The 1930′s Skype phone is a genuine, period Bakelite telephone that has been upgraded with an Arduino and a USB sound card. The arduino controls the telephone bell, duplicating the authentic English ring tone when a call is received, and sending a signal to Skype when the phone is taken off the hook.
A simple Python application interfaces the computer with the telephone, making an API link to Skype, and monitoring Google Mail for incoming messages. When an email, chat, or skype message is received, the phone bells ping to let you know that there is an incoming message. It is possible to extend the python code to use any of the popular APIs for voice/text messaging, but since we only use Skype and Gmail, we didn’t feel the need to go any further.