Picture of Senior Remote
Mod your mom's TV remote to make it senior friendly.

My mom was born in 1931. She is from the generation of radio and WWII. Her eyesight is failing and she isn't good with anything electronic. TV remotes confuse her. This mod came to me after she called me one day, claiming her TV remote stopped working. It turns out, she inadvertently hit the button that activated the VCR functions. She didn't know or couldn't see the button to reactivate the TV functions. So I decided to "dumb" down the remote to only three functions: On/Off, Channel and Volume.

I've also been reading up on merging electronics with textiles. I ran across this article
about how to make an fabric switch. I thought this mod would be a great opportunity to play with textile electronics.

Before you start flaming, yes I know this type of thing has been done before. I've run across the remote-in-a-stuffed-animal mods.
All very creative projects, but I doubted my mom would want to use a stuffed animal for a remote.

This is an easy Instructable that you can do in one day. You can put this together with basic tools:
Soldering Iron
Hot Glue Gun

TV Remote - New Remotes http://www.newremotecontrol.com/
Conductive Fabric "Zelt" - Less EMF http://www.lessemf.com/fabric.html
Fabric Glue
Iron-On Transfer Printer Paper
Small Gauge Wire
White Fabric
Vsesv5 months ago

The process of making the remote is interesting and the lovely thing you made for your Maa is really appreciable. Good.

unknownuser2007 (author)  Vsesv4 months ago

Thank you! : )

Blue_Dream1 year ago
love it ?
nalatnoma2 years ago
Awesome project
unknownuser2007 (author)  nalatnoma2 years ago
Thanks! : )
Megax297 years ago
I wonder what else we can make simpler
unknownuser2007 (author)  Megax297 years ago
A question for all times! Thanks for the comment! :-)
A cell phone needs to be much simpler for some of our elderly folks. My mom is always complaining about her Sony Ericson T637 being too complex. She wants one that only calls and texts. Anyone know how to hack the firmware on a non-Android phone?
Senior Phone made simple:
  DIAL          END

KID #1     KID#2
Try www.just5.com they have a very simple phone with a alert function, and less expensive than any other phone or services.
unknownuser2007 (author)  The Nate Dawg6 years ago
Thank you for leaving the comment. Have you looked into the Jitterbug phone? : )
No I have not. I just looked them up and they look interesting. Not exactly the thing I'm looking for but thank you for bringing that to my attention. Actually, since I posted that last comment, I have talked to my mom who says she likes her phone. So I won't be able to do anything for a while.
unknownuser2007 (author)  shrajanvetcha4 years ago
Thank you! : )
abran54 years ago
i like making little stuff bigger! great mod!
unknownuser2007 (author)  abran54 years ago
Thank you! : )
ldittbenner4 years ago
I wish you would start a company and make these. They would be a God Send for the caregivers of people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease. I don't have the time, tools or skills. TV becomes the only thing they can do that is safe and it becomes so extremely frustrating for them and us.
unknownuser2007 (author)  ldittbenner4 years ago
There are a couple of companies that sell similar products.
Thanks for leaving the comment! : )
bijikenyot5 years ago
very uniqe
unknownuser2007 (author)  bijikenyot5 years ago
Thank you! : )
zack2475 years ago
hmmmm... my mom hates cordless phones cause they have too many buttons...  i think she should get a cordless so she wont break her coded phone by trying to walk around the house with it. i will suggest this, perhaps ill try this with the cordless...
Awesome instructable by the way!
unknownuser2007 (author)  zack2475 years ago
Thanks for the comment! : )
jayro7075 years ago
hi,nice ible, but does anybody know how to make a remote thats works for any tv, like for different gbrands, without programing. for school!!
i got a program for my zire that acts as a universal ir remote
look at the Harmony by Logitech. then just program all the models into it via the computer.... it'll take some time, but its worth it. or, for a simpler method, look at the TV-B-Gone. the TV-B-Gone only turns tvs on and off though.
Minifig6665 years ago
 Just a point, it is PCB not PWB. Good i'ble all the same.
beachnomad5 years ago
Here's a new remote that I found and purchased.  Its called Flipper Remote at www.flipperremote.com.  It works both TV and cable, and has a favorite channel list that can be set up.  It also spells out "Volume" and "Channel" to make ti easy for the user.
unknownuser2007 (author)  beachnomad5 years ago
Hmm, looks oddly familiar! Thanks for the heads up! : )
PSPerson5 years ago
i like this. its large and simple. great use of iron-ons too. 5 stars and Favorite-ed
unknownuser2007 (author)  PSPerson5 years ago
Thank you for leaving the comment! : )
I appreciate this kind of stuff. I am always looking for ways to make it easier for my grandparents to do technical things. This would help them out a lot, thanks!
unknownuser2007 (author)  the beekeeper6 years ago
Great! : )
This is not exactly related, but if you get a chance check out "Eldy Linux". It is a free application aimed at helping seniors send email, get on the Internet, and chat online. I am going to put it on a computer for my grandparents; it's cool!
girrrrrrr26 years ago
i love your simple approach to making the switches.
unknownuser2007 (author)  girrrrrrr26 years ago
Thanks. The idea came from Leah Buechley. : )
cool cool
looks simple and useful
Yes, my mom loves it! : )
tinkernaut6 years ago
Good job!

