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Remote Controls

The Wooden Turn Touch Remote

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The Wooden Turn Touch Remote

Inventor Sam Clay presents a minimalist means to control multiple connected devices-- the Turn Touch, a small four-button remote carved out of solid mahogany, maple and mother of pearl.

The Turn Touch is programmable via Mac or iOS app, and uses wifi to control Hue lighting, smart locks, Nest thermostats and music systems. Users can program the remote to activate home automation scenes with a single button press, such as dimming the lights, lowering music volume and locking the door. One can also hold a button down to select a different home automation app, meaning the 4 button remote can offer 16 different controls (or more if one adds double-taps to the control equation).

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A Bond IR Blaster for Home Control

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A Bond IR Blaster for Home Control

Customers wanting to add connected smarts to older device might be interested in the Bond, an accessory able provide smart home integration for IR- and RF-controlled appliances.

The Bond is compatible with various appliances, including ceiling fans, window AC units, garage doors and power shades. It consists of a small plug-in tool able to connect to the internet via wifi, before pushing commands to appliances from a companion smartphone app. One can even pair the Bond unit with a smart home control device, such as the Amazon Alexa, to add voice controls.

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Sevenhugs Kickstarts Smart Remote

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Sevenhugs Kickstarts Smart Remote

SevenHugs takes to crowdfunding to bring the world its universal remote-- the Smart Remote, a touchscreen-equipped number able to geolocate individual devices, allowing customers to control whatever they want by simply pointing the remote.

First seen back at CES 2016, the Smart Remote uses a combination of built-in motion tracking and three wall-mounted sensors (included) to triangulate its position within a room and "know" what device it is being pointed at. As a result it should be able to tell between a between a TV, smart bulb and audio system, and the touchscreen switches control interface accordingly.

Initial setup comes through companion app, and the company says the remote is already compatible with over 25000 wifi, Bluetooth and IR devices, including Samsung Smart TVs, Philips Hue smart bulbs, Sonos speakers, the Nest thermostat. In addition it can pair with IFTTT-enabled smart home hubs such as the Winks and SmartThings, and an open API allows vendors to easily add support.

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Logitech Harmony Gets Alexa Voice Control

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Logitech Harmony Gets Alexa Voice Control

Logitech is the next company to get an Amazon partnership, as customers can now pair the Logitech Harmony Hub with Alexa-enabled devices for "voice control of the entire living room entertainment experience."

Harmony Hub connectivity comes through an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot skill, and includes the starting/stopping of Harmony Activities, device control and turning directly to favourite channels, all through voice control alone. As such, one can summon different controls through statements such as "Alexa, turn on the TV" or "Alexa, turn on Netflix."

“This new capability is both practical and fun for our users,” Logitech says. “We’ve been working closely with Amazon to deliver robust voice control of your smart home using a Harmony hub-based remote and an Alexa-enabled device-- and if you don’t have Harmony yet, just say ‘Alexa, order a Harmony Hub’ and have one delivered.”

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Sony Adds ePaper to Universal Remote

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Sony Adds ePaper to Universal Remote

Sony presents the next product from its First Flight crowdfunding platform-- the Huis Remote Controller, a universal remote with an ePaper touchscreen replacing the traditional button array.

The Huis (pronounced "house") can control devices ranging from TVs and home theatre equipment to lighting and cooling, all through an interface users can customise through either the remote itself or PC app. According to Sony the ePaper display allows for a longer-lasting battery, and being always-on the technology is actually ideal for remote control use.

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Sevenhugs Presents Universal Remote

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Sevenhugs Presents Universal Remote

Oddly named appliance maker SevenHugs presents a clever looking universal remote at CES 2016-- the Smart Remote geolocates individual devices, allowing customers to control whatever they want by simply pointing the remote at it.

To figure out what devices are in the home the SmartRemote uses wifi and 3 connected sockets. The remote triangulates its position between the sockets to around 10m range, and users can "train" it to associate a particular spot with a specific device.

