Smart Home Television

ZaZaRemote may have you going gaga with its multifunctions

It would be really convenient if one’s universal remote control could not only control the TV, but also every other electric appliance in the room.

ZaZaRemote is a hybrid touchscreen/button remote control that uses infrared (IR), 2.4G-radio frequency (RF), Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It can remotely control all IR electric appliances, including TVs, set-top boxes, projectors, DVD players, audio devices and air conditioners. The programmable remote also serves as a home security assistant, reporting its sensor’s data to the user’s mobile phone.

Connected Objects Television

IRMimic provides simple way to control all your AV devices

It can sometimes be frustrating to need several remote controls to power all the different AV devices in the living room. That’s especially the case when one or more of those remotes gets lost or stuck under the couch.

IRMimic is an infrared learning remote that’s built into a set- top box. It knows the status of the TV and cable or satellite box and sends out IR commands when the TV turns on or off. It can be programmed to perform specific functions. For example, it can be set so that when the TV turns on, the iRMimic automatically sends commands to turn on all of the AV devices, change the TV to the correct input, select the correct audio settings on the AV receiver and change the TV to the user’s favorite channel. IRMimic ships in November. Future pricing isn’t provided. But early bird Kickstarter backers can order one for a pledge of $119. Its maker hopes to raise $75,000 by July 31.

The device is something that may come in handy for some consumers. But it solves a problem that, for some consumers, is already solved by a high-end universal remote. Setting IRMimic may also be too complicated for at least some of the consumers it’s targeting.

Smart Home Television

SmartEgg cracks a smart remote control system and timer for your home

Universal remote controls still offer a pretty good way to reduce the number of remotes needed to power all the electronic devices in a room.

patent-claimedBut SmartEgg takes the concept of a universal remote a few steps further. The egg-shaped universal remote control center works in conjunction with Android and iOS mobile devices to automate one’s home. It can control any infrared device using Bluetooth 4.0, according to its Kickstarter campaign.

SmartEgg has an internal timer to switch electronics on and off — even when the user is not home. It also has a self-learning capability to adapt to old or new devices, and will interact with devices if certain conditions are met. For example, it will mute the TV if the phone rings. SmartEgg also supports iBeacon technology.

Connected Objects Displays

Ovoid HomePod projects entertainment onto wall

Entertainment and technology are evolving hand in hand, and yet the common experience tends to continue to revolve around a stationary rectangle (or curved rectangle), placed or mounted within the home in various rooms.

The HomePod by KEECKER is the newest way to enjoy multimedia entertainment. KEECKER is a projector that can broadcast any music, TV, game, or Internet content using full-room audio and project visuals onto any surface, indoor or outdoor. Additionally, KEECKER is remote controlled through its smartphone app and can drive to meet users wherever they might be. With Wi-Fi, a terabyte of storage, an Android OS, a panoramic camera, and 90 degrees of movement on its projector, KEECKER is flexible enough to handle any media task.

Additionally, KEECKER can be used to monitor multiple aspects of the home, driving around as a mobile security camera, and using sensors to track motion, noise, temperature, humidity, air quaility, and light. All of these combine to make KEECKER useful in ways beyond entertainment, though it still excels at that. KEECKER needs $100,000 for production and testing costs. The unit costs backers $2,490 and will be available in May 2015.

Consumers may have a hard time grasping exactly what a HomePod entails, but know that KEECKER is essentially somewhere between R2-D2 and DJ Roomba. The wealth of features and possibilities for this device are exciting, but the sticker shock of the price can be a wet blanket for that hype. It’s a very well thought-out device and one that’s capable of replacing several home electronics along with entertaining the dog, but dedicated A/V snobs may find the fidelity lacking.


Videogame racing meets real life in Real FX

The Premise. For many, no childhood was complete without either a quality remote-controlled car or a bulky, customizable slot car track. The thrill of speed and navigating twists and turns was irresistible to so many children, but the technology has done little to advance into the 21st century.

The Product. Real FX racing marries the competitive, constructed nature of slot car tracks with the freedom of motion and skill that remote control cars offer. With a pack of different track pieces, any number of courses can be created for the cars to drive along. Once ready, any number of racers can hit the track and compete using the special controllers. These controllers and the cars themselves are designed to simulate a more virtual racing experience in the real world, with cars that can drive themselves, programmable track hazards, and assisted steering. Using an optical sensor beneath the cars, each car tends to gravitate toward the center of the track to keep races competitive, but also allows the drive the freedom to steer as they like and attempt to pass cars or go for the best time.

The Pitch. The toy car enthusiasts over at Wow! Labs are happy to show off Real FX and what the different cars can do. Seeing real-life R/C cars driving themselves competitively around a customizable, unique track is enough to really capture that childlike magic of play, and all the other features that Real FX have to offer are all thick frosting on this exciting cake. Wow! Labs needs £50,000 in order for Real FX to qualify for its big race.

The Perks. A set with two cars and controllers with starter track pieces will ship out in October 2014 for £100. A third car can be added at the £130 level, while a more complex pro-racing track set starts at £150. The production pilot model will be ready in August for those willing to shell out £1,000 to hit the track a little faster.

The Potential. The execution for Real FX seems pot on, perfectly marrying the racing aspects of slot car with the freedom of movement provided by R/C. The controls seem comfortable and easy to use, and this could be fun for people of any age to get together and play. Though the computerized features of the cars are robust, the “video game” angle that Wow! Labs promotes is overshadowed by other similar items like Anki, which offers upgradeable performance and even weapons for the cars. Real FX offers a more pure race however, and the potential for new sets of track pieces or other upgrades in the future is promising for this racing system.

Connected Objects

Telemba crosses an iPad and Roomba for cheap DIY telepresence

telembaTelepresence robots are becoming more popular as they become cheaper. Remote-controlled devices provided by companies like Double Robotics allow users to attend meeting or classes without actually leaving the home. Telemba functions on the same principles, only without the big cost often associated with robotics. Telemba essentially serves as a bridge between a tablet and a Roomba, giving users remote control and access using the Telemba website. By driving the Roomba and communicating through the tablet, Telemba makes it easier than ever to begin telecommuting robotically using items homeowners may already have. Telemba comes in two sizes that cost $150 or $170, and will deliver to backers in October 2014.