Tag Archives: Smart Mailbox

Gate is a smart mailbox for the Internet of Things

Gate is a perfect solution for those weary of postal theft and with mobility issues who’d like to minimize trips to the mailbox.

In today’s age of constant connectivity, a physical mailbox may seem like nothing but a relic of the past. However, postal theft remains a big problem that wreaks havoc on countless people every day. In an effort to diminish these occurrences, Gate is a digital system that easily fits within any standard U.S. mailbox and notifies a user when someone is going through their letters.


Aside from being geared towards the prevention of crime, Maker Jim Kolchin and his colleagues at ZiK, Co have designed their “first true smart mailbox” for the elderly or mobility impaired to minimize unnecessary trips to the curb, as well as for those who just want to know when their snail mail arrives.

Essentially a modern-day take on the old-school switch-and-doorbell mailbox, Gate is comprised of two main components: an Atmel based home unit that acts as a secure control center and communicates with a user’s smartphone via Wi-Fi, and a motion sensor-laden unit that mounts to the mailbox and detects when its flap is opened. This pair of devices can be connected within an area of 500 feet by means of a 915MHz transceiver, along with an optional solar panel for improved battery life and an antenna for range extension. The home unit can be configured to use Z-Wave home automation networks, too.


Gate works exactly as how you would expect: When the box is opened at a suspicious time, the home unit sends an alert by way of text, email or even a tweet. It can also relay notifications to an Apple Watch or Nest thermostat. What’s more, the home unit syncs to a variety of home automation and security systems, including ADT Pulse, AT&T, Digital Life and Nexia Home Intelligence, making it a suitable product for the ever-evolving Internet of Things.


Additionally, Gate can create a distributed network with other Gate mailboxes in the area — with the permission of its users, of course. Using Wi-Fi and a 128-bit encrypted secure IoT server connection to share data, owners will be provided with a better ETA for their postal worker. Worried about false alarms? No need to fret, as this solution comes with a time-delayed override button to keep those from happening.

“As more people participate in the network, it gets stronger and more effective. It can even analyze mailbox data from around the neighborhood and share alerts about potential mail theft. It all happens automatically, so that you can get your mail without having to worry,” Kolchin explains.


For its crowdfunding debut, the team has unveiled Gate in three color variations: bone white with blue LEDs, obsidian black with red LEDs and a traditional aluminum band with blue LEDs. Sound like something you’d like to attach to your mailbox? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $10,000. Delivery is slated for December 2015.