— Around The Home
MightyRC turns smartphones into universal remotes for household appliances
The MightyRC channels infrared signals from different household appliances and transmits the data to your smartphone for easier control
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$49 will put you in line for the device, with shipping estimated for November 2014 if all goes to plan.
You can see the company's pitch video below.
About the Author
Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.
All articles by Nick Lavars
This seems like it would make a very cool project for a raspberry pi.
I've been psyching myself up to replace our Digitech Harmony Universal Remote because the buttons are intermittent after 5 or so years of constant use but the new ones with a touch screen are hundreds of dollars. This looks like a good substitute.
After using a remote that configures everything with one button press you'll never go back.
Universal remotes are good products, but this isn't.
Using touch screen for remote is retarded and inconvenient. Draw your phone from pocket, enable Wifi/Bluetooth, wait for pairing, start an application, wait for starting etc.
You're phone battery ran out, but want to see news NOW? Too bad.
Want to mute the TV when a friend is calling? Too bad.
You have friends visiting and you're using your phone is in use for a long call and the friends want to change the channel meanwhile? Too bad.
Want to browse the guide without having to look where you press? Too bad.
I'm waiting for an innovation where someone invents a device, that has buttons and is a dedicated just for TV controlling. Oh wait...
Rasperry Pi would be total overkill for this. Learning IR box can be made using Atmega8 MCU, which costs 1$. Bluetooth communication for 5$. Wifi is a bit costly though, for about 20$.
Rasperry could do a whole GUI with internet and everything.
Poor idea, but it strikes in the "Wifi and touch screen for EVERYTHING" market.
This has been done before(I have done this before), but never to a product, because it's way too inconvenient for the application.
You don't need a touch screen and wifi for a bucket of paint. Not just yet.
Are there other "appliances" besides your video intertainment system that this could control? No? There are lots of other applications for iOS and Android that do the same thing with just an IR device you attach to your phone with no need for a seperate box. (Is there any real reason for the additional box and wireless (bluetooth) link?) Great idea, but using your phone for a remote just doesn't really work out. The Logitec Harmony universal remotes do, though, with real buttons that you quickly learn.
Does this device work for all devices or can be programmed for any device, or just for the top brands.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning