Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Ultimate Universal Remote Control

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the ultimate-is-a-strong-claim dept.

Toys 277

TheMayor writes: "CNN.com has a story about how researchers at Maya Designs, Inc. and Carnegie-Mellon are trying to come up with a remote control that controls everything in your house. From the TV to the blender, these guys want to make an all-in-one piece to turn everything on and off. Now I wonder if I could remotely flush my toliet?"

cancel ×

277 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

huhuhuh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178833)

Bull, no remote works on everything. EVER! GAH!

Re:huhuhuh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178862)

Maybe IPV6 would help ;)

Re:huhuhuh (2, Funny)

stuuf (587464) | about 12 years ago | (#4178926)

Your remote would be able to control 340 trillion trillion devices?

Jini is funny stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179122)

Sorry, I don't know what I was thinking.

Maybe Jini would help? ;)

frost pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178834)

maybe?

Toilet Remote (2)

rmohr02 (208447) | about 12 years ago | (#4178835)

Now I wonder if I could remotely flush my toliet?
That'd be cool--wait for someone else to go to the bathroom and flush it while they're sitting down.

Re:Toilet Remote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178892)

two words....ally macbeal....

wow, that bitch ain't dead yet? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178914)

ally mcdisorder is one skinny twig. shit, i reckon she'll die of malnourishment by the end of the year. at least she's not a fat pig like cowboikneel...

-trolltime

Re:Toilet Remote (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178901)

you're a fucking idiot. please crawl back up into the AIDS infected womb from which you came from k thx

-trolltime

Re:Toilet Remote (2)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 12 years ago | (#4179012)

Back when we were silly freshman (at CMU), I hid a PC running Linux in the bathroom ceiling and had it play outrageously loud music while people were on the john. They had to decide whether to finish their business or get up and find out who was responsible for "Put It In Your Mouth." Clever little things, weren't we?

Re:Toilet Remote (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | about 12 years ago | (#4179055)

back when I was in high school, people used to leave during lunch or simply go out to the lot (they werent allowed, but did so anyway, usually to smoke or otherwise light-up). A bunch of us used to sit in the library watching our cars, and a few had panic buttons on their remotes for car alarms. We'd set them off when people would walk past our cars. It often freaked out whomever was walking past.

It'd be funnier (2)

NoWhere Man (68627) | about 12 years ago | (#4179075)

It'd be funnier if it was a beday...

So now I (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 12 years ago | (#4178838)

only have to lose 1 remote

X10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178847)

Doesn't WWW.X10.COM stuff do this already?

Re:X10? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178998)

Doesn't WWW.X10.COM stuff do this already?

It turns out that this so-called x10.com is very dangerous after all. X10.com will re-write your hard drive. Not only that, it will scramble any disks that are even close to your computer. It will recalibrate your refrigerator's coolness setting so all your ice cream goes melty. It will demagnetize the strips on all your credit cards, screw up the tracking on your television and use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CDs you try to play.

It will give your ex-girlfriend your new phone number. It will mix Kool-aid into your fishtank. It will drink all your beer and leave dirty socks on the coffee table when company comes over. It will put a dead kitten in the back pocket of your good suit pants and hide your car keys when you are late for work.

X10.com will make you fall in love with a penguin. It will give you nightmares about circus midgets. It will pour sugar in your gas tank and shave off both your eyebrows
while dating your girlfriend behind your back and billing the dinner and hotel room to your Discover card.

It will seduce your grandmother. It does not matter if she is dead, such is the power of x10.com, it reaches out beyond the grave to sully those things we hold most dear.

It moves your car randomly around parking lots so you can't find it. It will kick your dog. It will leave libidinous messages on your boss's voice mail in your voice! It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve.

X10.com will give you Dutch Elm disease. It will leave the toilet seat up. It will make a batch of Methamphetamine in your bathtub and then leave bacon cooking on the stove
while it goes out to chase gradeschoolers with your new snowblower. For the sake of your grandmother and the youth of the nation, X10.com must be AVOIDED at all costs!

