A man in Spain recently took to Twitter to unveil a communication device he made for his 96-year-old grandmother, so she can keep in touch with her grandchildren—and internet users were amazed.
Manuel Lucio Dallo, an engineer working with software firm Plastic SCM, built the device in order to help his grandmother, who suffers from arthritis and hearing problems, making it hard for her to use a phone.
He dubbed the device Yayagram, and in his Twitter thread he explained how that name was derived: “Yaya means granny in Castillean, a warm way to refer to your grandmother. And, I use telegram to send and receive messages, so merge both words and you have the Yayagram,” he wrote.
Hello world! I want to share with you a device I made, its name is “Yayagram,” a machine that helps our beloved elders to keep communicating with their grandchildren. How? Let me open a thread to give you all the details of this contraption. pic.twitter.com/e5Nix3mvU7
— Manu (@mrcatacroquer) April 25, 2021
Though Dallo and his elderly granny, Felisa Romano Martin, live in the same city, not all her grandchildren live so near to her, hence her need for a simpler solution to stay in communication with them.
“She relies on my parents to take or make a call. The Yayagram allows her to be more independent and start conversations with her grandchildren,” Dallo said.
The Yayagram has the capability to send voice messages via telegram, and also receive telegrams.
To make the experience real for the granny, the device prints the messages on thermal paper, just like the telegram machines of old.
The device interface is very straightforward and easy to use. To record a voice message, you just press and hold the record button while talking.
“To send a new voice message you first need to choose the destination grandchild, the selection is made using a jack connector,” the inventor explained.
With one port per grandchild, making the connection is a simple matter for grandma. The device is also equipped with three LED lights to guide her.
The first light indicates that the Yayagram is powered up and ready to use; the second shows that the device is connected to telegram; while the third lights up when recording a voice message.
“A Raspberry pi 4 is the brain of the project,” said Dallo, revealing the meat and potatoes of the machine. “Everything runs on python and I use several third-party libraries to complete it.”
The Python code, he explains, utilizes three threads. The first receives messages; the second sends them; while the third is used to monitor the Yayagram’s status.
“To light up the LEDs and control the jack connectors and the button, I simply use the GPIO pins of the Raspberry pi, it has a native Python support so it is a no-brainer,” he added.
Dallo hopes the device will help his granny keep in touch with her grandchildren—particularly during this time of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, when visiting is constrained.
The easy-to-use invention has received plenty of attention, with the Twitter thread garnering over 13,000 likes and nearly 4,000 retweets.
The inventor has promised to publish an Instructables project with the build details for anyone interested in making the device on their own.