Mailblocks phone notification blocker

By Ben Everard. Posted

Guy Dupont has a problem: he keeps making brilliant creations that pique the interest of the internet. Every time he makes something interesting on the internet, his phone starts blowing up with notifications. What to do?

Well, in a bit of a meta-twist, he decided to make yet another brilliant device, only this time, one that would block notifications until such a time as he’s ready for them. This is the Mailblocks. It’s based on the old-fashioned mailboxes of North America, in the days when you’d have to get up and move your body to receive paper messages once a day from the outside world, and it means that Guy’s Android phone doesn’t bug him with updates unless he chooses to accept them.

Guy uses a Raspberry Pi acting as a Wi-Fi router on his home network, running a custom DNS server that looks for IP addresses associated with push notifications, and redirects the DNS requests to nonsense IP addresses.

The flag raises when you’ve got mail; it’s activated by a small servo, powered by an Adafruit MiniBoost 5 V

That’s the blocking part. So far, so good: now, in order to pick up notifications, you need to put it into the mailbox. Inside the mailbox is a mechanical switch that closes when the phone is inserted. The switch is connected to a Feather S3 board, from Unexpected Maker, that tells the Raspberry Pi to stop the monkey business with DNS. The Wi-Fi network reboots and, when the phone looks again for the Google servers, all the previously blocked notifications come through. Congratulations: you are now in charge of your phone, rather than the other way around.

From HackSpace magazine store


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