Re:X10? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179031)

girl is naked, take a movie
girl is looking, picture cutie
you buy thing from pop up banner
you get wallet, purchase camera

we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads
we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads

window pop up on the screen
taking control of my machine
making all internet user insane
x10 profit goes down the drain

girl is naked, take a movie
girl is looking, picture cutie
you buy thing from pop up banner
you get wallet, purchase camera

we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads
we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads

the economy failing is x10 fault
popping up window is computer assault
window popup again and again
only solution is crush x10

we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads
we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads
we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads
we must destroy x10, we must destroy all internet ads

KOMPRESSOR!!


KOMPRESSOR KRUSH SLASHDOT

TROLLBURGER KRUSH SLASHDOT!

Yes, they probably can.... (1)

billmasd (605460) | about 12 years ago | (#4178849)

I remember an (older) neighbour asking me how to record on their new VCR. I looked at the remote and asked 'have you got the instructions?'. I guess when your remote is a P4 it's not a question of whether it can do everything, it's a question of whether you can make it do anything?

Re:Yes, they probably can.... (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 12 years ago | (#4178942)

I guess when your remote is a P4 it's not a question of whether it can do everything, it's a question of whether you can make it do anything?


You seen any of the latest user friendly OSs? I am sure you have. Anybody can use them, literally. The flat desktop metaphor is one of the best things to happen to computer interface design (as far as interfacing with the average person goes, for advanced users it can suck hard).

Want to record something? Well unless the MPAA gets to your desktop first, imagine a big red button on your desktop that just says record. Records whatever. Listening to some nice streaming MP3s? Record would just start writing them to your HD as they came in. Watching a TV show you like over your TV-In card? The AVI would be written to the HD in loseless HUFFYUV and then re compressed into high quality MPEG4 when your CPU is idle.

VCR and DVD player menus are hierarchical with multiple starting parent menus, very icky and requires the user to memorize which starting menu can even possibly /lead/ to where. Not nice.

hmm (1)

inwoo (463512) | about 12 years ago | (#4178850)

a remote that controls everything?... let it control my wife..

Re:hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178861)

damn you for coming up with my post before I could post it! EXPECT A LETTER FROM MY LAWYER!

slow (-1, Offtopic)

jchristopher (198929) | about 12 years ago | (#4178851)

Has anyone noticed how slow MacOS X is, even 10.2?

Re:slow (0, Offtopic)

geogeek6_7 (566395) | about 12 years ago | (#4178871)

No, but I noticed how MacOSX has nothing to do with this article.

has anyone else noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178872)

...how fast you'll burn up your karma posting OT Mac-bashing posts?

Take it to Epinions man!

Re:has anyone else noticed (1)

jchristopher (198929) | about 12 years ago | (#4178990)

It says: "Karma: Excellent (mostly affected by moderation done to your comments)".

Is that good?

Re:slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178968)

MacOS X is so slow that you need at least 3 remote controls or it will seem too damn slow.
Frankly, 4 or 5 remote controls is the recommended minimum for MacOS X.

MOD UP COMEDIC GENIUS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179119)

MOD UP COMEDIC GENIUS!

Radio Shack used to sell something like this (1)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 12 years ago | (#4178853)

It was called Plug-N-Power (I think, it was a long time ago). They even had software for the Deskmate GUI that their Tandy computers came with that could plug into this big "master remote" that could program things to turn on and off at certain times.

I'm not sure if RadioShack even still sells it, but it's not really a new idea.

Re:Radio Shack used to sell something like this (2)

cscx (541332) | about 12 years ago | (#4178909)

Wasn't Plug N Power just a brand name for generic X10 products? I believe they work over the same protocol, IIRC.

Re:Radio Shack used to sell something like this (1)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 12 years ago | (#4179025)

Yes.

Remote Controlled Toilet (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | about 12 years ago | (#4178854)

NASA better hurry up on that one...

Re:Remote Controlled Toilet (1)

dan the person (93490) | about 12 years ago | (#4178962)

The japanese have had remote controled toliets for years...

perfect day (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | about 12 years ago | (#4178856)

Just a perfect day
Drank Sangria in the park
And then later
when it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
feed animals in the zoo
Then later a movie, too, and then home

Oh, it's such a perfect day
I'm glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
it's such fun

Just a perfect day
you made me forget myself
I thought I was
someone else, someone good

Oh, it's such a perfect day
I'm glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You're going to reap just what you sow

Security Nightmare. (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | about 12 years ago | (#4178858)

Sounds like a security nightmare to me.

