Sababox - Elderly Friendly Remote Control

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Introduction: Sababox - Elderly Friendly Remote Control

The world’s population is getting older. Studies show that companies will have to adjust their products and marketing channels for older crowds.


A well known problem is for elderly people to be able to enjoy their TV as they are not confident with their ability to get to the desired content, and also concern of “breaking it”, taking the TV out of order until someone will fix it for them.

Many of those concerns are caused by our standard remote controls which contains over 30 different buttons over very small space even though most of us barely use more than 5. Our remote changes how we think of remotes from a tiny, light device with a noisy interface- To an accessible, clean interface that is designated for elderly users.

Bigger buttons, with the vital minimum number of them should provide friendly interface for the users.


UPDATES:

NO WAY!! Arduino official channels & Hackaday published us!! 😵🥴😱

Sababox is an easy-to-use remote for the elderly on ARDUINO OFFICIAL

Elderly Remote Keeps Things Simple on HACKADAY.COM


Step 1: UPDATES

Hi,

It been a while since we first posted this Instructable 😬

With the help of some great people sharing their knowledge, experience, time and ideas we were able to make a few leaps improving our remote control's design, engineering and abilities.

First major upgrade was changing the grid-like layout to a more "need related" layout, so it will be more intuitive use.

We have also tried using a pre-made wooden box (cost of 1$) to save some more expensive (and a pretty long) 3d printing.

Buttons were improved to a Cherry MX keys, like the ones used on gamers keyboards making a significant feedback.

They should also last much longer. Caps are still 3D printed, but we're working on improving that as well.


PCB

Next major update was sketching a PCB and printing it.

We got a HUGE help from one of the best makers alive Gil Tal, who helped us making this thing happen.

The current PCB is based on ESP32 to allow much easier built and distribution, and also connectivity!

We intend to allow family members some non-invasive indication for an elderly person's condition by creating "last seen" interface. In other words, I know I get concerned if my grandpa doesn't pick up the phone- but as soon as I see was last changing channels on his TV 3 minutes ago - I am much calmer.


We promise we will update the whole page once better versions of Sababox exists,

ALL RESOURCES ARE OPE SOURCE SO EVERYONE CAN MAKE THEM.

PLEASE, HELP ELDERLY PEOPLE AROUND YOU!

I'M SURE THEY WOULD DO THE SAME FOR YOU.

Step 2: Software Required

For this project you will need the Arduino IDE, set the settings as shown on the image attached.

From our experience the Arduino Nano are sometime not recognized by the device manager. We solved it by installing the driver manually, download and install it from the link attached.

We used IRRemote library for arduino, but we made some changes in buffer sizes and a few other constants.

We highly recommend you to use our version (updates to V3.3).

  1. Download the IRRemote attached here.
  2. Go to you arduino folder where the downloaded libraries are and paste the folder (extracted) there. The arduino will know to fetch it from there.

Can be downloaded here

Step 3: Receiver Unit

For the Receiver unit (you'll need only one even if you are making many remotes):

Hardware/supplies:

1 Arduino nano ATmega 328 old bootloader

1 IR receiver module

1 Breadboard (or however you are working on your stuff)

optional:

1 Led bulb as an indication for signals

1 Resistor for the LED.

Software

Make sure you are using the attached IRremote library as described on previous steps.

Instructions:

  1. Check the datasheet for you IR Rx module for it's VCC and GND.
  2. Plug the Data/signal to D5 pin.
  3. Compile and upload the code attached.
  4. Once you are ready, connect the arduino and load your serial monitor to "record" the remote's signal.
  5. You will be asked for naming the signal and then press you original remote in-front of the IR Rx.
    The name you are typing is only for helping you later on, so you'll know which vector is which command.

6. Record all the following commands (or others if you'd rather to):

TV on/off
TV CH+
TV CH-
TV VOL+
TV VOL-
TV CH1
TV CH2
TV CH3
AC PRE-SET HEAT
AC PRE-SET COOL

Step 4: 3D Printing the Casing

Printings required:

  1. Grid
  2. Buttom V2
  3. 14 buttons
  4. Badge
  5. 3 or 4 posts. These are used to support the protoboard from beneath.

Instructions:

  1. print parts. for optimal results use @stop at height@ function in cura to print text in different colors. no special infill requirements.
  2. Cut the 2 protoboards to size, so that they will fit neatly next to each other in the bottom part.
  3. Solder the board according to schematics. Make sure to solder the buttons so that when the board is placed in the bottom part, and grid is placed over it, the buttons will roughly sit in the center of each grid hole.
  4. Fit the LED’s and IR diode in the designated spots.
  5. Close using screws.

All STL files are available on THIS LINK

Step 5: Remote Assembly (Hardware)

You can sort the buttons as you like, but by default, it sets to the pins of the Arduino as follows:


IR_SEND_PIN 3 // defined by the IRRemote library
SIG_PIN 2 LED_PIN 2 //NOTE: this is just a regular indication led- has nothing to the with IR nor with the actual operation
TV_ONOFF_PIN 12
TV_CH1_PIN 11
TV_CH12_PIN 10
TV_CH13_PIN 9
FM88_PIN 8 // Radio 1
DAROM_PIN 7 // Radio 2
TV_CH_PLUS_PIN 6
TV_VOL_PLUS_PIN 5
TV_CH_MINUS_ANALOG_PIN A5
TV_VOL_MINUS_ANALOG_PIN A4
AC_ON_ANALOG_PIN A7
AC_OFF_ANALOG_PIN A6
AC_HEAT_ANALOG_PIN A3
AC_COOL_ANALOG_PIN A2

Step 6: Remote Code

  1. Open the remote code
  2. Adjust the remote signal vectors for the signals you have recorded on your remotes using the receiver unit on the previous stages.
    Paste each on the proper place in the code.
  3. Compile and upload.

Step 7: Looking for Improvements!

We think our project offers a good solution and answers the need, but we have no doubt it can be improved.

If you would like to help improving the code, the circuits or the 3D designs - PLEASE CONTACT US OR UPLOAD YOUR SUGGESTIONS ON OUR GIT!

The first things we think can be done better is if we could print a PCB to save many of the soldering work. It has to remain affordable and easy to order, but we know people do such things and it is possible.

Second thing in our mind is improving the 3D printed casing design.

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    3 Comments

    2
    Suraj Grewal
    Suraj Grewal

    1 year ago

    I understand you...Here's mine...9 buttons, all TV related,
    Made for an elderly too.

    IMG_20190801_114058.jpg
    0
    omerrv
    omerrv

    Reply 1 year ago

    you are very welcome to help us improve our design