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Internet IR Remote with Camera

For my elderly mother
  [vote for,

My dear old mum has dementia. With a little help, she's still capable of looking after herself and wants to stay in her own home. One notable exception is the use of electronic devices which are something she has always struggled with. What I'd like to be able to do is operate her TV and DVD player remotely from 300 miles away.

The Internet IR Remote would sit across the room from the TV with a camera pointed at it (so I can see what's going on). While on the phone my mum (she's still able to use that), I could operate the TV and DVD player and tell her when to put the disc in. That way, she could still enjoy a film in the evening without scheduling home help to start the DVD player.

(This is a bit of a short term solution as I think most home electonic devices will become IP addressable over the next decade, allowing me to controll them directly through a browser.)

st3f, Jul 14 2016

USB IR Transceiver http://www.iguanaworks.net/
[piluso, Jul 14 2016]

IRCommand2 http://www.wdpsoftw...wdpsIRC2/index.html
[piluso, Jul 14 2016]


       Sorry to hear about you ma - it's a bad thing. Hope her decline is slow and gentle, and best of luck to you both!
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 14 2016

       // the use of electronic devices which are something she has always struggled with. //   

       We recommend to you our previous proposal for systematic culling of the technically inept, irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity. It's so much kinder in the long run.   

       In the absence of an enlightened programme of public euthanasia, IR emitters are available which plug into the 3.5mm jack socket of mobile phones, allowing multiple devices to be controlled from an app. So the hardware exists ... just a question of tinkering together a bit of code.
8th of 7, Jul 14 2016

       This is actually brilliant, I have a similar situation with my aunt and something like this would be very helpful
theircompetitor, Jul 14 2016

       There are some options already available for the IR part, see link. You can connect one of these and a rotation capable camera to a PC, and control eveything via remote desktop,VNC or similar.
piluso, Jul 14 2016

       It would be neat if video call software such as skype transmitted IR along with visible light. Just point the remote at your webcam, and the signal is repeated at the other end... IR webcams would be easy enough, but adding IR pixels to an LCD display would probably be an issue. It would also need to work a lot faster than 30fps for the signal not to get butchered.
mitxela, Jul 14 2016

       Have an IRDA carrier embedded in the Skype datastream ?
8th of 7, Jul 14 2016

       Hmm, yes. There are wifi enabled CCTV cameras with night vision / an IR torch. Presumably the IR light is switched off during daylight to save power, so it's probably controllable. If so, a firmware patch could let you build this invention from a single piece of existing hardware.
mitxela, Jul 14 2016

       I think Ian's suggestion of a Raspberry Pi might be the answer. It's got enough IO capability that it could run an IR LED and should be possible to code it to be a remote control. It even has a camera module. I'd also need to rig it to receive IR too so that it can learn the remotes, but this is dangerously do-able.   

       piluso's suggestion could also work if I buy a teeny tiny PC.
st3f, Jul 15 2016

       Hi my long lost friend, [st3f], I hope you are well. I am so sorry to hear about your ma. I work as an Activity Director at an Alzheimer's Center. I know the deep and prolonged pain a family suffers, with a parent with dementia, all too well. May I offer my deepest and kindest compassion.   

       If you ever want to talk, please feel free to reach out to me. I have valuable suggestions for just about everything, except for the quandary you seem to find yourself in. Not being very tech savvy, I'm assuming your invention is brilliant because [theircompetitor] said it was. So a huge and heartfelt bun, and a wee heart to go with it.
blissmiss, Jul 15 2016

       @blissmiss: Thanks, that's really sweet. She's doing remarkably well. Still in her own home (with assistance). Still walks daily, plays table tennis and keeps her house spotless. Phone conversations have taken on the aspect of the riddle of the Sphinx, though, as nouns are sorely lacking. I'm still trying to figure out "Mine is white and you have two, do you like it?"   

       Thinking on the idea, it could be cool to have a telepresence robot, part local intelligence, part remote control that could keep an eye on her, and answer simple questions such as "Where are my glasses/keys/purse?" as well as having an inbuilt universal remote. I'd post it but it strays awfully close to 'that thing in Robot and Frank'.
st3f, Jul 27 2016

       Such systems are already under development in Japan, which has a rapidly growing proportion of elderly citizens.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2016

       //a rapidly growing proportion of elderly citizens//   

       That's strange; I thought most people got scrawnier as they aged.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2016

       No, it's like Kobe beef ... they keep them in sheds and stuff them with rich food.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2016


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