Also, how many average people are going to be able to program it? Most folks use 4 remotes when a programmable universal remote is already available for the devices they have.

-Zaphod

Re:Security Nightmare. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178974)

Security nightmare? Why? Every cheap cordless phone can be highjacked to make free phone calls. But it happens to no one. When you pay with your credit card on your cordless phone, anyone in your neighborhood can steal your number. Yet do you see a red warning on your credit card "do not read your number on a cordless phone"? And you're worried about some neighbor flushing your toilet remotely?

This is what Java was supposed to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178860)

This is what we originally intended to do with Java, back when it was called OAK. We ran it on a hand-held, battery powered Sun4 platform known as the Star-7 (*7) with a touchscreen and a color backlit display. Each device would send its UI control to be displayed on your remote and the language used to do that was a precursor of Java.

Re:This is what Java was supposed to be... (2)

cscx (541332) | about 12 years ago | (#4178941)

Knowing Java, if you wanted to watch Seinfeld at 7:30 on channel 6 you'd have to tap "0 6" on your remote at approximately 7:19.

what would happen (1)

inwoo (463512) | about 12 years ago | (#4178863)

if someone hacked into your wireless remote, and took control of your blender, toliet, faucets...then started your burners while water overflowed from your sink... and waiting for the right 9-1 mix ratio...then started the fireplace... ouch...

a remote for controlling everything in your house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178869)

maybe then malda can keep that bitch sarcasta in line. jesus christ, she's a whore...

-trolltime

Already been done. (2, Funny)

I Love this Company! (547598) | about 12 years ago | (#4178873)

Check out the finished product [allowe.com] . Who wouldn't like to get their hands on one of these?

How is this news? (2)

seanadams.com (463190) | about 12 years ago | (#4178876)

These guys made software for the iPaq that does the following:

"The prototype handheld has so far been used to control two lamps, a fan and a stereo with a five-CD changer. "

Worst slashdot story ever - and this is worthy of a CNN story???? Give me a break. Check out the mega-remotes from Philips and Marantz if you're looking for a product like this.

A better question: (2, Offtopic)

mbourgon (186257) | about 12 years ago | (#4178880)

(feel free to answer - easier than Ask Slashdot!)

I'm having a house built. I can't touch things until I move in, but then I can retrofit. Some of the things I see include the tile warmer (no cold feet), the mirror warmer (no fog), IR light switches (walk in and it turns on).

What else would y'all recommend? I'd rather have a smarter house than a smarter remote. Oh, and I don't want to give X-10 any of my money. The last thing I want to do is encourage their ads.

Re:A better question: (2)

InsaneGeek (175763) | about 12 years ago | (#4178904)

Get your house Lutron controlled, it uses rf instead of X-10 and is a lot more accurate. Heard a lot of people being woke up in the night due to a X10 light reading a power signal incorrectly. www.lutron.com

X10 (1)

bjschrock (557973) | about 12 years ago | (#4178916)

Oh, and I don't want to give X-10 any of my money. The last thing I want to do is encourage their ads.

I'll second that one...
And regarding your question: I have seen a few remote control fireplaces, I don't have one but I've seen a few and they seem pretty neat. I don't know if it was just the novelty, but it seems it would be convienent.

Re:A better question: (1, Offtopic)

cscx (541332) | about 12 years ago | (#4178932)

What else would y'all recommend?

A girlfriend to share the house perhaps? About 5'8", blonde, blu... uhh what was this message about again?

Re:A better question: (4, Informative)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 12 years ago | (#4178959)

If you're having it built, have low-voltage relays installed throughout the house. The whole procedure is extremely well-documented in the "Time-Life Home Handyman" series of books, more precisely the "Advanced Wiring [allbookstores.com] " book.

The idea is to have a 12 volts 2 coil latching-relay on each lighting circuit. Since they are latching relays (one coil to turn it on, and the other to turn it off), they can be controlled by as many momentary SPDT switches as needed; you can also have as many "master consoles" as you need which consist of two rotary dials, one to turn on and the other to turn off the light.

Some relays even offer a low-voltage "indicator" line, so the master console can have pilot lights to indicate which lights are on.

I am surprised that this system is not more widespread in fancy homes, as I remember going to a school more than 30 years ago that had it's lighting controlled by that system.

What's neat about it is that the big expensive high-votage wire (which has to be installed by a qualified electrician) only goes from the breaker panel to the light fixtures, instead of snaking through the walls to the light switches (and don't get me stated on the 3 or 4 way switches!!!). As the control is done through low-voltage, light switches can be extremely small and unobtrusive.

Of course, it goes without saying that interfacing those to a computer would be an outright breeze...

Re:A better question: (2)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 12 years ago | (#4179034)

Ooh, honey, turn on the romantic lights...

'clak' 'clak' 'clak.'

What was that?

The relays going into sexy mode.

Do me!

Not joking, though, the real limitation that I see is that there is no variable intensity. Most of the people who want fancy lighting systems want to have fancy scenes and modes. Also, the relay sound is annoying as heck.

Re:A better question: (2)

walt-sjc (145127) | about 12 years ago | (#4178960)

Use Lonworks [echelon.com] compatible hardware. It's an open standard. They have been around for over 10 years and the technology is being embedded into just about everything.

Re:A better question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179029)

The google keywords you probably want are 'home automation', 'residential control systems', and 'residential automation systems'.

You'll find very quickly that the complexity of these systems is limited solely by your budget. And if your wife gets on you about the money, I suggest noting how the automated window treatment, lighting, audio, and temperature control will work together to save money long-term, so you'd be foolish not to buy a top-of-the-line automation system.

Anyone remember the movie Orgazmo? (2)

cscx (541332) | about 12 years ago | (#4178881)

With Trey Parker and Matt Stone from South Park? Remember the scene where Orgazmo [imdb.com] and Choda Boy walked around town making all sorts of people (the old lady for instance) orgasm on command by remote control? See the connection? Um, never mind...

Could it flush slashdot down the toilet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178884)

Well, could it? It doesn't matter. Slashdot like the rest of open source is going down the toilet,

Use your Cell phone or PDA? (1)

bjschrock (557973) | about 12 years ago | (#4178889)

Great... now my cell phone/PDA can get stuck in the couch.

Slow posting proves it: Few geeks read slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178893)

It's Saturday night and the posts are trickling in slower than usual weeknights. REAL GEEKS STAY AT HOME ON SATURDAY NIGHT. Yes, they don't have girlfriends (or boyfriends... not that there's anything wrong with that) or any other social obligations that would require being absent from Slashdot on a Saturday night.

This just goes to show that Slashdot is no longer populated with as many geeks as it used to be and is further degenerating into a mainstream news comment BBS. Get ready for the next story: New boy band on MTV can actually play their instruments.

Re:Slow posting proves it: Few geeks read slashdot (1)

opti6600 (582782) | about 12 years ago | (#4178910)

Yeah, but REAL geeks stay at home and play Quake, so they're just as out of touch. Hehe, just finished a good round of Western Quake...good stuff! -Jordan

Re:Slow posting proves it: Few geeks read slashdot (1)

HimalayanRoadblock (601900) | about 12 years ago | (#4179067)

Slashdot hasn't been a haven for real geeks and nerds since like 1999 at least.

I notice it's running WinCE Pocket PC Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178896)

What happens when your remote crashes? Seriously, I won't use this till someone ports Linux to it! Then I'll throw all my other remotes away. But for now I can't stand wondering if my TV remote will BSOD.

Power failures (1)

stuuf (587464) | about 12 years ago | (#4178902)

Imagine if you programmed it to control the locks on your doors, and you locked your self out, when the batteries die!

Why not make current Universal Remotes work first? (2)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 12 years ago | (#4178906)

I have yet to see a universal remote that actualy:

A: Was universal

or

B: Did not take a universally large amount of time to setup.

I am a Nerd, I have an IQ of 156, I throw computer boxes together with reckless abandon, I have done tech support in my sleep, but the damn universal remote control still is not all that 'universal'. (and even those that are end up depreciated the second the latest wave of new devices come out. . . .)

Number pad

Play/Stop/FF/RW/Pause/Eject/Power

Volume up and Volume down

Channel up and Channel Down.

Everything else after that is rather extraneous. . . .

And quite frankly I should not need a 30 button remote for just my DVD player. This is why I only view DVDs on my computer, faaar easier, don't have to switch around audio and video inputs until hell freezes over, then select the proper audio decompression scheme, then select the proper surround sound scheme, and THEN sit down and 'enjoy' the movie, and then have the honor of switching all that shit BACK to watch regular TV.

