MightyRC turns smartphones into universal remotes for household appliances
By Nick Lavars
May 13, 2014
Having already replaced standalone cameras for many people, the smartphone also has the humble remote control in its sights. MightyRC is the latest in a line of products looking to reduce remote control clutter in the environment where they have multiplied the most over the years – the living room. It allows all appliances compatible with infrared remotes to be controlled via a single app on a smartphone or tablet.
The MightyRC system is made up of a box measuring 80 x 80 x 18 mm (3.1 x 3.1 x 0.7 in) and a companion smartphone app. Commands are entered in the app and transmitted to the box over Bluetooth 4.0, provided the smartphone is within 100 ft (30 m) range. The box then relays these commands to the various appliances using an infrared transmitter. The company claims the IR transmitter is good to a range of around 6 m (20 ft), and is so powerful that appliances won't necessarily need to be in the box's line of sight – although don't go expecting the infrared beams to travel through walls. The device also has an infrared receiver, which allows it to learn from existing remotes.
Naming each of your devices in the app will allow the MightyRC to differentiate between the them. Further to channeling the controls of these different appliances into the one interface, MightyRC also features a nifty "Activation" function. This feature allows users to program a one-touch control to activate preset functions across different devices. So you could, in theory, setup an activation called "King of Westeros" allowing you to switch on your television, switch the cable box to the correct channel, and turn on the surround sound system with just one click in time for the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
The MightyRC isn't alone in fighting the battle against overcrowded coffee tables. Indeed, recent smartphones such as the Galaxy S4 and S5 actually have infrared capabilities built-in. There are also systems like the VooMote, L5 Remote and Satechi's Universal Remote, however, all of these require an extra piece of hardware to be attached to the smartphone. Logitech's Harmony Link is more similar to the MightyRC, but communicates via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth and is limited to the control of up to eight appliances.
MightyRC also features gesture controls, meaning settings such as volume and brightness can be adjusted in the app with an intuitive slide of the thumb. The box is powered by three AAA batteries, which the company says should be good for six months of use.
The MightyRC supports both iOS and Android 4.3 devices with Bluetooth 4.0 and is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$49 will put you in line for the device, with shipping estimated for November 2014 if all goes to plan.
You can see the company's pitch video below.