years ago where you could finger the coffee pot to see it's state?

What's to invent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347042)

Before I got it changed, I used to get calls from my old condo intercom from half way across the country. My unit had a separate entrance so I never buzzed people in, even when I lived there. If the system responded to touch-tones then there is not much to invent here. It's just a feature-add. The system already stored phone numbers and forwarded to numbers, so I suspect this isn't a great leap. It doesn't have much utility either. I can't see myself having any rason to buzz somebody in unless I'm actually there. I know the other owners wouldn't have appreciated that. IMHO, A better idea would be to geolock the thing and *prevent* buzz-ins unless you're there. That way there's no way to fiddle with building security just by stealing the phone.

Re:What's to invent? (5, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347070)

Before I got it changed, I used to get calls from my old condo intercom from half way across the country. My unit had a separate entrance so I never buzzed people in, even when I lived there. If the system responded to touch-tones then there is not much to invent here. It's just a feature-add.

No, it's not.

Your condo was using the phone system to act as an intercom, this kid's invention is a phone and doesn't require one already be installed. That means my apartment, which doesn't have an intercom system like your condo does, could have this system with minimal installation work.

RTFA.

Re:What's to invent? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347332)

While I can't see any need to buzz people into my house remotely for myself, it's pretty easy to think of reason's other people might want to do it: a family member or roommate being locked out, a cleaner or pet-sitter coming mid-day, a friend picking something up in an emergency, etc.

Personally, I'd just as soon not have physical keys, and just use an RFID system instead. Having a remote interface would be pretty cool too, especially since it could be used to merely give access to a porch or mud room for a delivery, or into any other room(s) as deemed appropriate. Obviously, this would be limited by the number of closed and locked doors one would want in the house, but 2, even 3 between the outside and inside proper isn't too outrageous or inconvenient.

Slashdot's UK icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347122)

Signs you have been watching too much Doctor Who: "Why is that TARDIS red instead of blue?"

Re:Slashdot's UK icon (2)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347426)

Clearly it's a ginger.

Re:Slashdot's UK icon (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347674)

Yes, because clearly a police box and a phone booth look identical... (I know what you mean though. Only I thought initially "Why is that TARDIS red instead of greyish?" - I've been watching the 1965-66 season recently :)

Skype (2)

Inschato (1350323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347124)

Couldn't you just hook the door bell up to your LAN and make it call through Skype or whatever instead of this 3g chip nonsense?

Re:Skype (1)

BrowserCapsGuy (872795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347482)

Couldn't you just hook the door bell up to your LAN and make it call through Skype or whatever instead of this 3g chip nonsense?

That's what I was wondering, too.

Had the same set up years ago (2)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347162)

Nothing new here, aside from maybe the 3G chip. When I rented out a loft in SF 10 years back, the landlady gave me the manual to the door intercom and I was able to program it via it's dial in touch-tone API to dial my cell so I could answer the door from wherever -- which was very handy.

Meh ... (4, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347210)

Call me once it's possible to remotely zap Jehova's Witnesses and other annoyances.

Re:Meh ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347578)

I second that!

Re:Meh ... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347684)

Please somebody mod parent funny or insightful or such!

On the bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347214)

"Hello? No, I'm not intersted" (hangs up). "Who was that?" "Oh, some Jehovah's Witness trying to give me a Watchtower."

Bill shock... (1)

agendi (684385) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347216)

Now knock and run can cost you a small fortune.

Seems like a flawed Idea (1)

Teknikal69 (1769274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347242)

They will be easily recognized and to me seem like a very easy way to rack up someone you don't likes phone bill, all a criminal needs to do to bypass them is simply knock the door.

Really not worth the trouble.

Bueller? Bueller? (2)

Brewmeister_Z (1246424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347244)

This reminds me of the hack used in the Ferris Bueller movie when the door bell was pressed and a recording would playback over the intercom. If Ferris had this then, he could do his improvise the "sick and can't come to the door" routine from anywhere using a cell phone and not get busted by the recording repeating.

That's not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347262)

That's not new! I have such a system for >8 years.

Mine is not yet adapted to smart phones etc but I can connect to the buidin file server and view photographs of the people that rang my doorbell.

