An XBMC controller built for Grandma

10-finished-controller

Is your grandmother cool enough to use XBMC? Maybe it’s a testament to the functionality of the wildly popular home entertainment suite rather than the hipness of your elders. But indeed, [Brian's] grandmother is an XBMC user who needed a controller with larger buttons to accommodate her. This is what he built. He sent us a set of photos and a description of the build, both of which you can see below. He was inspired to get in touch after reading about the custom controller which [Caleb] has been working on for [Thomas].

[Brian] didn’t get bogged down with electronics. He went with the simple, cheap, and popular solution of gutting a wireless keyboard. After tracing out the keys he needed he got rid of everything except the PCB. A wiring harness was crafted by soldering jumper wires to the PCB traces and terminating them with crimping slide connectors. The arcade buttons he used have terminals for the connectors which will make it simple to mate the electronics with the mechanics.

The enclosure is a little wooden hobby box. It originally had a lid with a mirror. [Brian] broke open the lid’s frame to replace it with a thin piece of plywood which hosts the buttons. Inside you’ll find a battery power source. These keyboards last a long time on one set of batteries so he just needs to remember to preemptively replace them from time to time. The finishing touch was to add decals so that granny can figure out what each button does.

Comments

  1. Annoymous says:

    Awe How Sweet!

  2. Hirudinea says:

    Hope Granny bakes him a pie, could I suggest a Raspberry Pi(e)?

  3. Rob says:

    This is fantastic… one of those projects that sets your mind to reeling with the possibilities… way to go [Brian].

  4. Phil says:

    I could do with one of these for the kids room :)

  5. Sasha says:

    Heh, my grandma is surprisingly more technologically advanced. I bought her a Android tablet for christmas, and after showing her a few basic concepts about how to download apps, how to open them and how to navigate between them, she picked things up pretty quickly. Last I heard from her, she was using a HDMI cable to plug in her tablet and stream TV channels over WiFi, as well as download movies and Skype with us over the TV… and she figured out most of it by herself!

    My mom on the other hand, is a bit more tricky. The only, and I mean ONLY thing she uses her tablet for, is to open a schedule online. Despite bookmarking it on her homescreen, and showing her multiple times how to turn on her tablet and access it, she still asks for my help.

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