Smart mailbox could improve drone delivery, home security

Lydia Ray
Lydia Ray

A Columbus State University professor has invented a smart mailbox that could improve your home in two ways: help delivery drones find your home and help keep your home safer.

CSU associate professor of computer science Lydia Ray presented her prototype, called ADDSMART (Address Digitization and Smart Mailbox), at the annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics and Mobile Communication Conference last month in New York City. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conducts the conference.

ADDSMART is a self-locking mailbox that uses RFID (radio frequency identification).

“I have always been fascinated by the tremendous potential of sensors and RFID technology for creating different types of products that can provide a wide variety of services,” Ray said in CSU’s news release. “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to implement one of my ideas and have a dedicated student like Jonathan (Tew) whose hard work made this project successful.”

Tew earned a master’s degree this year from the TSYS School of Computer Science at CSU.

According to an article by Steve Karantzoulidis at SecuritySales.com, “The drone would use GPS to navigate to an address and then confirm the address is correct by checking the RFID tag on the mailbox.”

As for using ADDSMART to improve home security, the RFID reader would keep the smart mailbox locked until someone with an approved RFID tag was permitted to open it, Karantzoulidis wrote.

“Also, instead of a home surveillance system that’s constantly monitoring,” Karantzoulidis wrote, “video cameras could save energy by starting to record only when an unrecognized vehicle or person passes the mailbox.”

Click here for a video demonstration of ADDSMART.