Project: Automated Lawn Room

I recently finished creating a 3D-printed, Raspberry-Pi-powered, Twilio-backed lock for one of the oldest rooms in Charlottesville.   The goal? To allow my friends anytime access to my space on the Lawn while simultaneously staying secure.

I was originally going to grant access to all of my Facebook friends  (the Raspberry Pi would use Facebook’s API to check who my friends were), but thought that it might be less chaotic to design my own registration system, so that I can easily control when individual users are permitted to enter my room.


  1. Not destroying a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  2. Designing/Printing a container and transmission to adapt a servo motor to the existing door lock.
  3. No existing “Instructables” for this project (or pieces of it therein)
  4. Learning how to make the Arduino talk to the Raspberry Pi
  5. Getting through the University’s draconian firewall to Twilio. (ended up using a few servers as mirrors to get there)
  6. Allowing manual override for maintenance workers who occasionally let themselves in.

Here’s a video I submitted to the Engineering Student Council as part of a contest.  (The second half shows how it works)

Update:  Some new features!

I’ve been working on a few new features to make my room more intelligent.  One of the features will save electricity by turning lights on only when there are people in the room, and turning them off automatically when the visitors leave.  Another new feature  sends me a text with a picture of the visitor who entered the room.  Finally, I’ve created a lockdown mode so that I can go on vacation without worrying about what will happen to my room when I’m out of town for a weekend.

Calling a method I wrote to control the lights in my room via DMX protocol by way of the raspberry pi.
Calling a method I wrote to control the lights in my room via DMX protocol by way of the Raspberry Pi.