Picture of Make A Remote Control Ring
Movement of a finger or a hand can control a robot, PC, TV, or other device. This button less remote control ring measures human movement to remotely operate devices.

For possible uses for the sick or impaired, see step 8.

The video below shows the ring being used to control a robot ant to pick up a block.

or go to youtube at:

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Pic 2 shows the different circuit layers that make up the ring.
Total cost of parts is about $45 US not including shipping

Available from
08m SOIC Picaxe microcontroller

Available from
MMA7260QT 3-axis accelerometer
5 volt boost regulator

Available from
2-infrared LEDs
3mm blue LED
CR1220 3volt lithium battery and holder
30 gauge magnet wire

Available from
solid line perfboard

1" key chain ring

Step 2: How It Works

Picture of How It Works
The ring sends infrared remote control commands without using buttons. Instead, commands are sent by tilting the ring in various directions. A 3-axis accelerometer measures the tilt of a finger or hand and generates voltages for the x, y, and z axis. The Picaxe microcontroller uses its built in ADC (analog to digital converters) to measure the voltage and produces a distinct number for the x, y and z variables between 72-93.

The numbers are then used in the programming to send infrared signals by pulsing two infrared LEDs just as a standard TV remote control does.

To see how to build a Picaxe infrared receiver that can use these codes to control a robot see:

For other remote control and Picaxe projects see here:

Step 3: Power Supply

Picture of Power Supply
Power is from a 3 volt lithium battery. Because the ADC in the Picaxe controller  requires a constant internal reference voltage to read consistently, a dc to dc converter is needed.

The Polulu 5 volt boost regulator is a dc to dc converter that is the smallest one I have seen which will supply a constant 5 volt output. It will work with any battery input between .8 volts to 4.5 volts. It can output up to 200 ma.

paul12128 months ago

Why did you use a booster the picaxe will work at 3.3 V.. ?

R.A.T.M3 years ago
2 much work for such a small payoff
ALogan974 years ago
could i use an arduino instead of the picaxe microcontroller? i have an arduino but not the picaxe and want to make something like this after seeing the kymera wand (way too expensive, i only get stuff if its pretty much free :D) but can't find a remote control thing like thisthat works off arduino...
Arduino would be too large to wear as a ring. Perhaps as a gauntlet.
Yeah, that could work, I'll probably either do that or make it into a bracelet of some sort.
jelly94 years ago
wowo keren gan,,
gorgo3334 years ago
Just out of curiosity, have you thought about trying some type of free-form circuitry here? It seems like if you went without a PCB you could save quite a bit of space on this part of the build, at least. But maybe doing it free-form would be more hassle than it's worth?
bull6604 years ago
this gives me ideas :)
cool but it needs a cover
demonsonic14 years ago
Can you post an Instructable on how to make that robot ant also?
karossii4 years ago
with a pair of these rings working in tandem; either on two fingers of the same hand or one on each hand... you could exponentially expand the number of controls... I can envision some very interesting uses for this!

Now, to miniaturize the ring so it looks like normal jewelry!
Eirinn karossii4 years ago
It could be done... however the power source will probably be the largest problem (largest in terms of most problematic and size wise).
columna1 Eirinn4 years ago
isn't there some way to harness electricity from your body i thought i saw this somewhere i know touch on lamps use this... somewhat but i am sure you can even if thay are minute you probably can
The amount of electricity produced by the human body is so negligible, that it must be amplified quite a bit to register on EEG/EKG machines (as one example). Several creatures (I use the term loosely, including plants, and cellular organisms such as mitochondria and bacterium) have modified cellular and/or muscular structures which allow them to convert solar or chemical energy into electrical potential; sometimes on an order strong enough to kill a human. So it is feasible that one day we will discover a method of enhancing our body's conversion process to generate electricity on an appreciable scale, but in today's science... we won't be powering any devices soon. As to the touch lamps, they use capacitance, not generated electricity. This is the same technology used to make safe tools such as table saws (where the blade stops and drops when something with capacitance touches it), certain types of touch screens, etc. And just like those devices, an object with the right capacitance such as a stylus or a hot dog could be used in place of the flesh.
SumGie4 years ago
I saw a device - I think it was called a Khyber wand - in another instructable.  The wand was a trainable remote control that recognized 13 different gestures, so it could be used to control your tv, etc... A real-life magic wand.  Great idea, but overpriced for me.  The instructable concerned was about 'antiquing' it.  I'm thinking it might be fun to try adapting this project to make a DIY version of the wand I saw.
Eirinn SumGie4 years ago
Kymera Magic Wand, my girlfriend has been wanting one for ages - she doesn't even have a TV. I guess she's got the Harry Potter fever :) As i remember the Kymera is even running an arduino for a brain, so one could hack it :D
This is a great instructable and will be lots of use to someone with a disability! Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone, and congratulations!
wcb4 years ago
This instructable is by far the most useful of all.  I want to thank you for sharing it with us. Although only a neophyte electronics person I am going to build this item and present it to someone who needs the additional help in life. Thank you for using your expertise and talent to invent such an item.
William C. Bowser
Global Internet Video
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mark284 years ago
hi this project is great and it seems interesting if i wanna control  a pc is it the same program code that you made for the robot?

thanks for youy soon answer
mikey77 (author)  mark284 years ago
No, each receiving device requires its own microcontroller and custom code.
roadieflip4 years ago
Some mighty fine (in both senses) soldering there.
ppatches244 years ago
 Sooooo AMAZING i love this i want one sooo coool great job
D5quar34 years ago
 Cool you should win
me4 years ago
 wauw that looks awesome, as does your robot. I'm surprised by how accurate you can control the robot with the ring