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We have all been there, picking up the phone after a long day of work, only to find that some swindler or politically-oriented campaign has decided to interrupt your evening with an attempt to get your time, money, or vote. It is the quintessential definition of annoying.

Like 220 million other Americans, you join the Do Not Call registry, but the slimy characters still seem to slip through. Their ability to circumvent the established safeguards can bring on stages of ire that can only be assuaged through anger management.

Not to fear, though. There are around 800 submissions that have been entered by entrepreneurs in the FTC Robocall Challenge being hosted by the Federal Trade Commission. Its sole purpose: identifying a viable solution for stopping these calls. The premise of the challenge is simple, create a system that uses some form of functional technology to stop robocalls before they can get to you on either landline or mobile phones. The winning solution receives $50,000 and promotional help from the FTC to market and sell their product.

The solution that looks to be drawing a bit of attention is an entry by Alex Rodriguez (not that one) called “Banana Phone“, who’s invention utilizes a device using the Raspberry Pi platform to require the caller to input a 4 digit code, essentially a phone equivalent of Captcha, or other challenge-response technology. We’ll soon see if his invention gets selected as the top entry when the challenge judges announce their decision on April 15th, 2013. I just hope the winner picks up the phone.

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