Yayagram: A 20th century phone switchboard for Telegram instant messages

While some older family members are tech pros, others may find it difficult to use some modern technology. If you want to talk to your grandmother on messaging app Telegram, you need to get her a smartphone. She'll need to learn how to use iOS or Android. How to manage notifications. How to type on a touchscreen keyboard. You could teach her all of that -- or you could just build her a 1900s telephone switchboard that does nothing but send and receive Telegram messages.

That's what Twitter user and inventive grandson @mrcatacroquer did for his yaya (which means "granny" in Castilian), creating a charmingly tactile device he calls the Yayagram. The Telegram-connected switchboard is wonderfully simple to use. All Yaya needs to do is link an analog jack connector between her name and the person she wants to message. Then she speaks into a microphone, and the audio is sent as a Telegram message. When Yaya gets a reply, it's printed out on a sheet of thermal paper.

The entire project runs on a Raspberrypi 4 computer and a Python script for sending and receiving messages. Mrcatacroquer says hearing problems make it hard for his yaya to use a phone, so he built the Yayagram to make it easier for her to talk with family during the pandemic.

For now, the Yayagram is just something fun Mrcatacroquer made for his own family, but he plans to make an Instructables guide to help others build their own.