CircuitMess' Chatter Is a Build-It-Yourself Arduino-Compatible Encrypted LoRa Messaging Gadget

These Arduino-compatible handheld kits transmit chat messages and GIFs over long ranges, encrypted for privacy.

Croatian educational electronics firm CircuitMess has launched a do-it-yourself kit to build a private wireless communicator, capable of sending and receiving encrypted messages over a LoRa connection: Chatter.

"Chatter is a free, private, security-first texting device," explains CircuitMess founder Albert Gajšak of his latest creation. "The main purpose of Chatter is education and showing people that you can communicate free and remotely without big corporations and the internet. Unlike your regular phone, this device does not need a cellular network or a SIM card to work because it creates its own wireless network and communicates with other Chatter devices you’ve paired it with."

CircuitMess is looking to get people learning with Chatter, an encrypted LoRa messaging platform. (📹: CircuitMess)

The Chatter devices, which look like shrunken phones, are built around an Ai-Thinker Ra-01 LoRa transceiver with a dual-core ESP32 module running a custom firmware. A graphical user interface is presented on a 128×160 color TFT display with physical buttons for input, and the whole thing is powered by AAA batteries.

Shipped in pairs as soldering kits, the Chatter devices are designed to pair in a private network and send encrypted messages — either text in two-way chats or images selected from a pre-loaded but customisable load-out. No estimate for the range at which two Chatter devices will still communicate is given, but third-party testing of the same module hit 2.3km (around 1.4 miles) without difficulty.

The release of the Chatters, which are in-stock and immediately available, comes as Gajšak continues work on the CircuitMess Batmobile, an officially-licensed "AI-powered smart robot car" which funded on Kickstarter last year.

The CircuitMess Chatter kit is available on the company's Tindie store now, priced at $114.99 for the parts to build a pair of Chatters — "because texting yourself is not as fun as you think," Gajšak jokes — plus a printed instruction booklet.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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