No thank you. . . . I can pop a DVD in my computer's drive and it starts playing, and when it is done I take it out, close the program, and I am done. End.

Doing all of that in the first list above would require a 'universal remote' with more keys on it then my keyboard (all of the various device's special buttons and such) either that or a control scheme that changed its own layout for each device mode that was switched to (which would almost be even worse since memorizing key presses and locations would become a ton harder with a constantly shifting pad depending on which 'mode' it was in).

Quite frankly I think that I'll stick with just pairing the remotes up together with rubber bands. Harder to lose that way, and a ton less complicated.

Re:Why not make current Universal Remotes work fir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178950)

Since you have an high IQ, perhaps you can explain why you need an eject button on the remote? Is there a robot that runs around changes the tape/CD after you push the eject button on the remote?

Re:Why not make current Universal Remotes work fir (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 12 years ago | (#4179053)

Since you have an high IQ, perhaps you can explain why you need an eject button on the remote? Is there a robot that runs around changes the tape/CD after you push the eject button on the remote?

No, I have nieces and nephews for that, and quite frankly with a 3 disc DVD changer I don't feel like describing for them exactly which combination of buttons to press to get the desired disc out.

Re:Why not make current Universal Remotes work fir (4, Funny)

cscx (541332) | about 12 years ago | (#4178999)

I have an IQ of 156
[...]
This is why I only view DVDs on my computer, faaar easier, don't have to switch around audio and video inputs until hell freezes over, then select the proper audio decompression scheme, then select the proper surround sound scheme, and THEN sit down and 'enjoy' the movie, and then have the honor of switching all that shit BACK to watch regular TV.


Here is my question: Since you're so smart, why is it such a difficult task for you to use a console DVD player? I mean, it's not that hard really. 5 to 10 seconds tops, insert DVD, push play, that's it. I simply can't see how you would prefer sitting hunched over your computer to watch a DVD than using a TV.

Re:Why not make current Universal Remotes work fir (2)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 12 years ago | (#4179033)

Here is my question: Since you're so smart, why is it such a difficult task for you to use a console DVD player? I mean, it's not that hard really. 5 to 10 seconds tops, insert DVD, push play, that's it. I simply can't see how you would prefer sitting hunched over your computer to watch a DVD than using a TV.

Insert DVD;

pick up remote #1, set video input to CD (closest label to DVD that the remote has on it)

Pick up remote #2, set audio input to LaserDisc (closet thing remote has to DVD on it), set audio output format to 5.1 surround.

Still using remote #2 turn up volume on receiver, because even my DVD player at max still puts out barely a whisper at what makes the output from my cable box boom.

Pick up remote three, press play, goto settings, select audio out method (there are three of them, different DVDs apparently use different types, beats the crud outa me, rather irritating), turn of subtitles (apex .... ).

When DONE with video;

pick up remote #1, set video input back to VCR (since cable is routed through VCR and all, digital cable, yummies, RF connectors. . . . bleh), pick up remote #2, set sound mode back to faux 5.1 (copying front speakers to rear speakers), set audio input back to VCR, rush to turn down master volume because it is way to loud.

Now, please do compare this to:

Put DVD in drive;

Sit back and enjoy on my 36" computer monitor (E-bay rocks) with 4.1 speaker setup (ok ok it is not 5.1 but it works!).

oh man (2)

Khopesh (112447) | about 12 years ago | (#4178915)

what happens when you get hacked?
- the toilet flushes
- the blender is on 'liquify'
- the vcr is recording over your tape
- the garage door is open and security off
- the disposal is on
- the dishwasher is on
- the room lights strobe left to right

I already have one. (1, Troll)

garcia (6573) | about 12 years ago | (#4178918)

it's called my first finger.

Scheduled for release soon afterwords... (1)

ar1550 (544991) | about 12 years ago | (#4178925)

a remote device that will locate your Uber Universal Remote Control of Everything (TM) after your 6 year old loses it. And before you think of stealing my idea, the USPTO granted me a patent after I asked them for one "pretty please."

Re:Scheduled for release soon afterwords... (0)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 12 years ago | (#4179001)

Actually, the 6 year old *is* the Uber Universal Remote. Heck, mine's only 2, but she's still good for on/off and doors. I figure by 6 or 7, not only will beer fetching and dishes be done via remote control, and by 10 or 11 I should have her mowing the lawn, etc.

