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  1. #1
    Craig Bellhouse

    Default Remote Control for a PC

    For a development paper at my polytech I designed and built a remote control for a PC. With a piece of free software from the web, it allows you to control ANY function that is intenal to windows (there are possibilities in Linux also, but I have not tried these).

    I have designed 2 models, one fits in a spare 5.25" bay in a PC, and has an LCD display on the front that lights up messages as to what function has been started by the remote. (It can also display any text string you care to have it).

    The other model fits in a spare 3.5" bay (or possibly external), and has no LCD display, the front face of it is just the sensor. This model is also significantly cheaper.

    I am wondering if anyone would be interested in purchasing one, and if so, how much would you be willing to pay for such a device (sensible amounts please). I would like to know if the device is worth further development to make it a cheaper, commercially available product, or if it is best left as a prototype.

    One thing to note: This design differs from the way most other PC remote controls work is that ALL of the signal processing is done by the unit, and requires no CPU resources. What this means is that it can be used on ANY PC with a serial port, and it will not disrupt CPU intensive tasks.

    At this stage, there is one thing it is not capable of (without modifications to the PC's power supply), which is to turn the PC on. All this feature would require is a battery backup, but this is difficult to design cheaply, and possibly not worth it.

    The package would include: A remote control unit, the receiver unit, a cd with the software, instructions, and anything else I think of.

    If anyone is interested, or would like more information, please feel free to ask.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    Well heres my personal 2c worth.
    While your idea sounds like a good one, i don't know if it will be that viable. The reason been the market your aiming at is not very large. Basically you are targeting this at people who use there computer for all their media including using it as a tv video recorder etc.
    While there are many people that do some of those media activities i don't imagine that there would be many that do it all. Hence there isn't that many enthusiasts.

    I think you should broaded your product.
    Instead of trying to sell a remote control, why don't you desgin a multimedia PC that has your remote control product, and then sell that?

    Id imagine your controller will be more expensive than others since it doesn't use the CPU. Others use the CPU because computers can handle it these days and it cuts down the costs. So your target market of multimedia enthusiasts has just got smaller to be multimedia enthusiasts with slow PC's. Which is practically mutually exclusive.

    Also it is easy to get infrared keyboards these days, which could do many of the functions of your product.
    Maybe you need to design a remote control type product as well, that is simple to use like a tv one but opens the jukebox,TV,CD player etc. when needed.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    Creative tried marketing PC remotes for a while, they did a stand alone unit and one integrated into a cd-rom. Neither were terribly successful, albeit they worked fine however the demand for the products was just not that great. That aside any product follows the simple logic of economic supply and demand .... check out the auction I have included a link to at trade-me. This demonstrates this principle, at sub $50 the demand is good.

    My best tip is to have a look around discussion forums and find a consumer need that is not being fulfilled, places like overclockers websites .... these are the consumers that will spend money on "non-essential" items, effectively these guys are the boy racers of computing ....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    So exactly what can this remote do?

    if you could get it so you could "play video now" or something of those lines i expect that there would be a market as media is being dealt with by PC more and more.

    Without knowing what it can do i'm curious, but uncomited.

    lets see switch on lights, turn off burgler alarm, log into (whatever) with the remote only, the possibilitys are endless!


  5. #5
    Craig Bellhouse

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    Thanks for the suggestions ppl,

    Clueless: basically the remote can do anything you can do with the keyboard or mouse, ie if there is a button in a program (say the play button in a media player) then the remote software can simulate a mouse click on it, even if the program is not the forground program.

    The prototype i built can open up to 10 different programs, turn on and shutdown the PC, control volume levels, operate the alt-tab function, turn on and off the screen, plus more (there are 27 functions in all), and that is a physical limit of the hand-held remote I made.

    The actual choice of what happens when each button is pressed is entirely up to the user, and the software needs a reasonable amount of computer skill to set up, but if you use the PC as a stereo/dvd player, then it would be quite useful - especially if one has a tv out card.

    At this stage the cost is likely to be in the $50-$100 range just for parts (for the cheap model without a display), and this is factoring in no profit for myself

    If there were likely to be a number of devices made then the cost could drop a fair amount, closer to $50


  6. #6

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    When it combines these functions, you will make a fortune!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    > When it combines
    > these functions, you will make a
    > fortune!

    LOL....... an absolute fortune Godfather - probably even more bucks than His Holiness has (He, with the red forehead blotch)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    >When it combines these functions, you will make a fortune!

    God i'm so lucky. Every button i would want to press on that remote more or less desscibed my better˝s general way of being!

    I could still do with a remote for the puter though, i'm so lazy i use a remote for the CD player here

    Lucky lucky lucky


  9. #9
    Craig Bellhouse

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    damn, clueless, i think you need a remote for the simple fact you cant get at or even see the kayboard there!!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Remote Control for a PC

    Unless it is sold as an all in one package with the PC I don't really see it being all that viable. Most people that would be interested would rather do it themselves anyway.

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