Control your PC with a remote

Because his computer is gradually turning into an all-inclusive media display device, [Shawn] figured a remote to control the volume and a video playlist would be a reasonable addition. TV remotes for computers have been around for years, but [Shawn] decided to go the DIY route and build his own computer remote.

For the build, [Shawn] used a Teensy dev board with an IR receiver module and the requisite infrared remote library. To translate infrared signals to keyboard commands,[Shawn] decided to base his project off a previous build that used a small program called AutoHotKey.

Right now the build can cycle through a pre-defined YouTube and Shoutcast playlist and change the volume of the currently playing track. There’s also support for moving the mouse with directional buttons on the remote, but we’re wondering if a better implementation would be using the Windows multimedia keyboard scan codes that should be supported by [Shawn]‘s laptop.

Still, [Shawn] managed a very nice build that would fit into our computer battlestations quite nicely. Check out the demo of the remote in action after the break.

Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Word of advice re AutoHotKey: If your hotkeys often stop working when the system is heavily loaded, and keep not working until their scripts are reloaded, and you’re running AHK on something newer than XP, you probably need to extend the low-level hook timeout (google it for theory & practice).

    I use AHK to, among other things, remap Caps Lock to Control — the recurring hotkey failure drove me up a wall until I finally found out how to solve it. HTH!

  2. Aaron says:

    Also, any reason this couldn’t be done with a USB IR receiver dongle? Neat hack, I guess, but it contains one microcontroller more than it appears to need.

  3. Dugitalmaddog says:

    Cool hack nice to see someone going into all the info and decoding the or stuff

    For us that don’t want to dig deep I’ve been using an old iPod touch and an app to do the same thing

    Good job on the hack!! Keep it up

  4. mewse says:

    for this usage i would buy an irtoy, receive the remote codes with WinLIRC, and convert them to keyboard actions using EventGhost.

    building the ir receiver is probably more fun but less expedient.

    i have this software setup working great with my ghetto htpc and an ancient serial ir receiver

  5. NFN_NLN says:

    Don’t invest in IR technology, it is outdated. Grab a PS3 remote on sale ~$16 and a bluetooth dongle ~$5.

    One day it kids will laugh when their parents instinctively point a remote at the TV to change channels.

  6. bogdan says:

    wireless mouse. way less limited…

  7. Erik says:

    I’ve been using the FLIRC (www.flirc.tv) device to control my XBMC box for a while now. The benefit is that it will learn any button on any remote, so you can use existing remotes to do cool stuff. Programming is done either with a cross-platform GUI or with a CLI. I just SSH into my XBMC box and run commands like:

    $ flirc record space

    Then press a button on the remote. Plus, it stores all the config inside the dongle, so you can use it with multiple computers.

    Nope, I don’t sell them or profit in any way. Just a cool device!

  8. lollotek says:

    lol! yesterday I have made a similar think for VLC using an android action figure as box!

  9. Shawn says:

    This is the second part of a bigger project I’m working on. I just thought this would be a good addition.

  10. fartface says:

    This is a hack? Most everyone has been doing this for well over 10 years now.

    In fact I had a brand new windows 98 PC that I did this with. And most laptops that had IRDA you could use that way.

  11. Reblogged this on Murli's Blog and commented:
    Super cool..My next project! :P Will have to Find an AHK equivalent for My ubuntu System !

  12. jsngrimm says:

    Nice hack for IR over USB. If your computer is old enough, you can build a serial receiver and use with LIRC or WinLIRC http://lnx.manoweb.com/lirc/

  13. Manindra says:

    Pretty cool!
    I’d done something similar a year back, though hadn’t add these many features: here

  14. Gad says:

    Nice! I like the small arduinos.

    That said, for the wanted functionality here I’d go for retail devices for pure price reasons.

    This remote @ 9$ is compact and has built in mouse functionality It has just enough buttons to do complex things. I’ve programmed a few buttons to toggle different modes for the rest of the buttons.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/wireless-multimedia-infrared-ir-remote-controller-with-usb-receiver-for-pc-1-cr2025-44186

  15. Venkatesh says:

    I did something similar to control VLC using python script. VLC has a built in Http remote control interface that can be used to control most standard aspects of VLC – Play, pause, stop, volume up and down etc. Used the same IR library to output hex codes to a serial interface and then used a python script to monitor the serial data and use urllib libraries to control media play.

  16. Thomas says:

    I use Evenghost.
    It has python support
    Also has a quite a few plugins for media players.

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