Craft & Design Robotics
IR control from USB?

Picture 002Gene is looking for a scriptable USB-IR controller – “So far I have not been able to find such an animal. I bought the first generation of Robosapian. The robot from wowwe toys. It comes with a real crazy remote control. You have to press many keys in certain combinations to make the robot do anything. If I could program a dynamic IR device with the codes and then create scripts.. It would be possible for me to make my robot do all kinds of neat things. Also I am into doing time lapse videos. That is where you setup a camera and let it run for about an hour.. I throw the video into my computer and use the editing software to speed things up. That is fine.. But I have an Olympus 8mp digital SLR camera. It also has an IR control out. A programmable IR device as I described above would really help me out with my camera. I could setup a high resolution picture every 15 seconds using a laptop on location replacing the IR controller. This would produce a very high quality time lapse once I put it in my editing software.” I think the USB-UIRT might be a good start, any other suggestions for Gene? Link.

24 thoughts on “IR control from USB?

  1. You might have some luck searching for an “IR Blaster”, as used by devices that control cable boxes. Tivos use them (not much help there), but they’re also used by Windows Media Center, and if I recall correctly it’s a part of the IR receiver package, which hooks up via USB. No idea how much access you could get to the device, if any, nor do I know if it would be capable of transmitting codes your devices could understand. Good luck though, it’ll be interesting to see what you find out.

  2. And of course a quick google on “IR Blaster USB” turns up a bunch of links for… the USB-UIRT! Glad I could add so much to this topic…

  3. Does it have to be USB? Apparently lots of desktop motherboards support IRDA, but aren’t shipped with the infrared LEDs. Luckily there’s a cheap fix for that. There are plenty of open source IRDA software options that claim to emulate learning remotes.

  4. GENE here… thanks a bunch for the help guys. It just seems like such a simple thing.

    The reason I say USB is because of a laptop connection. What would be cool is a learnable, scriptable, (I/O) plug you could put into your laptop. Then have some sort of app take control of all your stereo stuff.

    Anybody that has media today has 5+ remotes. A laptop solution might be over kill.. but hey.


  5. @super_J_dynamite: There is a difference between IrDA and UIRT, though both use Infrared. IrDA is the protocol for data transfer (i.e. between a phone and a PC) UIRT is the protocol for remote control devices. UIRT is a much “slower” signal. IrDA solutions tend to cost next to nothing, but as you can see they charge a ridiculous amout of money for the USBuirt device. The only reason is that this device isn’t in demand as much as IrDA devices. The cost of the components for building your own UIRT device are close to nothing, but you’ll have to be handy to do it.
    I myself have been looking for an UIRT device to control my digital set-top box from the computer, but they are hard to come by or overly expensive.

  6. I strongly suggest a Palm Pilot. A little bit of fairly easy programming in C, Forth, or even SmallBASIC should allow you to come up with an application that would send a stream of control signals from the Palm’s built-in IrDA port. Do some research, though. Many Palms produce a weak infrared signal. My Sony Clie NX-80V pumps out a strong infrared beam. I use it to secretly control the TVs in my local bar.

  7. @ricosuave: depending on chipset, it may be possible to cajole the IR port into speaking something else besides IRDA. This is how LIRC works. The link I posted was a cheap way to get an IR port working on a desktop. If a laptop is involved then it almost certainly has the IR port already and it’s probably worth investigating whether the hardware can be coerced into controlling consumer electronics.

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