RoboKiller app takes top prize in $25,000 anti-robocall contest

robokiller app takes top prize in 25000 anti robocall contest phone anger
Dundanim / Shutterstock
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.


Third-party call recording apps no longer work with Android 9.0 Pie

There is a lot to love about Android 9.0 Pie. But as users update their phones, they noticed an annoying new issue: Google removed a workaround an Android 9.0 Pie that developers used to power third-party recording apps.

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much is Spotify Premium going to cost you, you’ll want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.
Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for August 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.

The best Moto Z3 cases to keep your flagship phone protected

The newly released Motorola Moto Z3 is a fine phone with a lot to offer. But while it's tough, it's not tough enough to go five rounds with concrete. Here are the best Moto Z3 cases to keep it protected.

Master your Moto E5 Plus and E5 Play with these handy tips and tricks

The Moto E5 Plus and Moto E5 Play are Motorola's latest budget phone offerings. Whether you're new to Moto phones or just upgrading, there are plenty of special features to explore. Here are our favorite Moto E5 tips and tricks.

Department of Justice asks judge to force Facebook to decrypt Messenger

The Department of Justice and Facebook are embroiled in a legal dispute over the future of Messenger's privacy policies. The government is demanding it decrypt Messaenger to allow for wiretapping of criminal suspects. Facebook is refusing…

SMS Connect will allow you to use Skype to text from your PC

If you're a fan of Skype, then we have some good news for you. Microsoft is working on a new Skype feature called SMS Connect, which will allow you to use Skype to send and receive text messages on your PC, provided you have an Android…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!