Two things have recently come into my life lately: the most recent is Tasker, and the slightly less recent addition is my daughter, who is a significantly harder beast to tackle. This is about using Tasker to help signal for assistance with my baby, but can be easily modified to suit your needs.

Maggie in a Britax Cowmooflauge car setThe problem

One of the challenges my wife and I face with most daycare days is that my wife picks up the baby and gets home at an indeterminate time sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. based on traffic, work, stops, etc. During the times when she’s driving, accessing her phone to call me involves taking her eyes off of the Nashville traffic for a second, which tends to attempt to kill you at every chance it has; therefore, my window of knowing when she’s back is roughly 40 minutes, even with her calling before leaving work.

When I finally know she’s back, I’ll go out and help unload baby, baby accessories, groceries, barbells and weights, assault rifles, etc. Unfortunately I won’t know she’s back until she’s parked and walked in with load one, or called me from where her car is parked. Sadly, considering my incredible cell phone carrier during peak hours, this means she may get voicemail before my phone even bothers to ring.

I should point out for those who do not have babies, that getting one out of the car can be a chore and is best accomplished as quickly as possible if you don’t want to deal with an angry infant.

The solution

This is still somewhat of a work in progress at the moment, but this is what I’ve come up with so far using Tasker that requires no interaction whatsoever from a driver of a possibly screaming 6-month-old.

Create an SMS notification action

SMS notification setup for TaskerThrough tasks, add a Send SMS task with your phone number and a message such as “Baby incoming, get to the choppa!”

You can use any number of actions, but since text messages don’t seem to be affected by my carrier’s rush-hour woes, and sending an email can be problematic, this seemed to be the easiest method.

Additionally, with my setup using Google Voice, I receive the notification as a ding on my computer and any Android devices I have near me. That style notification can be heard where ever I am at in the house.

Create your profile

Create a state profile for Cell Near. While we could use GPS, that would drain the battery pretty quickly and the assumption I’m going under is that you can figure out when the person will be back based on when the phone hits your closest tower.

If you absolutely need to know when they’re 55 feet from the house, you can add in another profile to turn GPS or net location on if your Cell Near profile is active. When you’re adding Cell Near, scan for nearby towers, and walk around a bit. Perhaps simulate the drive in if you really have to make it work right the first time.

Tasker Profile screen for auto assistance requestI additionally added a time and day range when I was interested in receiving notifications, as I do not need to know when I’m in the car with the wife and child that we’re nearing home.

Plans for improvement

I believe my next modifications on this will include a task to turn on WiFi when in range, and then a WiFi Near profile that will send a second notification when the phone picks up that it’s near my access point. That way I’ll know at that point the baby load is pulling into the driveway.

Variations

You could use a slight variation on this to automatically monitor time at work sites, check when the kids leave school grounds, alert you when your child is at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, has gone out of approved ranges, etc.

Wrap up

In the case of this particular project, I get notification the instant the device crests a hill about one mile away and switches to my local tower.

There’s plenty of room for improvement and modification, which I’m sure there will be as time goes on, but for my first attempt at Tasker, this project seemed to be my best starting point.