What could possibly go wrong with this idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347268)

I too wonder the logic behind the 3g doorbell.
It obviously isn't going to move and it is going to need credit. Seems like overkill and reminds me of a previous slashdot story...
http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/01/08/2244234/Thieves-in-South-Africa-Hit-Traffic-Lights-For-SIM-Cards

already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347284)

I already do this - to my Google Voice number which then rings both my phone and my wife's.

Idea vs. Implementation of idea (1)

YaHooL (1745114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347298)

The idea is very nice. Give people the ability to answer their doorbell from wherever they are.
The proposed implementation of this idea might be an overkill but the by idea itself is still rather innovative.
It basically takes an existing concept of an Intercom [wikipedia.org] and enhances it to become easier to install at home and to be able to reach you wherever you are by establishing a connection to a device you already own.

Used to miss packages all the time (1)

Terranex (1500465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347320)

Since joining a company that I can order things to I haven't missed a single package :)

Re:Used to miss packages all the time (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347406)

Until of course you get a package on a Saturday.

Useless without verifying who is at the door ! (1)

mijxyphoid (1872142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347376)

A better doorbell has already been invented....
Its called an intercom.... This in the Slashdot crowd that keep up to date with technology may have heard of these things.

Some of the fancy new ones allow you to actually use a phone line, a PBX extension.
Some even support SIP and IAX2.

Missed packages? (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347456)

I'm confused. Packages are either left at the door or need a signature. How could faking that you are home convince a delivery guy to leave a package that needed a signature? And if you are not there will he not get in trouble if the package is stolen when you told him to leave it?

This is everywhere in Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347496)

I deliver pizzas on the north side in a gentrified neighborhood, and 90% of apartment buildings with >10 units have a system like this. Considering these boxes don't move, why the hell would you put a SIM chip in them? Over POTS, it's gotta be as cheap as a phone line and the cost of the call box. Most of them are digital and seem to be made by the same couple manufacturers, but I've seen 80's-era boxes with great names like "EnterPhone 3000". This has clearly been around a while, but I guess a good news headline isn't, "Teenager uses Google to discover his idea has existed longer than he has been alive," like 95% of my "amazing ideas" since the age of 12. But since I'm neither rich nor famous, maybe I'm underestimating the power of stupid people who need to reinvent a fucking bell.

So many comments/questions! (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347532)

First, why is a 13 year old having boxes delivered to his house? When I was < 18, getting my parents to let me use their credit cards was not happening.

Second, Fuck UPS. Fuck them in their stupid asses. Ignoring the random useless delivery guy issues people have had, my problem is with their Canadian brokerage fees. They involve sodomy.

Third, I ignore my front door. I don't care who's there. Unless I'm expecting someone, I just ignore it. I don't want to join your religion, buy your crappy product, or listen to you tell me why your political party doesn't suck.

Fourth, add me to the list of people who will be more interested when someone rigs something I can use to fling people off my front doorstep and into traffic or something.

English teenager you say? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347564)

I thought teenagers the world over left voice communication in the dust for the much more trendy sms/mms. With a home networking setup, cheap webcam and some programming sense it wouldnt take much to set up an interactive door bell.

1. Visitor rings doorbell.
2. Webcam takes a snapshot and sends mms to cell phone
3. ???
4. profit!

disclaimer: the above example involves publishers clearinghouse ringing the doorbell

His nationality is important why? (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347586)

So the single category which best sums up this story and so is used for the icon is... ... that the kid is British?

And the very next /. story has 'cellphone' as its category/icon.

While we're at it - why do red antique phone booths represent the UK?

Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36347640)

This isn't new, most condo/apartment/high-rise intercoms use the telephone system, even if there is no telephone service to the unit. As a result if you use the intercom you will ring an actual phone and any attached equipment. This means that you could remotely pick up the phone or forward it if you have the right line cards in a computer.

What makes things interesting is if you simply have a "answering machine" that relays it back to another phone line or to a cell phone (eg via skype or google voice) you accomplish what's here.

Now if you live in a older building, or one with a separate intercom, you can't do this.

it's a phone (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36347642)

Clearly I will be stealing your doorbell rather than ringing it.
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