If you’re trying to relax after a hard day’s work, the last thing you want to have to deal with is an irritating robocall.
Usually unwanted and sometimes deceptive, most computer-made calls are actually banned by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), though millions still occur every year.
In a bid to deal with the annoyance, the FTC in March launched the $25,000 Humanity Strikes Back contest, inviting entries for a tech-based solution to identify and deal with robocalls made to both landlines and handsets.
The winning entry, announced Monday, is an app that goes by the wonderful name of RoboKiller. Oh yes, this one does exactly what it says on the tin, eliminating those pesky calls before they have a chance to make contact and send your blood pressure through the roof.
Created by Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles, RoboKiller uses audio-fingerprinting technology to identify robocalls.
“Our robo analytics engine is the backbone of the RoboKiller service, but our mobile app is the what will make our solution available to everyone,” the duo explain on their website.
They continue: “Most solutions to the robocall problem have had limited availability because they rely on integration with telephone carriers, or telephony services. RoboKiller relies only on call forwarding, which is universally available on both landline and mobile phones. So for almost anyone with a smartphone, RoboKiller will provide a real solution to their robocall problem.”
When the RoboKiller software identifies an incoming call as nothing more than a computer-generated waste of time, it sends it straight to your SpamBox, allowing you to continue going about your day none the wiser. Similar to your email’s junk folder, you can access the SpamBox at any time and use the data to set up filtering if there happen to be calls from a particular organization – say, your child’s school – that you want to receive.
Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “We hope the winners bring their dynamic solutions to the marketplace soon,” adding that the app could block “billions of unwanted robocalls, and help people report illegal robocallers to law enforcement.”
Speaking of bringing it to the marketplace, RoboKiller is now in the middle of a $75,000 Kickstarter campaign for the creation of iOS and Android versions of its software. If you want to stop robocalls once and for all, this could well be the solution you’ve been waiting for.