Simple IR sensor simplifies laptop audio control


[Owen] has a fairly big project in the works, where he’ll need to use infrared light to send data wirelessly between two nodes. The only problem with his grand plan is that he has never built anything of the sort. As a learning exercise, he decided to try his hand at building a wireless control interface for his laptop, which he uses to play music while doing homework.

His laptop usually sits across the room from [Owen], where it is connected to a speaker and amplifier. He hates getting up repeatedly to change songs, so he figured he might as well build an IR receiver to control Winamp that responds to commands from his TV’s remote control. Using his Open Bench logic sniffer and an IR receiver from an old VCR, he deciphered his remote’s encoding system. He then programmed an ATtiny13 to decode messages received by the IR sensor, sending them to his laptop via USB.

He packaged things inside a tiny mint tin, which he hangs from a desk lamp while in use. Now he can easily perform just about any action in Winamp with a few button presses on his remote. [Owen] says that he’s incredibly happy with the results, and now that he has a firm grasp of IR signaling concepts, we can’t wait to see what he builds next.


  1. Sean says:


  2. aarku says:

    I really admire the creative and “can do” spirit behind this! Never underestimate the laziness of the human spirit… it can move mountains and make home made remote controls.

  3. Jason Kotzin says:

    I did something extremely similar, but only adaptive and turned this into a product.

    I did it all alone and a portion of all sales go to my oncologist at the USC Norris Cancer Research Center as a thank you for saving my life.

  4. Phill says:

    now what about simply modifying a regular media center remote to work with winamp and VLC? i need to know how to do that…..

  5. Joey says:

    Really awesome. I love alternative input peripherals like this.

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