Doorbell "button"

Hi,

[Amusing that we tend to call the *button* and the *annunciator* "The Doorbell"! :-/ ]

Anyway...

I'm looking for an unusual idea as to how to implement the "button" portion of a (home) "doorbell". I.e., the interface that is presented to the *visitor*.

Note that this need not be electronic. Or, could be some perversion of an electronic adaptation of a *mechanical* device.

Goal is to "mess with the heads" of (first-time) callers (I expect folks who visit often to quickly understand the mechanism).

Note that actually *knowing* that a visitor is "at the door" is not an issue -- I can do that a number of different ways. What I am actually interested in is how the *visitor* thinks he has to signal his presence.

The sorts of things I've been exploring:

- a "knocker" that is not movable (no "hinge")

- a knocker that is hinged at the *bottom*

- a knocker that "fights back"

- a knocker that "makes no noise"

- a knocker that FALLS OFF when actuated

- a "button" that you *pull* (Addam's Family)

- a button that isn't "pushable"

- a *group* of buttons ("which one do I press??")

- a numeric keypad ("what do I *type*??")

- a telephone *dial* ("WTF??")

- a coin slot (or dollar bill validator! :> )

- a big red "HAL" eye

- "In case of Emergency, break glass" (with LEXAN :> )

etc. (I've heard some REALLY off-the-wall ideas that I won't even mention, here :> )

[Remember, I am not interested in how you would *sense* the visitor's action -- that's typically easy]

I.e., the point is to force first-time visitors (e.g., solicitors) to pause and have to think about how to proceed -- set them back on their heels, momentarily. ("regulars" won't think twice about any scheme I come up with AFTER their first encounter)

So, how would you "confound" someone interacting with your door for the first time?

Reply to
Don Y
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Pepper spray? Robotic paintball gun? Flamethrower?

I get about three random door-to-door callers a year--two Jehovah's Witnesses, whom I always talk orthodox theology to, and one summer-student from NYPIRG whom I talk liberty and evidence-based thinking to.

Is that really a big issue in your nabe, or are you just being an old coot? ;)

Cheers

Phil Hobbs

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Reply to
Phil Hobbs

Pepper spray? Robotic paintball gun? Flamethrower?

I get about three random door-to-door callers a year--two Jehovah's Witnesses, whom I always talk orthodox theology to, and one summer-student from NYPIRG whom I talk liberty and evidence-based thinking to.

Is that really a big issue in your nabe, or are you just being an old coot? ;)

Cheers

Phil Hobbs

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Reply to
Phil Hobbs

Maybe a trompe l'oeil of some kind? Or a screen with a CAPTCHA?

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Best regards, Spehro Pefhany

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Reply to
Spehro Pefhany

Clever. My office doesn't have a doorbell or button. Few offices do. So, I have a sign "Yell for Service" which substitutes nicely. Also, my posted hours is a sign I found proclaiming "I don't do mornings". This also acts as a filter for potential customers that fail to read or understand such obvious instructions and are therefore not candidates for my services.

For a doorbell, I suggest a pressure transducer, that measures the pressure, duration, and frequency of the button pressings. It should also be possible to add a quick reading pulse oxymeter and pulse rate counter with the inclusion of red and IR LED's. Fuzzy logic computation should offer an indication of the state of mind of the visitor, which would be used to decide if you want to greet the visitor, or escape out the back door. With a historical database of button pressings and visitor names, it should be possible to identify the visitor.

Drivel: I recently discovered a few back issues of Make Magazine. Initially, I was amazed at the highly innovative designs and ideas in the magazine. Why didn't I think of those great ideas? Then, I realized what was happening. The magazine is devoted to those that would automate and computerize (usually with an Arduino board) common devices that no respectable market research organization would consider sellable or even desirable. Does the world really need a programmable flashlight, kids kaleidoscope, or in this case doorbell?

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Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com 
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Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Why not talk evidence-based thinking to the Jehovah's Witnesses?

