UiRemote Still Under Development

Hello, thank you all who have inquired on the release date of UiRemote. We had a crazy busy month since January 2009. (Don’t forget we are still engineering students in last year of study with a full course load ).

We are working hard to finalize and improve the device and the app. However due to privacy issues we will not be able to provide any additional information about the product at this time. We would like to thank everyone sincerely for all the comments and suggestions they’ve given during the past two months.

We are still opening the Mailing List that you can subscribe to, so that you can be notified as soon as UiRemote becomes available and ready.

Please click here to sign up with your email address.

There will be absolutely no spam, and your email is confidential with us. We will be working hard in the coming month to finalize everything and keep you updated. All the best!

p.s.

UiRemote is now confirmed to work on iPod Touch 2nd Gen ; ). However iPod Touch 1G will not be supported.

Comments (47)

Introducing UiRemote!

Hi there, today, we bring good news to “couch potatoes” everywhere who are lucky enough to own an iPhone. If you don’t already own an iPhone, well, get one ; ). It just got a bit cooler. ( Note: This project is in final prototype stage, not available yet, but soon. ) Please sign up your email at our Mailing List to be notified when it becomes ready. : )

We, a group of students at the University of Toronto, have completed something that could potentially replace all the remotes you have scattered around the house. It’s called the UiRemote (Universal Infrared Remote), for iPhone only at the moment.

With the help of this small accessory, you will be able to use your iPhone to control your TV, DVD, Cable box, Projectors, Digital Photo Frames, AC, Fans, & Backyard evil robots, whereever you go. Not only does it send out the remote control signals, you can easily teach it to learn any button on any standard Remote, or even a sequence of button clicks as a macro.

Take note, this is not some bulky infrared remote boxes that you have to connect using Wifi, and cannot be moved around. This standalone accessory, in its final prototype form, is only the size of a finger tip, and require nothing but your iPhone to control devices and learn new remote commands. We are going to make it even smaller after further adjustments. You can conveniently slip it into your pocket and take it to your friends/bars/meetings/work/etc. and impress them with this new thing you can do with your iPhone.

Of course, the concept of a universal remote is nothing new, and you can get a pretty good one from Logitech, but we just thought having the ability to control any household appliance will make iPhone more… complete, shall we say. After all, iPhone already have all the hardware necessary to become a fancy touchscreen remote, all we have to do is to develop the Infrared Module and write the software for it.

Please see a video demonstration below for what we have so far. This project is still in final prototype stage. We are busy making many improvements to the User Interface and are aiming to release the actual Infrared Module and the Application in the next month or two. Please comment generously and let us know your feedbacks.

Stay tuned! And happy new year.

Screenshots:

(This post is manually moved to the Top of the page)

Comments (72)

Get Notified When UiRemote Is Available!

Hello, thank you all who have inquired on the release date of UiRemote. We have created a Mailing List that you can subscribe to, so that you can be notified as soon as UiRemote becomes available and ready.

Please click here to sign up with your email address.

There will be absolutely no spam, and your email is confidential with us. We will be working hard in the coming month to finalize everything and keep you updated. All the best!

Comments (28)

Answers to questions posted in comments

Hi there, it’s been a few days and the comments are piling up. I will answer all the questions you guys have posted from the first post below. It’s a really big list, but we will take all of your suggestions when we continue to finalize the User Interface.

1. So far the #1 concern is “will it be customizable?”.

I want to assure you that customization was in our mind since the very beginning. I know that I myself would not use a Universal Remote that only has one screen for everything I have in my room. So, expect fully customizable screens for each appliance you want to control.

We will allow you to choose your own background, button images, and layout for each appliance. We will also try to provide a standard set of remote templates to get you started.

We do not plan to make any desktop software for template making at this moment, since iPhone’s big touch screen should be able allow easy customization.

2. Will it be available for iPod touch, with the headphone jack at the bottom?

Our plan is to support the iPhone only at the moment, because only iPhone has the ability to transmit AND receive infrared signals through the headphone jack. These two features are necessary for the UiRemote to learn the Infrared control codes, and sending them out.

We do have plans to add the ability to import existing Infrared control codes like the ones found on RemoteCentral. We will then be able to release a version to iPod touch users so that they can also use UiRemote with the existing infrared codes.

3. Macro support that allows controlling multiple devices with one button click.

Yes this feature is already working, UiRemote will allow you to record Infrared Commands from multiple remotes and assign them to one button on the user interface. For example, you will be able to turn on the TV, switch to HDMI input, turn on DVD Player, set Surround Sound, switch Amplifier input to DVD Player, etc, all in one button.

4. Will you make a bluetooth remote so I can use it on my PS3?

No. Bluetooth is something completely different. UiRemote will only control devices that respond to Infrared command signals. Plus, the bluetooth module on iPhone is protected and not (officially…) available to developers.

5. Will this work with iPhone 1Gen recessed audio jack? Can you make it smaller?

Yes the final UiRemote hardware module will be small enough and fit in all iPhone & iPod touch versions. However iPod Touch isn’t supported at the moment.

Thanks!

Comments (23)

Thanks for all of your support and feedback!

Hello all, the past few days have been amazing as we watch all the comments left by our visitors from literally all over the world. We have blogs linking us from UK, Greece, Australia, India, China, and Japan. ( A big thanks to Engadget for picking up the UiRemote project! )

Thanks especially to some of you who said “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting on this…”. It really motivates us to get it done as soon as possible so your burning desire can be satisfied ; ). (With adequate quality control of course)

Before I start answering the questions, I’d like to re-state what the UiRemote is, and what it isn’t, based on the comments we heard the past few days.

First, UiRemote is different from other full featured Universal Remotes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like staring at about a hundred buttons on a Universal Remote trying to find how to change channels. We do not want to make the UiRemote interface cluttered with too many buttons.

Regular Universal Remotes have too many buttons trying to accomondate all the possible commands the users might need. Instead, the UiRemote users will simply choose to add only the buttons they really need from any device, and will be able to arrange the layout freely to simplify their needs. Why pay for all those buttons or functions you may never use on an overpriced Universal Remote?

The screenshots full of buttons shown before is just a demo. UiRemote, in its final form, will not have rows upon rows of buttons like that. You will be able to tap and drag buttons around into whatever positions you want.

Second, we know there are some Infrared remote applications available that allow you to control a separate infrared equipment box via Wifi. But UiRemote is designed to be a small standalone accessory that you can take with you anywhere you go, and controlling everything you encounter on the way. (once you commandeer the Remote for a few minutes to record all the buttons you’d like to use )

Fun applications would be to change the TV channels in that Sports Bar as some of you are so determined to do… Or to turn off the projector during the boring company meetings just to watch the CEO going nuts as I once did.

Personally, I would use UiRemote to imitate all those little remotes for all the small devices I have, such as Digital Photo Frames, Car Stereos, Camcorders, Fans, Air Conditioners, etc. I lose those small remotes constantly, and I hate to replace them when I really need the remotes. UiRemote will allow me to duplicate the functions of those remotes and always have a copy in my iTunes iPhone apps backup.

Third, Some people have mentioned that it will be hard to use touchscreen remotes. UiRemote will be designed to fully take advantage of iPhone’s advanced multi-touch touchscreen abilities, which means you no longer need to look at the screen for simple functions. It will make using Universal Remotes a brand new experience for iPhone users. We will update you with a demo when they become available.

Stay tuned for more info. Thanks again for visiting us!

Comments (26)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.