Magic Fingers SMS Helper

Author
Stuart
Category
blog
Date

Hello, after a little absence while I’ve been focusing on Inventability I’m back and I have A Thing! The thing is called Magic Fingers. With Magic Fingers you use your normal phone to text message your smart (lightbulbs / switches / heating / etc) to control them. In fact you can use SMS/ texts to “press the button” and trigger all kinds of different processes… hence the name: Magic Fingers! Boop!

I’m going to post a detailed how-to for those of you who are not technically minded, but if you’d like to dive right in the Magic Fingers repository is here.

But what does it do Stuart?

Well, when connected up with IFTTT Maker Channel the things that this application can control are too numerous to list in full. But uou can turn lights on and off, get the weather emailed to you, or even get notified when the international space station is passing over your house. You can do as many things as there are recipes on IFTTT.

Why did you do this?

Well, let me first say that the credit for the majority of the work and getting me started on this project goes to Kevin Whinnery in particular, and the Twilio team in general. Without them, this project wouldn’t exist. Thanks Kevin!

My need for this application became apparent because I couldn’t call for help in the middle of the night. During the day I can use my laptop, my switch controlled phone, drive my wheelchair after people, or any other number of methods to get help. But at night in bed, seeing as I can’t move on my own, all I can do is lie there and shout. This is not a very effective method of summoning help; it’s especially unhelpful if your night carer has fallen asleep!1 or snuck out for a ciggie on the sly. So I asked an idle question on Twitter and, after an outpouring of help from some very awesome people, Magic Fingers was born.

So, I use my smartphone voice dictation (in this case an iPhone with Siri but any voice dictation will do) to send an SMS to a Twilio phone number which then hits Heroku. Heroku passes along my message to IFTTT and finally that causes my lights to flash blue when I need assistance and red when I need emergency help. It’s pretty robust, and all you need to do is edit one file to add or take away commands to your liking. It’s fairly brilliant if I do say it myself!

Okay, that’s it for now, how to to follow later today or tomorrow.

  1. True story. 

accessibility, LIFX, ifttt, and application

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