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Reply to
bitrex

Push button/knocker/whatever mounted above the top of the door.

Ed

Reply to
ehsjr

Goal isn't to harm them. Rather, "confound"/confuse. Force them to expend more effort than they had originally (subconsciously) planned. "Set them back on their heels". Sort of like having NO outgoing message on your answering machine...

[Recall, we also have *desired* visitors so flamethrower would probably not be seen as a friendly reception!]

On average, the "bell" gets rung probably 6 or 8 times a week. Mail carrier with an oversized package or something that has to be "signed for"; ditto for FedEx or UPS. Neighbors dropping by for a visit. *Old* neighbors or "winter visitors" who've come back to town. etc.

But, all of these folks are "regulars" (even the mail carrier, UPS and FedEx folks).

However, at least one "random" (unwelcome?) visitor each week. Someone wanting to sell you yard care service, replacement windows, recoat the roof, ask if they can harvest seeds from the wildflowers, tell us they'll be replacing the water/electric/gas meter/feed, ask if we've seen any "suspicious activity" in the neighborhood (e.g., cops following up on a home invasion, break in, etc.), paint the house, etc.

The JW/LDS'ers have basically gone away, over the years. But, the "solicitors" are perennial...

Reply to
Don Y

Those would be too easily "recognized" and "prepared for" (psychologically). I want something that has the visitor already committed to his (mindless) approach to the door -- only to discover that something isn't as he

*expected*.

E.g., the trivial case is to remove the "doorbell" button. The absence of a knocker *and* the button usually causes folks to stumble -- but only momentarily. They resort to knocking with a fist.

Something like a door knocker that they lift, AS USUAL, but that *latches* in that up position would be more "unexpected". Esp if it can't easily be pushed back down!

Or, one that falls off IN THEIR HAND ("Oh, shit! I broke it!!")

Parabolic mirrors *might* work to create a displaced illusion of a

*real* button. But, getting that right regardless of the person's stance would be difficult. (and, what do you do at night?)
Reply to
Don Y

That poses a problem for "desired" visitors.

And, would be too easy for a "cold caller" to "dismiss" -- not invest any time trying to figure out *how* to signal his presence, etc.

E.g., something like a coin slot immediately *suggests* what is expected of the caller. But, EVERYONE would immediately dismiss that: "No way am I going to *pay* to visit this guy!" They would then go looking for the "no payment required" option... which doesn't exist! Eventually, returning to the coin slot. And, inevitably coming to the "clever" (i.e., incredibly obvious, uninspired, etc.) solution of "just knocking".

At which point, you can automatically illuminate the sign above the coin slot that says "please deposit 25c..."

Check and Mate. :-/

[of course, you could immediately refund their deposit *if* they make that leap of faith!]
Reply to
Don Y

Doorbell button you have to double-click to get a doorbell to ring? Press it once and it only 'rings' outside (or maybe buzzes or crackles or barks or something like that). .

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany

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Reply to
Spehro Pefhany

Naw, I've got a cleverer way of identifying The Regulars! :>

Of course not! Besides food and shelter, the world (i.e., it's inhabitants) doesn't NEED *anything*!

I could simply leave the "far" gate closed/locked so folks not familiar with the set up would be kept ~20 ft away from the door -- i.e., no way to even KNOCK!

But, there's no *fun* in that!

SWMBO ***really*** likes the coin slot idea! I, however, fear it would be too tempting to vandals...

Reply to
Don Y

Bill acceptor? Credit card reader?

I *like* the idea of getting a $5 deposit before the doorbell rings.

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany

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Reply to
Spehro Pefhany

Well, if all you want is entertainment, provide them with 3 identical push buttons, and a riddle for them to solve. The 3 buttons are labeled with 3 possible answers. If they fail and push the wrong button, they get soaked with water from above, or swallowed by a trap door below: Remember to change the riddle occasionally.

