How One Dev Uses SMS to Open and Close His Garage

Most mashups try to solve a complex problem in an innovative way, and therefore save us all time. However, sometimes a mashup solves a very simple problem in an interesting way. Either way, I love to see innovative new uses of APIs like this one from Brian Beermann, which controls his garage door using the Twilio SMS API, some hardware and a lot of creativity.

Here's how Beermann explained it in our SMS Garage Door profile:

Using an Arduino with an ethernet shield and some electronic components I built a Twilio powered garage door. It can tell if the garage door is open or closed and it can also activate the garage door opener if desired. In addition I have a program that runs every 15 minutes and checks the garage door. If it is open past 8:00, it sends my wife and I a text message. We can simply reply to close it.

The mashup includes this video (embedded below) of Beermann showing off the garage door application in action:

So, with that mashup, they can open and close their garage door with an SMS message, and it warns them if they leave it open at night. How cool is that? In addition to Twilio, this mashup relies on Arduino, a bit of open-source hardware, made to be flexible and applicable to as many things as possible. The Arduino site explains it like this:

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping Platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

Arduino can lead to a lot of interesting little electronic hacks, including this one. You can either make your own Arduino components, using the instructions provided on the site, or buy the building blocks from many fine sites.

If you connect Arduino to web APIs, be sure to add your mashup. We look forward to seeing more innovative mashups like this involving fun, open-source hardware.

Be sure to read the next Telephony article: Ez Texting Family of APIs Go RESTful