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Aussie Hacks Siri & Automates Home For Under $110

By Tony Ibrahim | Friday | 02/12/2011

An Australian man has hacked Apple's Siri and is using it as the remote for his home automation system, which set him back only $110.

Click to enlarge
Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney's Marcus Schappi spent a measly $108.40 on a set up that'll turn on a lamp and open web pages by simply speaking to his phone. Next on the 28 year-olds home auto list is a Siri controlled front door and chicken hutch, where his conversational voice instructions will open, close and lock them.

In an interview with the SMH, Schappi said his simple setup has the potential to control his air conditioning system, manage his home entertainment system or even remotely unlock his car.
However, Schappi predicts Apple will want to plug the loophole he exploited in the software quickly.

"Anything with a remote control is instantly up for grabs," he said.

"When Apple shipped the iPhone 4S, only a subset of Siri functionality was made available to Australian consumers. [This hack] could provide an opportunity for developers to fill the gap."
However, he is concerned an Apple fix could compromise the experience for customers. Apple is now left with a dilemma: patch the hole and risk compromising iOS 5, or leave it as is and lose its Siri leverage.

"They could push out a patch that breaks things, but this would be a bad customer experience," he said.

"If Apple could secure Siri it would allow Apple an enormous amount of leverage."

Schappi's app-savvy bravado was nurtured as a hobby while studying. Eventually it turned into a more serious career, with Schappi starting the Little Bird Electronics. Currently he acts as the company's Managing Director, but also finds the time to work on applications for companies like Qantas, Caltex, Foxtel, Austar and the NSW Rural Fire Service.

"I've just switched over fulltime to what was the hobby business I founded whilst at university [Little Bird Electronics]," he said.

Schappi describes his home-brewed system as "relatively inexpensive." It uses an Arduino board with an Ethernet port ($24.95), two Arduino compatible relay modules ($13.50) and an electronic switch ($13.50), totalling $108.40.

Schappi hopes his business will distribute such kits early next year. Check out a demo of his handy work in the video below: 


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