Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles may have the cure for unwanted robocalls infecting mobile phones.
They created a mobile app so promising that the Federal Trade Commission awarded them $25,000 this week to further invest in the development of RoboKiller.
The FTC’s head of bureau consumer protection, Jessica Rich, says the app may also help report illegal robocallers to law enforcement.
“We hope the winners bring their dynamic solutions to the marketplace soon,” Rich said.
RoboKiller answers every call and “tricks” robots to start their prerecorded message.
Within seconds the voice goes through an algorithm to assess if it is human or robotic.
Real callers would hear the common sound of a phone ringing as the app goes to work and examines the call.
Calls determined to be from a robot would be blacklisted to a spam folder in the app, letting mobile phone users browse rejected calls like junk email.
The tool may solve the puzzle of how to stop robocalls without blocking calls from spammers spoofing legitimate phone numbers.
Garr says he’s yet to get a robocall since installing the technology on his own phone.
Fifteen robocalls have gone to his spam folder in nine days.
“Our accuracy in detecting humans versus robots is 98 percent,” Garr said.
The app is in beta testing.
More information is on RoboKiller’s Kickstarter page.