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Postifier brings snail mail into the digital age

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July 19, 2013

Postifier's concept is so simple, you'll kick yourself for not thinking of it. Attach it t...

Postifier's concept is so simple, you'll kick yourself for not thinking of it. Attach it to your mailbox, and receive a smartphone notification when you have snail mail. You just might save yourself a trip. (mailbox image: Shutterstock)

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Sometimes innovation pops up in the most unexpected places. Take snail mail, for example. Postal services around the world may have taken hit after hit from the digital age, but maybe reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. After all, how many people do you know who don't still use snail mail? Now one entrepreneur has developed a clever new gizmo that brings some – gasp – innovation to the world of snail mail.

Have you ever wasted time walking to your mailbox only to find that it's empty? While the semaphore arms found on some letter boxes in the US offer one tried and tested solution, isn't it about time someone made use of all the new-fangled technology around to do something more about it?

The Postifier attaches to the inner roof of your mailbox, via adhesive

Meet Postifier. It's a tiny device that sits inside your mailbox, and tells you whether it's worth the trip today. Pair Postifier with your smartphone (via Bluetooth Low Energy), and when you're within a range of around 100 ft, it will shoot your iPhone or Android phone a notification if you have mail.

The device lives on the inner roof of your postbox, attached with adhesive. It has a sensor that detects changes in infrared light when new mail arrives. When it detects mail, it activates the Bluetooth module and waits for the Postifier/smartphone reunion, at which point it will connect with your paired device and tell you the news. A passcode is required when setting up the phone pairing, so you won't be notified every time your neighbor receives a new magazine, bank statement, or sweepstakes letter.

Postifier will be compatible with both iOS and Android

Postifier creator Matt Luba told Gizmag the production version will cost around $25 and will use a button cell battery that should last for between six and nine months before it needs to be swapped out.

Postifier sounds like genius in theory, and it could very well be just as brilliant in practice. There are, however, one or two places where it could run into trouble. Theft could obviously be an issue, but the device's low cost and discreet location, coupled with the likelihood that it will mainly be used in lockable letterbox set-ups in apartment blocks takes some of the sting out of that concern. Also, the fact that the Postifier app needs to stay running in the background on your phone with Bluetooth switched will put extra pressure on the smartphone battery, but at least you trips to the letterbox in the rain won't be for nothing.

Postifier just launched on Indiegogo, with 24 days remaining to reach its goal of US$30,000 funding.

Luba runs us through how the Postifier works in the following video.

Product page: Postifier

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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7 Comments

This would be good for apartments and old people, I guess. But I live in the suburbs, and the mailbox is literally a couple of seconds away. I hope there's a limit to how far we'll go to save ourselves some work.

Roma Khudoleyev
20th July, 2013 @ 08:32 am PDT

Every time I had a remote mailbox it was more than a hundred feet away.

Slowburn
20th July, 2013 @ 09:19 pm PDT

Will version 2.0 have a 'spam filter'? Maybe a piezo ignited micro flame thrower to save you going to your letterbox at all for BS?

dodgy
22nd July, 2013 @ 03:20 am PDT

Couple of problems with this. One is that patents have existed for this concept since about 2005. Second is that the post office does not put one letter at a time in the mailbox; each recipient's mail is sorted and rubber banded at the USPS, then placed in the box as a group (watch how your carrier removes the rubber bands before placing in the box) so you'll only know what mail piece is on top, not if there's anything important or only junk mail beneath the top piece.

Ron Wiener
22nd July, 2013 @ 09:45 am PDT

Great, another energy saving device for the obese minority populace of North America. Fat 1 Energy expenditure 0

Mestengo
22nd July, 2013 @ 07:43 pm PDT

Ron Wiener - Thankyou for your comment. However I believe you are mistaken on what Postifier actually does. Postifier does not scan each envelope to inform what has arrived, rather it is a device to detect if "any" mail is inserted. Then once you become in pairing range of your phone, you will recieve a notification. I appreciate this device is not for everyone, however there are many situations where it will benefit.

i.e Where people live in rural areas or have long driveways, and the postbox is a long way from the house. This will save them the need of getting out of the car to check when it is empty, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Please take a look at www.postifier.com or our funding page http://igg.me/at/postifier/x/2116004 for further information.

Regards

Postifier
23rd July, 2013 @ 01:18 am PDT

Can't the NSA just email or text a copy of our scanned paper to us?

Harold Gorebinsky
2nd August, 2013 @ 11:55 pm PDT
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