Re:Scheduled for release soon afterwords... (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 12 years ago | (#4179046)

Yah but by 13 the product undergoes a complete loss of functionality and starts listening to teeny-bop CDs way to loud and refuses to process any further commands for at least the next five years. And the reorder type for a replacement horribly long unless you plan the reordering ahead of time.

that's wrong. (5, Funny)

7-Vodka (195504) | about 12 years ago | (#4178927)

If you have to remotely flush your toilet, odds are you're doing something wrong.

Re:that's wrong. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178964)

If you have to remotely flush your toilet, odds are you're doing something wrong.

Or you're getting excellent distance.

The ideal geek remote control on a shoestring. (2, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 12 years ago | (#4178929)

There are four remotes in my living room: TV, VCR, cable box and DVD player. Most functions are handled by the cable box remote, which has some universal remote functions. However, there are still some device-specific functions that require each remote control to be present. For the technology-oriented individual, more buttons is clearly more of a status symbol than one. So what's the ideal solution?

**Turn all your remote controls into a huge remote keyboard!**

All you have to do is get a short piece of plywood or balsa wood and velcro the remotes to each, placed tightly together. The end product will be more than a remote control, it will be an audio/video command console!

Re:The ideal geek remote control on a shoestring. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179004)

Hmmm. Throw in some duct tape and that's and ideal project for the Red Green Show [redgreen.com] .

What are they doing? (2)

debrain (29228) | about 12 years ago | (#4178931)

Research?

Are they talking about universal remote controls? The Philips Pronto TSU2000 [remotecentral.com] and VAR derivatives, like the Yamaha RAV-2000 [remotecentral.com] and Marantz RC5000i [remotecentral.com] are not "in research" products - they are current universal remotes with a user defined interface. If you had a Microwave that accepted IR controls, these would work with it, and quite nicely so. If they are interested in bringing a universal remote to the market, they have a tough act to follow.

Or are they researching controlling everything in the normal house? Like using Bluetooth [bluetooth.com] wireless technology, or using JNDI [sun.com] as a naming and control mechanism? (Well, they used X-10, but that's besides the point) If that is their focus, I wish them luck in bringing the industry into a situation where they both care and cooperate with standards.

They seem to be doing everything with RF (not IR) wireless technology, but that is both uncommon and unsupported on current and legacy systems. I don't know how they plan on supporting, in a cost effective way, IR and wireless in a single remote, as well as all the wireless devices you would have to deploy around the house to justify the cost of the remote. Perhaps in a market of sufficient scale this would be viable.

get the kids? (1)

Lag Master (569259) | about 12 years ago | (#4178936)

""For the first time everybody in the house would be able to make something work instead of getting the kids," said Gregg Vanderheiden, head of the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin"
Get the kids to make something work eh? What do ppl do? Whip their kids to do everything for them?
*hears the crack of a whip*

Re:get the kids? (1)

Amata (554796) | about 12 years ago | (#4179086)

You mean you weren't the one teaching your parents how to program the new VCR when you were ten years old because they didn't know how to read the manual?

Just Like Proteus in Demon Seed (1)

Winnipenguin (603571) | about 12 years ago | (#4178944)

But who wants their hand blender mating with their toaster?

// Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it ... in the end.

flushing toilets might be useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4178948)

There have been times when, after the arrival of guests, I've thought, "oh shit, the toilet is in need of flushing!"

- "Hey, I need to use your bathroom."
- "Uh, sure..."

Hearing a flush before their usage was quite embarassing.

Imagine the buzzkill... (1)

dvd_tude (69482) | about 12 years ago | (#4178956)

... when these guys stumble across Misterhouse [misterhouse.net] .

Move along... nothing to see here.

- dvd_tude

The Ultimate Universal Remote Control (1)

joelil (605463) | about 12 years ago | (#4178965)

Here is something else. A Consumer electronic Manfacturer is working on bio-feedback controled Devices. One is a cd player that senses your mood and plays the music according to you mood. and a dvd player that senses if your getting bored with a program and then fast forwards to a more intresting part. the research is still going on you have to be wired to the device. but they are working on sensing without wires???? This could get scary.

