Remote phone control using Bluetooth and a video stream

remote_bluetooth_phone_control

Hack-a-Day reader [Bobbie] sent us a hack that is an adaptation of the automatic cell phone button pushing machine we featured earlier this week. Inspired by that project, he challenged himself to construct a more efficient way to tackle the problem.

He started out in much the same fashion, pointing a camera at the phone in order to view the display remotely. The main thing he focused on to make his project unique was they way in which the buttons on the phone were activated. He was impressed by the mechanical button pressing rig, but thought it to be overly complicated. Instead, he decided to send button presses over Bluetooth to his phone which happened to be AT+CKPD compatible (PDF).

Not only that, his interface is quite impressive too. Originally planning to use the keyboard to send input to the phone, he changed course and programmed his video stream GUI to register mouse clicks instead. Now, when he clicks one of the phone’s buttons in the video display, the appropriate button press is sent to the phone – Awesome!

Keep reading to see a video of his remote phone interface, you’ll be glad you did.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I can do the exact same thing with my palm centro with pdareach with a quarter of the effort.

  2. Christian McNamara says:

    That’s awesome! I’ve never been able to do much with video, myself.

  3. MS3FGX says:

    Well, that’s a considerably less insane way to handle the issue. Though I guess the argument could be made that not all phones support key control over Bluetooth.

  4. CRJEEA says:

    There is a program you can obtain from getjar.com that does a simalar thing to this exept you don’t get the live steam of the screen. Although the fact that it runs as an app on your phone means it is great for the odd joke (:
    Giving you access to the IMEI, accelerometer data plus letting you control things like how many signal bars are displayed. Even copying all contacts and messages to your phone. It’s filed under something like “Super Bluetooth Hack” or simalar. The only drawback seems to be the device being hacked needs to be paired the the hackers phone. But it is free. So for a script kiddy it would be a laugh. I’d love to see someone reverse engineer it to make it abit more useful (:

  5. o says:

    All phones should have debug ports. It would save us from doing horrible things to the keyboard and screen just to automate a simple process.

  6. Jake H says:

    I still don’t understand what this guy’s job is that requires this. The previous post said “mobile game monitoring service”, but what does that mean??

  7. tbase says:

    And now a scene from the next Law and Order:

    “I swear I was at home when that bank was robbed. As a matter of fact, I remember making a phone call on my cell phone. Can’t you guys pull my records from the phone company and see what tower I was accessing?”

  8. Stevie says:

    Very cool!

    I installed a VNC server on my (jailbroken) iPhone so that I could view and control it remotely. I guess that’s just about the easiest method!

    Some phones can produce a screenshot with a regular AT command. (Some previous research: http://forum.allsiemens.com/viewtopic.php?t=20302)

  9. Owen says:

    The easiest way to do this would be to use a phone that supports the AT+CKPD command – This is used to emulate pretty much any keypress over the terminal.

    I bought an old Sony Ericsson T630 off eBay to use in a remote control project. You can access the phone over a simple serial connection and then control it using the basic AT commands to do things like take pictures with the camera and send them to another phone via an MMS.

  10. Owen says:

    Oops sorry, he did use the AT command set. I really should concentrate more before replying.

  11. itisravi says:

    Nice project :)
    Another simple solution if you’re not really concerned with ‘seeing’ the phone is to use the opensource [GW]ammu software (http://wammu.eu/gammu/).

    An opposite project (using the phone to control the PC) is anyRemote (http://anyremote.sourceforge.net/index.html)

  12. hyrxx says:

    to the person who wrote about the iphone with vnc: i have thought of this method also which is very simple and can control every function, but my understanding from the previous one where the guy made a machine to push the buttons was so he could make calls from the phone while overseas to avoid high roaming costs, therefore i propose you could acomplish this with 1 iphone and 1 ipod touch, or 2 iphones, one with vnc and one with skype, and optionally vnc, you also need to workout how to connect to it from the internet, ive heard you can make an ssh tunnel which returns the ip and connects or something like that i cant really remember, but the important part is that the call audio inputs and outputs need to be relayed back also,
    although i dont understand why the guy who built the cellphone machine doesnt just buy skype credit and use skype to call phones, i do this now as my ipad has an unlimited internet plan and i just tether it to my iphone and make calls to other cellphones using skype and skype credit, i can call landlines around the world for like 3c a minute, its just like a regular phone but cheaper, which was the original goal of the project

  13. Sigg3 says:

    Talk about poor product placement… (Ikea battery packs?)

    Interesting hack though. I’m sort of amazed by the ingenuity, but baffled as to what sort of use that would require this solution, above one using a serial connection..?

  14. Stevie says:

    @hyrxx I’m pretty sure any sane person would just use Skype (or another voip provider).

    My understanding was that he needed to monitor mobile games (exactly what he was monitoring I’m not sure). I didn’t see anything about him trying to route calls through it.

    Maybe you’re confusing your imagination with real memories :p

  15. john says:

    For f sake. They make handheld windows pc’s that come with sim slots. (viliv for one)
    This is a problem looking for a solution albeit a a cleaner solution than that ladder idiocy.

  16. Shorin says:

    Hm… this is a neat implementation. I would think bluetooth support for remote keypresses would be sparse, and that probably doesn’t support phones with full keyboards. Also having to use a real video camera? … a bit awkward to setup i’d think.

    I still wonder what he uses this for exactly.

    For myself I still use a Palm Centro, and I’ve used PDAReach which requires a USB connection (last i checked), and TapSmart HandShare, which does a connection over bluetooth. Haven’t brought myself to buy either one because Palm OS is deprecated and I don’t know how much longer I’ll use it. I haven’t seen any free remote-control apps for Palm OS yet.

    A great remote control for from phone to computer is Pebbles. It includes the app Shortcutter. It’s a university project for PalmOS. You can design custom interfaces on the screen and then assign them to keys and various things. Also if you have a full keyboard on your Palm OS (like the Centro) the keyboard on the phone can be used for the computer. You can also add a mouse pad on the screen so that you can control the mouse. I use this program to add extra buttons when working in photoshop with a tablet. I just hold the phone in one hand and the pen in the other. Since you can do all keypresses and you can have multiple “interfaces” (and switching buttons) I set myself up with a screen of the basic photoshop tools and a button to switch to a dial-pad-like opacity pallet. Its great. I’ll also use it to control the media player on the computer. Love it.
    Other than that there’s PalmVNC.

  17. Shorin says:

    EDIT: Palm OS is not deprecated, there’s just doesn’t seem to be any future devices for it at this point. There was one more after the Centro by some other company, but that was more of a work pda. It had the wifi though.
    Palm OS itself still provides many apps and tools other OSes right now don’t. Like shortcutter. AFAIK.

  18. Shorin says:

    EDIT: *wifis.(:P)

  19. laxminarayan says:

    Why do people got through all that?
    There are open source softwares like gnokii , wammu etc. that control your phone and even retrieve info .. what about building a webapp around them? Then just install some open source or free VOIP and connect the phone over audio channels too.

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