New procedure for universal remote controls
Universal remote controls have been around in abundance for both large and small budgets for a long time. Almost all devices have in common that the television, loudspeaker system or AV receiver to be controlled is selected using special buttons or a touchscreen. This requires a certain size, so a compact design like that of the Siri Remote of the Apple TV is hardly possible. Apple has patented a process that is supposed to solve this problem in a novel way.
Gestures to select the device you want
The Protection letter, which has now been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office, is entitled “Controlling electronic devices based on wireless ranging”. Apple describes a special gesture control for selecting the device to be controlled by the remote control. The basic idea: Instead of pressing a button, the user aims at the television, soundbar or streaming box with a future Siri Remote, for example. Further gestures such as forwards and backwards movements or rotations could then trigger a program change, vary the volume or change the lighting mood in the room.
Wireless distance measurement and sensors
According to Apple’s description, a combination of different techniques is used. According to the patent specification, the selection of the device to be operated could take place by means of wireless distance measurement (“wireless ranging”) in connection with the horizontal and vertical alignment of the remote control. This has various components already known from smartphones, such as a gyroscope, a compass or an acceleration sensor. In this way, according to Apple, a large number of devices can be operated with a future Siri Remote, in addition to televisions and speakers, computers, monitors and household appliances and even objects in a virtual reality. It is not known whether the iPhone company is already developing a remote control with this technology.