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Touch-pad based pc-programmable universal remote

Use a PC to set up your remote's buttons and print an overlay
  [vote for,

A universal remote control which has a large touch-pad (not a touch-screen--no LCD behind it) and a PC interface. The PC interface allows a user to design a universal remote keypad layout to his liking, print it out, and affix it to the front of the controller; the user would then connect the controller to a serial or USB port and have the computer tell it the locations and codes of all the appropriate buttons.

To improve tactile usability, the device could come with some clear plastic bumpy things the user could fasten to some of the controls (e.g. play, pause, stop, etc.)

supercat, Jul 28 2003

Similar... http://www.amazon.c...79-8886535?v=glance
...and expensive. [galukalock, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

"" http://www.onecall.com/PID_14832.htm
Ditto. [galukalock, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Pronto Touchscreen Remote Control http://www.pronto.philips.com/index.cfm
Virtual Stick-On Buttons. Colour LCD, actually. [Cedar Park, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       One of these days it'll be a PDA/remote(/cell phone/tablet PC/...)
phoenix, Jul 28 2003

       A PDA could indeed be used for this purpose, but a device as described could be much cheaper (no LCD etc.) and also easier to use once configured (with the addition of stick-on raised controls).
supercat, Jul 28 2003

       jutta: I don't see the problems you describe as being unsolveable, though my described embodiment would be in some ways less than ideal since I've left out some possible variations. For example, the question of whether buttons would be removable (or how) could be dealt with by having the buttons stick to a semi-disposable printable overlay which is held captive through clips or other means. If you decide you don't like your current button arrangement, remove it, print another, and stick on some more buttons.   

       As an alternative, the remote could come with a few button assemblies which could be fastened onto the touchpad via clips. The key aspects of the design would be:   

       -1- Buttons would be made of transparent material to allow an overlay placed behind them to show through   

       -2- The use of touchpad would both allow more variety in acceptable button arrangements and allow a printed overlay to be placed behind the buttons.   

       -3- If the overlay were printed on transparent or translucent material, backlighting could be accomplished quite reasonably (though at a noticeable cost in battery life).   

       -4- The difficulties of designing a good remote would be mitigated by the software which could be pre-supplied with a number of layouts.
supercat, Jul 28 2003

       That Pronto that someone linked to does indeed seem to bake this.
galukalock, Jul 29 2003

       I don't see any market for this type of device without an LCD screen. I don't think that it adds a lot of hardware cost to the machine. A 4" monochrome touchscreen LCD sells for a retail price of only $30.00, the cost to add it at manufacturing is probably less than $10.00   

       The big advantage of LCD touchscreens is that they allow the remote to have a hierachical menu system, with simple, big buttons for quick operations, like powering up the system, changing volume and channel, and smaller, less used buttons on different pages for programming, DVD special features, etc.   

       Sorry, [galukalock], I deleted the link after I read the idea in full, and realized the author specifically did not want a LCD screen.
Cedar Park, Jul 29 2003

       (re-reading--'touch-pad, not a touch-screen--no LCD behind it')   

       Hmm. O--kyaay. You're right, though. LCD isn't that expensive, and allows for 'sticking buttons on' without having to print them out on something first. Just input yer button placement, and that's all. The device's 2MB(?) memory probably even allows for multiple button configurifications, for different people or for different devices. Excepting the 'bumpy buttons', I don't see how this is any better.
galukalock, Jul 29 2003

       In general, adding $10 worth of parts to something will increase the MSRP by $30 and the discounted price for $20. So an LCD screen which "only" costs $30 will add over $50 to the cost of the remote; given that the rest of the hardware wouldn't have to use more than $20 worth of parts total (probably less than $15 and maybe less than $10) that's a pretty big increase.   

       Also, to my mind, the ability to add bumpy buttons would be a major advantage over the LCD-based units. Even if not all the controls have bumpy buttons on them, having enough bumpy buttons to be able to find the non-bumpy ones by touch would seem a pretty big plus.   

       BTW, are there any sub-$50 remotes that allow PC-based setup?
supercat, Jul 29 2003


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