As a simpler (and much uglier) alternative, I offer this:


This is the solution I proposed below, as horoloradio, my obsolete identity.
unknownuser2007 (author)  tinkernaut6 years ago
Great idea! Great Instructable! Thanks! : )
Why, thank you! Sometimes, the quick-and-dirty solution is a good way to go. Your solution, of course, is the most elegant. I'm sure your mom appreciated you presenting her with your remote much more, than if you presented her with mine :-)
izzibits6 years ago
WOW my mom is totally inept when it comes to anything electronic. This is perfect! (if I ever get a soldering iron) Thanks!
unknownuser2007 (author)  izzibits6 years ago
Thanks! I'm thinking I have to make another one because she's switching over to digital! : - )
adamthiede7 years ago
I have the exact same remote and am trying to find out how to make it a "universal" remote. Please reply!
unknownuser2007 (author)  adamthiede7 years ago
I"m sorry I don't think it is possible to convert it to a universal remote. :-(
Oi well. I might try to do something where I change the buttons around. Just to mess with the heads of people.
That would be funny. If you make it, be sure to post an Instructable on it. P.S. The only way to make a universal remote out of a regular is to replace the chip. It would be cheaper and easier to buy a universal remote.
DarkTrinity7 years ago
It is interesting how small children use basic things like this, then as they grow older they get to know much more complex things, but eventually as they grow even older they revert back to basic things again =P
Interesting observation. I like that.
hello1234567 years ago
Looks better than my remote :P (And that one is right out of the factory).
unknownuser2007 (author)  hello1234567 years ago
Thank you! : - )
=SMART=7 years ago
brilliant idea!!
unknownuser2007 (author)  =SMART=7 years ago
Thanks! : - )
PKM7 years ago
Neat! Fortunately my parents are/were technically savvy enough to use a regular remote.. but as soon as you figure out how to make a device to surf the internet and send text messages with brightly coloured felt buttons I'm making one for my mother :) I did once write my mum a home page that was basically links in big writing marked "E-Mail", "Search", etc (the HTML equivalent of this, I think) but it was too much of a pain to maintain, and I think she's pretty much given up on the internet now.
unknownuser2007 (author)  PKM7 years ago
Ha! Sorry, I can't help with that. Thanks for the comment! : - )
horoloradio7 years ago
Beautiful job! Being the keep-it-simple-stupid-ist that I am, I would have tried something quite less elegant, but easier to build: 1) Open the case and remove all buttons except the ones you want to keep: ON/OFF, volume, channel. 2) Reassemble the case. Now the remote only has 5 buttons and a whole bunch of holes. 3) Make large tabs out of hard plastic sheet and label them for their functions: PWR, VOL+, VOL-, whatever. 4) Glue these tabs on top of the exposed buttons. (You may want to do this before re-assembly.) Make sure the tabs do not interfere with each other and sit squarely on original buttons for ease of pressing. These tabs will serve as magna-buttons, which are easier to see. There you have it. Ugly, but functional.
unknownuser2007 (author)  horoloradio7 years ago
Great! Hey, great idea and instructions. Looks like all you need to do is snap some photos and post a new Instructable! : - )
Why, thank you! I only wish I had the time.
If you have time to be posting comments, you should have time to make an instructable! Tee-hee!
steve2487 years ago
I like the great idea. I would like to contribute a different solution that is not as elegant, but a little easier to make, and cost nothing. I'm sure others has done the same thing. What I did on a very complicated remote control, which has too many buttons, is I find a hard cardboard. I cut the holes only on those buttons that are useful (i.e. power, channel up/down, and volume up/down.). I add some footing to the back of the cardboard. I then tape (or glue) this cardboard on top of the remote control. The thickness of the footing is to prevent the cardboard presses on any button when taped or glued. Cost: nearly 0 (just the tape or glue). My mom no longer hits the wrong button on the remote control. She is not too old to use the small button remote, but it is a pain for anyone trying to figure out which button was pressed by mistake..
unknownuser2007 (author)  steve2487 years ago
