Universal Remote Control

February 14, 2007 § Leave a comment

An universal remote control would be a first requirement for a confortable life in an inteligent house as nobody likes to go here and there to set different devices to operate according to different situation. Such device was presented at CHI 2002- Changing the world, Changing Ourselves conference, where NCITS (National Committee for Information Technology Standards in USA has set up a comitee called V2 charged with working and setting up a standard for an “Alternate Interface Access”- (Alternative Interface Access Protocol = AIAP).

The great ideea behind this protocol is that it enables any device to become a remote commander for any other device via remote signals that each device understands due to the common standard adoption. This would let a blind person to change radio channels or TV channels using a refreshable Braille display as well as the normal person could use his PDA to swich TV channels or set the temperature inside the room.

Searching for such devices already on sale, although I found it unlikely to happen in such a short period of time since the standard was finished, I have found an interesting simulation of it. The page is called Trace URC Simulation Environment-Online Demonstration and you can find it at http://myurc.org/UrcSimEnv/bin/applets/index.html. It has a few option for the simulation like a PDA to work as a remote commander, a light ( for which you can even change the brightness , an alarm device, a VCR, a TV and even an elevator.

The creation of the underlying software was funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation (NSF) via the Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) and gifts from Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

I have tested only the light swich, first alone, to see how it works, and after this I realized that I should open first the PDA applet so that I can remote command the light in the virtual room. For the swich applet I got these images, edited for better understanding:

light swich applet

Here you can see that when I click on the swich the light goes on in the room, and in the bottom-right corner you can see the light being off when the applet is started. But where is the “remote” part of this, because this is what this article is about… . It was only the next day when I wanted to try the TV or any other device but as the TV applet freeze my Firefox browser I skipped it and found the image of the PDA interesting enough to click on it. That’s when I’ve read that the PDA should be started before any other device. Ok, I started it but it was doing nothing. No device found on its screen. And then the light bulb in my head turned on and enlightened my reason. I started the light swich applet. Evrika! The PDA found the light swich and I could enter the application. The options I was offered were to remote control the light to go on and off and the power of the light.

Here it is what I got:

PDA applet

As you can see in this little print screen, the swich option is checked and the room is less lit as in the first image. I could play with the slider dreaming of doing that stuff while kissing my girlfriend , without she seeing me😉. That surely has some effect. Imagine closing the window curtains or lighting the fireplace… . HeHe.

Anyway, you can have a look on the site and play for yourselves and if anyone knows yet of any device working with this standard let me know.


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