CES 2017: Sevenhugs touchscreen Smart Remote

Programmable universal remote controls such as the Logitech Harmony are designed to be the one remote to rule them all, but Sevenhugs' Smart Remote takes things to a new level. On show at this week's CES electronics show in Las Vegas, the Smart Remote has won three CES 2017 awards including most innovative product in the Smart Home category.

From firing up Netflix to calling you an Uber, Sevenhugs' Smart Remote puts the world at your fingertips.

If your lounge room is overflowing with home entertainment gear then your coffee table is probably buried under a mountain of remote controls, making it quite daunting for anyone but yourself to attempt even a simple task like turning on the television. Things become even more complicated if they also need to fire up a media player and surround sound system, then switch everything to the correct inputs.

Sevenhugs' touchscreen Smart Remote

Sevenhugs' touchscreen Smart Remote, on show at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Photo: Adam Turner

Programmable universal remote controls such as the Logitech Harmony are designed to be the one remote to rule them all, but Sevenhugs' Smart Remote takes things to a new level. On show at this week's CES electronics show in Las Vegas, the Smart Remote has won three CES 2017 awards including most innovative product in the Smart Home category.

The Smart Remote began life as a US$1.1 million Kickstarter project with plenty of support from Australia, but thankfully the units on show at CES are final production models rather than prototypes. The remote is set to go on sale in June, starting in the US and Europe for US$299, but there's nothing stopping Aussies importing them and using them locally.

Examples of the Smart Remote control screens

Examples of the Smart Remote control screens

The tiny Smart Remote is about the size of a 5-inch smartphone but only half as wide, so it fits comfortably in your hand. Almost the entire surface is a touchscreen, with the ability to flick left and right to call up the controls for all your devices. Better yet, point the remote at a device and it automatically calls up the corresponding controls.

The Smart Remote's seemingly psychic powers are thanks to three tiny sensors which you place around your lounge room, so the remote always knows its exact location in the room. It also has a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer so, once you teach it the layout of the room (using the iOS/Android app) it knows exactly what you're pointing it at.

The remote supports infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so it can control practically any device and even has the ability to learn infrared commands from your existing remotes. You can also program multi-stage commands so it can set up your home entertainment system to watch a movie with only a single button press.

It comes with a small charge dock, which can sit on the coffee table or beside your television, and the remote is good for two or three days between charges. You can even use your phone to make the remote beep if you lose it in the couch.

The remote on its charge cradle

The remote on its charge cradle

You're not restricted to using the remote in the lounge room, although once you move it away from the sensors it loses that sixth sense of knowing what you're pointing it. The inclusion of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi means that it can work with a wide range of home smart devices, from Sonos multiroom speakers and smart thermostats to smart power switches, light bulbs, blinds, locks and fans.

Built-in internet access also lets the remote interact with services like Uber, so you can simply point it at the front door and then press a button to call a ride. The developers are working hard to integrate with APIs from online services, it works with IFTTT and there should be more of these kinds of features in the future.

The Smart Remote is like a cross between a touchscreen universal remote and a Wii controller, although at this point it doesn't really make the most of its location tracking. You can't use gesture controls, such as swishing it in the air to adjust the volume on your television, but it could be capable of that down the track. The remote's built-in microphone is also dormant but voice controls are on the long-term roadmap.

If your home is packed with a disjointed collection of smart devices, Sevenhug's touchscreen Smart Remote could bring order to the chaos.

 

 

 


› Auteur : Adam TURNER
› Date : 04/07/2016
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› Source : Sydney Morning Herald

 

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