We’ve seen a lot of projects that let you control all of your devices from a smartphone. But this universal web-based remote control system looks like the most versatile we’ve seen yet. The project is called Webmote as the controls are served up as a web interface so that you’re not limited to say an Android device. The UI can be customized by choosing what buttons you will use and where to place them on the display. You can get a good feel for this by viewing this G+ album. Setup is made a bit easier thanks to an add-on system that has predefined layouts for common things like controlling XBMC.
The hardware seen above is the business end of Webmote. It’s an Arduino with an IR receiver, IR LED, and an XBee module. For your common home entertainment devices you can teach the system your codes using the IR receiver. The IR LED is used to transmit those codes back, and the Xbee gives you the ability to control X10 (home automation) devices. Right now the setup requires the hardware be connected to a server via USB, but it shouldn’t be hard to set up some type of wireless alternative.
[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.
Continue reading “Flexible Web Interface Makes The Universal Remote Nearly Perfect”
If you have a reasonable home theater setup in your living room, odds are you have up to half a dozen remotes sitting around. Short of trying to get your cable receiver’s remote to control everything or laying down some cash for a Harmony remote, what’s a hacker to do?
[Andrey] decided he wanted to use his iPhone as a universal IR remote, but he didn’t want to pay very much to do so. Instead of buying a dongle at the store, he soldered some IR LEDs to an old headphone plug, creating a mini IR dongle to control his equipment. After studying IR signaling a bit, he got to work encoding IR remote commands into wav files using Python. The files are then played on his iPhone, allowing him to submit certain commands to his TV set.
Unfortunately, the process of manually converting IR codes to audio files doesn’t quite seem like the most efficient way of doing things. There are other IR dongles currently on the market that utilize the headphone jack, most of which provide pretty robust software for free. These might make a good alternative to manually creating audio files for each IR command. We honestly haven’t seen any teardowns of these retail IR dongles posted online, but it would be interesting to see how they compare to what [Andrey] has put together.
[Computergeek] made an Arduino Shield in order to use it as an Apple remote. We like the construction technique that he used; taking perf-board and soldering the circuit and using stripped wire to interface with the pin sockets on the Arduino. He’s written the code needed to function as an Apple Remote but this shield has a lot more potential. This is an excellent opportunity to delve into the different IR protocols out there and create a universal remote for all of your random devices. We’d also want to give it a try as a TV-B-Gone.
The parts are easy to find or salvage without putting in an order. We’re not certain about his design, he should probably have invited a resistor to the party the two IR LEDs are having.
When several students from the University of Toronto became tired of having multiple remotes lying around, they decided to do something about it. Their solution to this problem came in the form of UIRemote, a universal remote application for the iPhone. The application allows the iPhone to control anything that is normally controlled by an infrared remote, thanks to the use of a custom infrared adapter that plugs into the phone’s headphone port. It’s a technique similar to our iPod remote control from 2004. While the UIRemote application and adapter are still in beta, the students expect to release both things simultaneously sometime within the next two months.