How to capture, view, clone,
and generate infrared signals.
By Tom Lauwers
Infrared signals control an astonishing array of devices.
From $20 toy robots to $2,000 3D TVs, the ubiquitous
infrared remote has survived the introductions of
Bluetooth, wi-fi, and 3G to remain the preferred method
of controlling most consumer electronics. As a technology
that was developed in the days of disco, it’s fairly easy
to intercept, decode, and clone IR signals with modern
hacker tools, which has led to products both entertaining
(like the TV-B-Gone, which turns on or off nearly any TV
in sight) and useful (like the RedEye Mini, which controls
consumer electronics from a smartphone).
Perhaps because many of us are so
used to seeing the remote control as
somehow separate from programmable
computing, there is something magical
about projects that enable your computer
or phone to control characteristically
“dumb” devices like TVs. But it isn’t magic,
it’s technology, and as any maker knows,
Tom Lauwers is founder of BirdBrain Technologies LLC, maker of the Finch robot and the Brainlink universal robot
controller. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA., with his wife, kids, and a small army of robots.
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