Raspberry Pi mailbox brings in the mail like the old days

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Guy Dupont)

Sick of push notifications going off throughout the day? You’re certainly not alone. Maker and developer Guy Dupont was also tired of the constant interruptions and decided to do something about it. After a bit of deliberation, he ended up creating this awesome Raspberry Pi-powered push notification mailbox project he calls Mailblocks.

The system works by blocking all push notifications detected on the network. Push notifications aren’t permanently blocked. Instead, you can download them by placing your phone inside of a toy mailbox. According to Dupont, the idea was to somewhat recreate the experience of retrieving your mail each day from a mailbox on your own terms.

To pull this off, the Raspberry Pi is programmed to act as a router. Any lookups that are associated with Google’s push service are redirected to a nonexistent IP and blocked from reaching your phone. When the mailbox door is opened and you place a phone inside, an ESP-32 is activated which sends a notification to the Pi that it’s okay to allow push notifications through. It also triggers the mailbox flag to raise.

Dupont was kind enough to share a list of hardware used to create this project which includes a toy mailbox, servo motor, Adafruit MiniBoost 5V and an Unexpected Maker FeatherS3 ESP32 module. We know that a Pi is used but the exact model isn’t confirmed. A LiPo battery is also used to keep the unit portable.

The base for the mailbox was designed by Dupont and 3D printed just for this project. In the demo video showing off the project, Dupont explains that the Unexpected Maker FeatherS3 board was programmed using CircuitPython. If you want to get a closer look at how this Raspberry Pi project works, check out the project page over at Hackaday.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.