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Topic: Home Panic Button (arduino + twilio + wireless key finders) (Read 8321 times) previous topic - next topic


Aug 07, 2011, 08:04 pm Last Edit: Aug 07, 2011, 08:15 pm by stuboo Reason: 1
Lately there have been a series of burglaries in my neck of the woods that got me thinking...

Wouldn't it be nice to have a "panic button" of sorts that we could place by the bed that alerted the authorities if there was an intruder in our house while we were at home (unfortunately, the recent events were just this).

Arduino and Twilio both instantly came to mind.  I know nothing about microcontrollers or programming them and don't have time to learn at the moment, but thought I'd toss the idea out there to see if anyone would like to tackle it.

Here's what I'm thinking.

1.) user panics and presses a button on a key-fob. Something like http://amzn.to/n3X2Wb OR http://t.co/FqDh2BB
2.) the receiver is connected to the arduino with an ethernet stack
3.) the arduino uses twilio to make phone calls or text messages (one or many) with a pre-determined message(s) that alerts the authorities and or neighbors/family members.

As I said, I know nothing about microcontrollers or arduino except that it's cool.  The twilio portion of this code is incredibly simple though.

I've spent some time thinking about this, so I'm happy to answer any questions.  Hope someone takes this and runs with it!

http://amzn.to/n3X2Wb OR http://t.co/FqDh2BB


I suggested Twilio because it's easy to implement as a way to call the authorities and call/sms family, friends, neighbors in the event that the button needs to be pushed.

Coding Badly

It appears the Twilio API is based on an exchange of XML documents.  Somewhat verbose XML.  Which is a potential problem for a memory constrained microcontroller.  Does Twilio have an alternate API that's a little less memory consumptive?

The audio file has to be available to the Twilio server which implies the audio file has to be placed on a publicly accessible web server.  Thoughts on where to place the audio file?

I suspect some emergency responders will have objections to an automated system.  Especially one built by amateurs.  How receptive is your police department to the idea?


Aug 13, 2011, 12:43 am Last Edit: Aug 13, 2011, 01:25 am by stuboo Reason: 1
I share your suspicion, but I haven't gotten that far (i.e. asking them what they think). Even if emergency responders don't want it, I still think it's a good idea.  Just have the app call friends & neighbors instead. EDIT: Just ran across this randomly. 911 will soon accept texts, photos, video

As for twilio, the api does use XML, but all arduino needs to do is ping an web address with some identifier on the end of it to set off the chain of events that is handled by the webserver.  Unless I'm missing something, the load on Arduino, for this purpose anyway, is minimal.

pseudo code (admittedly bad pseudo code)...

arduino activated ---> ping http://mysite.com/alert.php?id=secret_code

if($_GET['id'] == $secret_code){

    $twilio->call($audio, $numbers_to_call)
    $twilio->sms($text, $numbers_to_text)


The audio file could be placed just about anywhere.  Amazon S3 is my initial thought, because it's uber inexpensive and more reliable than many other hosts out there.

Hope this helps.


We could do this using Arduino. Twilio is not needed. lets have a chat on skype to discuss how we could go about with it. My skype IM is given below.

IM: ryan0850


Did you guys ever develop this solution?
I may have a need.....

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