The Smart Remote seen at CES 2016 uses wifi and Bluetooth connectivity to control Philips Hue lights, Sonos speakers and the Nest Learning Thermostat. However an open SDK promises a technically infinite list of compatible devices and services, as well as a personalised user experience.

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You No Longer Need a DC Adaptor to Power Your IR Extender

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 You No Longer Need a DC Adaptor to Power Your IR Extender

YZC Electronics, maker of smart home remote control IR extender systems, launches their new, versatile dual frequency-coded IR extender, the Flat IR Blaster.

The maker describes the Flat IR Blaster as “a breakthrough in the AV industry” in the IR Extender sector because you can now power up by a simple DC 3v CR2032 button battery.

Installers and their consumers now no longer need a DC adaptor Continue reading...

Home Automation, in a Neeo Remote

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Home Automation, in a Neeo Remote

Home automation startup Neeo claims to provide customers with control for all their devices through the Neeo, a "thinking" universal remote control acting as a single interface for the entire home.

Crafted out of a single piece of aluminium, the Neeo remote features a 3.2-inch 480x800 resolution touchscren, a handful of hardware buttons and a low-power design the makers claim runs for months on a single charge. Interestingly it also features "hand recognition" technology, allowing to to automatically display personalized favorite media, playlists and other settings, without need to flick between remotes or apps.

The hand recognition even acts as a means of parental control, Neeo adds.

"Average remotes are inconvenient especially when you have one for every device and we have seen little innovation in that field in the past decades," the company says. "We created Neeo so you can control all your devices instantly and with minimum effort so you're not jumping from remote to remote or app to app. To make it even more effortless we have designed Neeo so it recognizes you when you pick it up to give the ultimate personal experience. "

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Gesture Control for the Entire Smart Home

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Gesture Control for the Entire Smart Home

Israeli startup eyeSight presents a single device promising to replace all remotes and smartphone control apps-- the Onecue, a small gesture control device compatible with both IR and wifi connected devices.

Looking like a smaller cousin to Microsoft's Kinect, the Onecue handles both AV equipment and home automation devices. It is activated using a simple wave, and a 3-inch display allows one to wave between connected devices, with various gestures for the control of each. In effect it is a lot like a universal remote, if with waves and hand gestures (such as closing one's hand or bringing a finger to the lips) replacing the buttons.

IR connectivity (complete with learning) allows compatibility with a wide range of devices. Meanwhile wifi provides control of Nest thermostat, Philips Hue lightbulbs, Apple TV STBs and Xbox consoles, although eyeSight promises it will add more devices in the future, including motorised IR blinds and shades, light switches and power outlets.

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A Nod Towards Gesture-Based Control

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A Nod Towards Gesture-Based Control

Nod Labs proposes a wearable means for the futuristic gesture-based control of connected devices customers desire-- the Nod, a "smartring" promising accurate and elegant control without need for remotes or cameras.

Crafted out of jewelry-rade stainless steel and powered by the combination of select Broadcomm silicon and Nexus-Trellis software, the Nod ring reportedly detects spatial motion with over 0.1mm accuracy point. It connects to devices via Bluetooth, and is already supports Windows, Mac and Android platforms as well as connected home solutions from the likes of Nest, Hue, WeMo and GoPro.

Control gestures include a familiar variety of swipes, waves, taps and pinches.

A rechargeable battery provides juice for up to a "day of active use," with  control signal range clocking at around 10m.

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Logitech Retains Harmony, Intros Ultimate Hub

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Logitech Retains Harmony, Intros Ultimate Hub

Logitech retains ownership of the Harmony remote control family as it announces the Harmony Ultimate Hub, an "appcessory" device turning iOS and Android smartphones into universal remotes.

The Ultimate Hub is originally part of the Harmony Ultimate and Smart Control product packages first seen on April 2013. A puck-sized device similar to the Harmony Link, the Hub receives RF and wifi signals before it issues commands to up to x8 devices via IR and Bluetooth.

The Harmony Ultimate is also the reason of the change of heart seen in Logitech-- apparently it was not only successful (receiving warm reviews from the specialist press), it "exceeded the company’s expectations for customer connections" and brought a new lease of life to an ailing division.

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