Billy Chasen Wins Anything Goes Contest with SMS-controlled Door Lock!

Billy ChasenWe’ve seen people use Twilio to build SMS applications that integrate with door buzzer systems to send the right touchtones to let people through locked doors. Billy Chasen took that concept to another level. He built a system that uses SMS to control a physical door lock via an embedded web server connected to a servo motor connected to the lock. Billy wrote a blog post talking about the project and included a video of the app in action (below). For his inventive use of the Twilio SMS API, Billy has won the Anything Goes contest. Billy will receive a Google Nexus S and $150 in Twilio credit. Congratulations Billy!

Billy talks more about how he built the SMS door lock control:

What’s the story behind your project?

BC: I wanted to build a way to get into our office without using keys. My phone felt like the next logical choice to open the door with because I always have it. Instead of building an app, I wanted a way that anyone with any phone could get in (if they were on the whitelist). Text messages were the logical choice.

What technologies are you using?

BC: I’m using something called a Parallax Spinneret Webserver. It’s a tiny little webserver and it’s connected to the door and also the internet. All of the source code can be found on GitHub.

Twilio has the added bonus of having a log of all the text messages, so I can easily figure out problems and also see if there was any attempted unauthorized access.

Runners Up

In addition to Billy’s winning entry, we have selected three runners up who will each receive $100 in Twilio credit.

Blizzalert by James Chevalier

Jim Chevalier

Blizzalert is a simple SMS-based system for receiving snow forecasts for 400+ ski areas across the US. James recently blogged about creating Blizzalert. The post discusses how James combined NOAA weather data, Twilio and Recurly for payments to build the app. Congrats James!

TextLang by Ilya Volodarksy

Ilya Volodarksy

TextLang uses the Google Translate and Google Text-to-Speech APIs to transform text sent via SMS into a translated audio listened to via phone call. Ilya and his family are Russian immigrants and TextLang has helped them learn English phrases. Ilya is a student at MIT and built the site using Django. Congrats Ilya!

hipfone.me by Kunal Batra

Kunal Batrahipfone.me allows hearing-impaired users to receive telephone calls from anybody in the world. The app asynchronously converts the caller’s speech into text and then sends it to a chat box embedded on a web page. The other person can then respond with text in the chat box which is read to the caller. Congrats Kunal!


We’ve extended the deadline for the “Coordinating People” contest category started last week. Get your entries in by this Sunday!