Great solution!
insomartin7 years ago
Great Instructable! i made two of these one for the DVD player as well. thanks they love the remote. i added a Tv/Video just aside the on/off button too. i myself at 23 using the remote too. i HATE complicated things that we use everyday.
unknownuser2007 (author)  insomartin7 years ago
Great! Isn't it ironic that our time-saving tools are so complex? Thanks!
DGA7 years ago
Great Idea! My mom is 87 and I will be doing this for her too. Thanks for the info.
unknownuser2007 (author)  DGA7 years ago
You are welcome. Thanks for the comment! : - )
Here's another comment for this awesome Instructable. Very thoughtful, good idea too. Also, your mom was born in 1931? 77 years old! Am I right? I hope she liked the idea.
unknownuser2007 (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
Yes, she loves her new remote. Thanks! : - )
Also (not being mean or anything), but she's 77 years old. Born in 1931. Does she have any really old coins? I collect coins. :-) (I don't want any, well, I do, but don't give me anything. :P) She must be lucky if she does!
Grady7 years ago
I agree; you should market them on E-Bay; as well as any other Senior-Citizen or Handicapped HELPERS.
unknownuser2007 (author)  Grady7 years ago
Thank you for the comment! : - )
xrobevansx7 years ago
great job but I'd sooner buy this one for 15 bucks:
To small for me. I got this one becuase I got tired of trying to find it. Big buttons too, with great range. Plus this one was 9.99.
Good instructable.
Dalya Thornburg7 years ago
Haha! It's those huge remote controls from Walgreens. I currently work there. Everytime a customer steps in the store, the first thing they do is laugh at it. xD.
unknownuser2007 (author)  Thornburg7 years ago
Thanks! Great find! Strange coincidence, my sister bought this BIG remote for my mom the same time I was working on this mod! :-)
unknownuser2007 (author)  xrobevansx7 years ago
Great! Thank you. I wonder how this remote "learns" and retains its functionality. But for 15 bucks, I agree it is worth a shot.
Steve17767 years ago
This would be a great item to sell on E bay. Looks like you've got a winner!
unknownuser2007 (author)  Steve17767 years ago
Thank you!
cheerio7 years ago
Great idea. Executed very well.
unknownuser2007 (author)  cheerio7 years ago
Thank you! : - )
chalky7 years ago
hey man thanks for this i have an aunt who too gets a little confused with all the buttons on her new remote for the telly she just got bought Ive been trying to think of a way to sort it out and you my friend have just hit the nail on the head nice one,congrats, and thanks.
unknownuser2007 (author)  chalky7 years ago
Thanks! Glad I could help! :-)
Anjana7 years ago
A very interesting and definitely useful instructable. Thanks for the post. I wonder how many other things have been modified and posted here for the Seniors.
unknownuser2007 (author)  Anjana7 years ago
Thanks for the comment! :-)
babyboi5127 years ago
interestin! cute remote btw x]
unknownuser2007 (author)  babyboi5127 years ago
Thank you! :-)
:) hehe np
ShockBlast7 years ago
that´s a great Instructable, I have the same problem with my grandmother, I will make one for her

thanks for the instructable
unknownuser2007 (author)  ShockBlast7 years ago
Thank you for the comment! :-)
bloody09867 years ago
Great Instructable even if I wouldn't need to make it. +
unknownuser2007 (author)  bloody09867 years ago
Thanks! :-)
zoxx7 years ago
oh man do my parents need this. thanks!
unknownuser2007 (author)  zoxx7 years ago
You are welcome! :-)
Awesome instructable, if I had 600 hands then you would get 650 thumbs up. (+)
unknownuser2007 (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
Thank you! :-)
ewilhelm7 years ago
Nice work! I did much the same thing here to make a digital picture frame safe for my Grandma.
unknownuser2007 (author)  ewilhelm7 years ago
Thank you! It is ironic that disabling functionality makes it better! :-)
ve2vfd7 years ago
That is an AWESOME idea, and with the ageing population, much of which is technophonic a simple to use remote specifically aimed at seniors is definetly something you could market and make a fortune with! This one gets two thumbs up from me!
unknownuser2007 (author)  ve2vfd7 years ago
Thanks! I agree, it's funny how manufacturers don't design for seniors. My hope is Steve Jobs will see the potential market. :-)
Very nice. +
unknownuser2007 (author)  BurningApple7 years ago
Thank you! :-)