If that's too much, just use the IVR (interactive voice response) method. Punch 1 for residents, 2 for friends, 3 for package deliver, and 4 for salesmen. Lacking any obvious reason for cheating, most salesmen are amazingly honest and will punch the correct button.

I also like the coin slot idea[1]. However, my version would be to hand a suitable coin on a string nearby. If they use the coin on the string, they're designated as cheap, greedy, and unworthy of entry. If they supply their own coin, you give them their money back upon entry.

[1] When I managed my fathers apartment building, I had access to a fair number of coin op mechanisms from the washing machines. Someone kept vandalizing the tumbler lock on the utility room door, so I installed a 25 cent coin op mechanism on the door. There was no key, but you needed to insert a 25 cent piece in order to open the door. The coin fell into a tin can on the inside so that it could be retrieved. That ended the problem because the vandals apparently didn't carry change with them (to prevent the coins from making noises when they were sneaking around). An amazing number of coins were eventually collected from people forgetting to retrieve their quarter.
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Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com 
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Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Yeah, I have a couple of $1/2/5 validators, here. But, that would be *way* too tempting; most validators "store" the received bills adjacent to the slot into which they are fed. So, unless you want to put it behind some armor, anyone with a wee bit of knowledge would realize they could easily vandalize it!

Would be ideal for telemarketers! :-/

Probably end up with a HAL9000 interface as this is consistent with the I/O's that I've already planned for that location. I will have to rewatch 2001 and see if there is enough "HAL speech" to build a large enough unit inventory for a *general* purpose (diphone) synthesizer. It would be wicked cool to be able to use HAL's voice to interact with visitors: "I'm sorry, Spehro, I'm afraid I can't do that..."

Reply to
Don Y

That would encourage "retaliation". You want to discourage people without pissing them off -- else you have to worry about their future actions!

I have some prototype code that characterizes speakers. So, I can recognize a (regular) visitor by the characteristics of their voice. (possible because you dont have to deal with a large population)

"Regular visitors" would either know how to circumvent the requirement

*or* would be confident that their monies WOULD be refunded. ("Fred, give me a quarter; I'm going over to visit Don...")

Years ago, there was an arcade piece (perhaps a shooter?) that cached the player's quarter. If you "won" (beat some score, etc.), YOUR coin was refunded to you. Amusing how often folks wouldn't realize that this *could* (and DID!) happen! Anyone "in the know" would routinely probe the coin mech after a player left the game in the hope that the player was one such "dweeb"!

The public lockers in our local "municipal park facility" operate on a similar basis: put a quarter in them to use the locker (key can't be removed/locked without it). *But*, the quarter that you inserted is held in the mechanism and released when you return the key to unlock the door (i.e., there is no "coin box" as the mechanism only handles *one* coin -- which acts as a sort of "key deposit").

As long as the bozo ahead of you hasn't STOLEN the quarter that was sitting in the locker from the previous occupant, it's a simple matter of retrieving *the* quarter, inserting it in the coin slot, closing and locking the door, then withdrawing the key. Later, unlock the door (which GRABS the key) to retrieve your items -- and make *the* quarter available for the next patron!

Reply to
Don Y

................

What about this:

Reply to
McAvity

At least you remembered my optical illusion suggestion from last time... ;-)

How about making the button capacitate or a pressure sensitive or something, and then painting a poorly* drawn "button" over it. So the button looks like an obvious drawing of a button (and hence "clearly" not the real button), but if you press it, it rings anyway.

Or you could make an immobile knocker with a strain gauge, set to sense a *sideways* push.

*Perhaps a 1st grader's drawing of a doorbell
Reply to
Robert Wessel

Put a sign above the keypad, "for who are you calling":

On a telephone keypad "DON" is "366"

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Reply to
Jasen Betts

Why would you need to? They seem to have enough difficulty anyway without obfuscation!

My button is on the door jamb at the same height (~5') as the letterbox and 2" from the lock, and black/white on a red background. About 25% of people don't see it.

Reply to
Tom Gardner

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