I love to watch Netflix. I hook up my laptop to my big, flatscreen TV through the HDMI cord. Until I though of this, I would have to get up and press the computer's mouse button to play the next episode or to play/pause the video. Now, you can lay in bed and play the next episode of your favorite show without leaving the couch. This project doesn't require a remote control for your computer, like most other ideas and tutorials do. I appologize for the quality of the pictures. My camera isn't really working. Just note that this doesn't work on Macs. The software to do it is currently not released, though I'm sure they will eventually come out with the Mac software.
Step 1: Get the Stuff
This project doesn't require much. All you do need is a laser pointer that can point up to 10 feet away in full light (this is still overkill). You will also need a computer with a Webcam built in. If you do have an external Webcam, I guess you could use it too but it will work better (and be easier) if it is built in.
Step 2: Install the Software
This step isn't too hard. The software that I used was called Yawcam. I don't just use it for this. It has many other applications.
Getting to the point, you will need to go to: http://www.yawcam.com/download.php
and download the program. You will also need to install it. I'm not going to walk you through the steps of doing this because it is really straight forward, but if you have any issues, search around their website. I don't take any responisiblity for creating this software. It was done by another group of people.
Step 3: Install the Software Part 2 (optional)
This step is very optional. You don't have to do this step. Only do it if you understand how to use AutoHotKey. It is a great program that I use for everyday tasks, but I don't see exactly using it will get you so I don't recommend doing this step. Like I said before, only do it if you understand how to use AutoHotKey.
You will need to download AutoHotKey. The link is: http://l.autohotkey.net/AutoHotkey_L_Install.exe
I am not going to go through the install steps because they are so straight forward.
Step 4: Create/Download the Thing to Do
This is easy. If you skipped last step, then you just need to download the software below and save it to a safe place. A great place is your desktop, but anywhere will do fine, as long as you know where you put it.
Step 5: Select and Test the Camera
This is a slightly more complex step. You will need to first open up Yawcam, which you downloaded earlier. This should open a small window (see picture 1). Next you click Settings -> Device -> Change to -> (The camera that you are using for this). Next, you need to check to make sure that you selected the correct camera. Do this by clicking Window -> Preview. You should be seeing the camera that you will use for this. You can now close that window. If you have trouble with this, you can always check the camera with the software that came with your computer (specific for that webcam). If you still have trouble, you can look at the Yawcam website and see if they have a solution there. If all else fails, restart the computer and cross your fingers.
Step 6: Set Up Motion Deteciton
Again, a little bit more of a complex step. First, you will need to click Window -> Motion Detection. From there a window will show up that looks like picture 1. Then click on the settings tab on the end. Set the settings to match picture 2. Next go over to the Actions Tab. Make sure nothing is checked except "Run .exe". Then click the settings button right next the the "Run .exe" box. Change the "Flood Control" to have a checkmark beside the "Activate" and set the number to 5. Then click browse. You will then browse for the file that I had you save a while ago.
If you didn't download that file, you will need to create a task in AHK. Convert that file over to an EXE and browse for that file if you choose to. I am not going to explain how to do this, so you will have to search the internet for more info on that.
After doing that, you can close that window and continue to the next step.
Step 7: Enable and Finish Up
This is the step where it all starts working. In the small window that opens with Yawcam, enable that "Motion" button. Next, if you are using my little exe that you downloaded a while ago, you will need to hover the mouse above the button that you will want to press. If it is the play/pause button, you will need to hover the cursor over that button. If it is the Next Episode button, you will want to hover the cursor in about the middle of the page. Now go sit back on the couch and enjoy the TV. If you would like to pause it (or go to the next episode), you will need to take the laser pointer and shine it at the camera. Note that I am not responisble for any webcam damage that may occure, but I have done this about 100 times and nothing has happened to my Webcam so I don't worry about doing it. I hope this worked for you.
Step 8: Stop the Detection and Sensativity
If you would like to go to bed or quit the detection, you just need to click the disable button next to motion in the original screen. If the screen is being triggered by you just moving, you may need to adjust the sensativity in the settings tab of the motion detection window. The same could be said the other way. If the laser pointer isn't being triggered, you will need to adjust the senativity bar the other way.
I hope this worked. I use this all the time.