This Instructable will take you on my journey to replace my old Netflix/Vudu Bluray player with a PC based entertainment station for my LCD projector. I wanted to be able to access and control Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Crackle, NBC, ABC, and the Weather Channel using only a simple remote control.
Along the way, I'll give you the full details you need to replicate this project, but at the same time I'm going to expose you to a very interesting combination of tools which will allow ANY MICROCONTROLLER the ability to take full control of a connected PC to create sophisticated, yet simple PC interfaces and "assistive technology" systems. Read this with your "idea cap" on and I'm betting there are at least a hundred different ways this material could come in handy!
The setup works likes this: (Refer to image two.) My universal remote sends IR signals to my microcontroller. The microcontroller sends commands to control the PC web browser over it's programming cable either as a mouse or by changing pages depending on what buttons I press on the remote. I've seen remotes which are compatible with PC computers as an optional mouse, but this setup is an advanced control system allowing us to send any data/controls to the PC. The system we're building will allow the remote control to act as mouse and software control with plenty of room for your own enhancements.
Here's the project in action!
Required materials and related links:
Assistive Technology Related websites:
You might be scratching your head at the requirement of a Pocket Mini Computer.
What's a Pocket Mini Computer? I'm glad you asked!
The Pocket Mini Computer is an open source "mini computer" design which uses the Parallax Propeller microcontroller as it's brain. The kit from Propellerpowered.com comes pre-loaded with a retro-style BASIC. The hardware itself is extremely powerful & featured.
Update! August 2014: The original PMC two board kit was upgrade to a new design which is completely compatible with the PMC 2013 used in this project. You can get this kit from Propellerpowered's Tindie store.
The new kit is easier to build and contains many newly added features.
The Pocket Mini Computer hardware specifications:
The Pocket Mini Computer is language compatible with Spin, Assembly (PASM), C, and BASIC.
COLOR BASIC features:
More details about the Pocket Mini Computer can be found on this Wiki.
Schematics and Source Code are available for anyone who wants to "roll their own".