Flexible web interface makes the universal remote nearly perfect

[Fall Deaf] built an Arduino based universal remote control system. It uses a shield which has both an IR receiver and transmitter. This gives it the tools to learn codes from your existing remotes and play them back in order to control the devices. This functionality is really nothing new, but we think the user interface he developed for the system is absolutely fantastic!

Software is web-based. You can simply point a remote at the Arduino and push a button. The receiver will store the code which can later be assigned to a virtual button. The image above shows the channel-up option being created; it will be added to the list once confirmed. From there any web enabled device – smart phone, tablet, netbook, etc – can be used as the remote for the system. The only feature we think is missing is the ability to alter the layout of the buttons, with larger areas for the most frequently used commands.

After the break you can see a demonstration of this system, as well as the one extra feature we haven’t touched on yet. [Fall Deaf] included a Piezo element in the hardware design which lets him knock on his coffee table to use the remote if a smart-device isn’t close at hand.

Comments

  1. Ed H says:

    The user interface makes me wonder if it would be adaptible to be used as an interface for home automation systems too.

  2. tomas316 says:

    I’ve had several remotes that had a screen/touchpad interface and i have never liked them. with a remote with rubber buttons you can control them without having to look at the remote. That’s a big advantage IMO.
    Cool project none the less.

    • falldeaf says:

      This is a fair point. I think the flexibility of a screen outweighs the the non-tactile feel, but it’s definitely a draw-back. However, with the same hardware that I created you could essentially create the reverse situation. Where, one remote not only controlled all your IR receiving appliances, but also interfaced to your computer through the network.

  3. ferdinand says:

    it look to me as a diy logitch harmony one

  4. CLC says:

    I would like to see a universal that can send a chain of commands to multiple devices. Say. for instance my 82 year-old mom wants to go from Oprah to playing movie in the DVD. Wouldn’t it be nice if she only had to rember one button only instead of five button pushes on two remotes?
    I’ve tried making this myself but I’m just not smart enough.

    • falldeaf says:

      This is definitely possible and would be a fairly easy feature to add.

    • ehrichweiss says:

      I’ve got several old universal remotes that offer macros that will do what you’re describing.

    • ScottInNH says:

      Nice idea. This would be BETTER than a Harmony etc universal remote.

      Old people are NOTORIOUS for putting down the remote while it is mid-way through a macro… so inputs change on the stereo but not the TV, or some device doesn’t shut off.

      Macros take too long to run in a remote, so something like this could take “shorthand” codes from any remote, and it won’t matter if the user drops the remote prematurely.

  5. Tod says:

    I think you did an amazing job on this. I’m feeling inspired for a new XVee project.

  6. goathens says:

    I’m looking into building something similar but with a slight tweak in features.
    – not web connected (manual configuration and use a tiny apple clicker remote).
    – USB HID support (pretending to be a keyboard for my pc). This allows me to send ‘space’ key to pause videos since my PC is my primary entertainment device. I’m not using any special software as a media center, so keyboard is universal enough.

    Thanks for the resources falldeaf. I think I’ll implement mine using a leonardo clone (for the HID support).

    Question about the sparkfun IR boards: was it worth the convenience having the breadboard-compatible kits or should I go with recreating the functions myself with through-hole components?

  7. CountJAC says:

    awesome!
    All we need to add here is:
    RF transceiver
    Microphone
    FFT

    And then we could control all our devices by whistle!

    Or, hack SRINI’s voice recognition and map it to a command sent wifi….

    Ok, OK – i am a dreamer :)

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