While being put on hold when trying to reach out to whatever institution is annoying, at least you get to listen to smooth music interrupted only by a voice imploring you to “please remain on the line as we value your call.” One could argue that the voice values your call less than the price of hiring a few more operators, but if not for these annoyances, we wouldn’t have the “Greatest Holdies” phone from Alex, AKA “Fuzzy-Wobble.”
This hold-phone doesn’t make actual calls, but instead uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect when someone approaches and rings in response. When the participant/victim picks up the handset, he or she is welcomed to the “Greatest Holdies” audio interface, where the “best” song can be selected via the keypad interface.
Song playback is accomplished via the Music Maker Shield and an Arduino Mega, using the handset’s speaker, along with a supplemental speaker embedded where the bell used to be. Cleverly, some of the phone’s original circuitry is still used, including the switch on the receiver that tells it when someone has picked up, and the original keypad which is used for song selection.
Arduino code and MP3 files are available in the project’s write-up, but the video below (and the next time you have to call XYZ) might be enough to satisfy any desire to make one yourself.