Re:The Ultimate Universal Remote Control (2)

WetCat (558132) | about 12 years ago | (#4178972)

Easy to create: just combine mood ring, small digital camera+small lamp and universal remote control and some software logic - and volia! You have mood remote control!
Interesting to figure out what this thingie will do if you are watching TV and it's programming to switch TV from the programs you don't like! Advertisement avoider!

Re:The Ultimate Universal Remote Control (1)

joelil (605463) | about 12 years ago | (#4179078)

how about adding v-chip also?

heehee, i can imagine it now! (1)

Devil's BSD (562630) | about 12 years ago | (#4178976)

But just think of the possibilities!
Susie: Daddy, can i please have a super-duper barbie doll with extra clothes and a super-duper stuper edition closet? pleeeaaaase? plee--- [mute] ....
Boss: Joe, you are playing too much solitaire on the job. I'm afraid that--- [power] (boss goes brain-dead)
Teacher: In the year 1819, the Squagaholic Convention in Kuprologia happened to discover.... Wait, slow down! What happened in 1819? [rewind]
(gag) (gag) Watch out people, he's choking! [eject] Ahhh, much better!

Super-Remote Control Defined. (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 12 years ago | (#4178984)

The biggest pain in the ass with "universal" remotes is that you have to spend at least a whole afternoon programming the !@# thing. Very !@# convenient...

So, what if you had a setup where you could call the company, their support staff'd ask for your model numbers, and they'd program it remotely!

Oh, and can you imagine, on this remote control, a big, back-lit display so that you could see what !@# button to push to turn the !@#!@ thing down?

So, what you have is a device that:
1) Can communicate with the parent company,
2) Has alot of buttons,
3) A small CPU in it,
4) A large backlit screen.

Sounds an awful lot like a cell phone, eh?

No, really! Just put an I/R LED at the end of your cell phone, it'd make an EXCELLENT UNIVERSAL REMOTE.

Re:Super-Remote Control Defined. (4, Funny)

joshki (152061) | about 12 years ago | (#4179041)

:) Thats funny -- just last night my niece (18 months old) picked up my cell phone (nokia 6360 with IR port on the top) and pointed it at the TV... :) I got a good laugh out of it -- but it really is a good idea.

Re: an I/R LED at the end of your cell phone (2)

jc42 (318812) | about 12 years ago | (#4179087)

Uh, I've had a Kyocera smartphone for somewhat over a year now, and it has an IR LED on its end. This is because it's also a Palm Pilot, and they all have IR LEDs. Most of them can now be turned into phones, too; mine just came packaged that way.

So far I haven't seen any "remote control" software available for download. I guess they skipped over such important things, and spent their time on lesser ideas like wireless IP, a browser, email, and so on.

Maybe they'll turn into remote controls next year. When they do, I don't think I'll get the software, though.

PDA? (3, Insightful)

AndyAMPohl (573700) | about 12 years ago | (#4178994)

I like remotes that only need one hand to operate, and that you don't need to look at to see what you're pressing. I don't know. Might seem crazy.

hell with the ipaq (2)

Sabalon (1684) | about 12 years ago | (#4178996)

Yeah...would be nice to be able to control my house from the iPaq and wireless connection, but what I really want is to be able to be able to walk out of the bathroom, say "flush the toilet", walk into the living room say "play cd 5" (which would turn on the receiver, cd player and play that cd), say "oven on at 450" and "lights on".

Much better than walking around trying to punch little buttons on the iPaq. Of course I want all the voice recognition to work just fine with the cd player turned up to 11.

Re:hell with the ipaq (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179065)

Yeah...would be nice to be able to control my house from the iPaq and wireless connection, but what I really want is to be able to be able to walk out of the bathroom, say "flush the toilet", walk into the living room say "play cd 5" (which would turn on the receiver, cd player and play that cd), say "oven on at 450" and "lights on".

I don't know why this article made it to slashdot, this is not news... I already control my home with my pda (sharp zaurus) and have started work on voice activated commands.

Things are in the early stages, currently i'm refining the voice recognition engine while testing it with the lights in the house. Once everything runs smoothly I shall implement control over windows, lighting moods, sound (stero), alarm system (infra red and video based) throughout the home.

All-In-One Home Control (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4179005)

I've heard this for years now and every moron with an Ipaq thinks it can accomplish everything, why do these people keep making fools of themselves....

Oh yeah, dreams of using blender from another room (2)

Shivetya (243324) | about 12 years ago | (#4179007)

Why must they make such inane statements?

Secondly, there are many items that would never be in need of remote control as many have many manual operations to do before actually use them.

Areas that I find valid are.

1. Lighting
2. Heating/Cooling
3. Changing temperature of hot water heater
4. Garage doors.
5. Perhaps windows that open/close automatically?
6. Ovens for preheat.
7. Coffee makers, setup in advance, but we have timers for this.
8. Gas Fireplaces
9. Perhaps, being able to remotely shut off the gas in the house or water would be a safety benefit.
10. Alarm clocks, won't have to go back upstairs to turn it off, after all you got so used to the snooze button you forgot it actually has an off switch.
11. Turning off ringers on the phones.
12. Forcing the anwsering machine to pickup.
13. Remote start of television recording.
14. Music and/or Tv (background noise)

But not the majority of kitchen appliances :) - or vacumns, unless just to spook your pets.

The ultimate remote control (1)

woogieoogieboogie (598162) | about 12 years ago | (#4179016)

...has been invented thousands of years ago. It is called children.

One remote? (1)

AnotherShep (599837) | about 12 years ago | (#4179017)

That's a great idea... Now not only would one person control the TV, that same person would control the toilets, microwave, oven, etc. We all know how much remote controls get shared...

Interesting stuff (1)

outlier (64928) | about 12 years ago | (#4179019)

At a recent conference [acm.org] there was a paper discussing one interesting aspect of this work. They are working on defining a standard remote control markup language to allow clients to render appropriate layouts. The pdf is here [cmu.edu] .

This could be pretty cool...

Good Remotes Out Now... (2)

NetJunkie (56134) | about 12 years ago | (#4179030)

I have a Marantz RC5000i, the same hardware unit as the Pronto TSU-2000. It controls EVERYTHING. My setup is a little complicated since I have a TiVo as well as a cable box that does High Definition. The TiVo doesn't do HD so I have to swap inputs to go from TiVo to HD and back. With a normal remote it was a mess.... Switch the TV input, switch the receiver input, change the channel...etc..etc....

These remotes have great macro routines. One button and it changes the channel and handles all the background work. Well worth the money. Even controls my Rio Receiver.

The GUI is completely customizable with many sample configs and device setups already at www.remotecentral.com. The good part of that is you can set it up how you use it, not just throw buttons on the screen. I don't use the 50 buttons on my receiver remote, so why deal with them?

Already been done (1)

NormanICE (191852) | about 12 years ago | (#4179040)

What about the X10 Universal Remote? [x10.com]

That thing is gonna be HUGE (1)

PageMap (311469) | about 12 years ago | (#4179042)

If that ends up like it was described in the description, that thing is going to be monstrous.

Wow another example of a behind-the-times reporter (1)

Xtraneous (594376) | about 12 years ago | (#4179051)

For years now, I havew been getting "Home Automation Magazine."

http://www.homeautomationmag.com/

In essence a catalog selling everything that has to do with home automation. Most of it worked off of X10. It had stuff ranging from total automation of every device, to a dog door that would open by itself whenever your dog got close (within 2 feet.) And all of this was over 3 years ago!

I have an iPaq (1)

thelinuxking (574760) | about 12 years ago | (#4179111)

Specifically that model too...the battery life on the thing sucks! For something like wireless (which I don't even have), it would suck even more of the 2-3 hours you get from it. The remote wouldn't be too portable...unless you consider the fact that the docking station can be picked up :)

huh? (1)

gyratedotorg (545872) | about 12 years ago | (#4179116)

Now I wonder if I could remotely flush my toliet

yeah. this would be useful, considering how hard it is to reach 3 feet and flush it manually.

I can't believe it finally happened (-1)

handybundler (232934) | about 12 years ago | (#4179124)

Linux in Windows. This is great!

wow... dumb (1)

vicnot (513672) | about 12 years ago | (#4179125)

Maya is a local shop... bunch of intellectuals...

heads up their butts...

nice pretty stuff... but too expensive and such niche crap with grave consequences if adopted...

$300 remote... people balk at a $30 universal remote...

dumb dumb dumb

Recursion issue (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 12 years ago | (#4179126)

...a remote control that controls everything in your house.
Everything? Then who does the controlling?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>