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back to article RFID remotes have line-of-sight in their sights

Taiwanese electronics specialist Favite has been demonstrating its latest remote control module using RFID technology to remove the need for batteries - at least for those prepared to bathe their living room in a two-watt energy field. Using a passive RFID tag to communicate with a TV might seem strange, but at 433MHz the range …

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Coat

how about using the kinetic energy of the button press?

There exist already wireless buttons to switch on the light, where the energy put in pushing the knob is used to transmit (range +/- 2m last time I checked). There exist scales that use the weight being put o to operate (they do need a push in advance to calibrate zero)

So why not a remote that does this?

mine is the one with the royalties contract in the left pocket

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Anonymous Coward

Hardly useless

Fantastic! Having the whole home cinema equipment at a very annoying angle to the rest of the room would definitely become a problem solved.

I wish I could use this already!

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Boffin

No No No

1st: 433MHz is an extremely busy area... the last thing we want it a 2W transmitter (which can cause interference at up to 15 miles in some places).

2nd: Why not put the power source in the sofa? That's where people will want to use the remote so it should work better there.

3rd: If it would run for so long on a coin cell, why not use a rechargable cell of some form and have an inductive charging mat (that could be solar powered... even indoors; it doesn't need much juice after all)?

I bet it was designed on a mac... that'd account for such serious flaws!

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Silver badge
Stop

My mum was right

Telly does fry your brains.

I need a tin foil hat to stop the telly from making me watch 'Loose Women'.

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Coat

Only if you want your TV changed randomly

The 433mhz band is smack in the UK Amateur radio allocation of the 70cm band.

So what does this mean for you, well if you happen to have a licensed amateur radio user in the neighbourhood who is chatting with his mate across town you could very well have your tv changing channel quite randomly.

The output of the RFID should be low enough that this does not cause a problem to the radio ham but inadequate shielding and faulty components have a habit of often doing very strange things.

I would hope ofcom would force them to use a different frequency or have adequate shielding in place that the electronics involved would not react to 70 watts FM of amateur transmitted signal

Mines the one with the Amateur radio in the pocket

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Thumb Up

Why not

use that Inductive Table idea? That way you can recharge your phone & remote controls and use near-field comms (or Bluetooth) to connect the phone to your home network (so you can stick more music/movies on it, turn the kettle on without having to stand up, etc)

Or use it to power your wireless game controllers (and I think everyone with these knows how annoying it is when they run out of power just before that final corner or that final headshot!)?

Also, if it's beaming out 2W every few seconds then that's less than 1W of average power. Spread out over a room. Which is vastly less than a mobile phone- which anyone non-New Age accepts are fairly harmless.

So anyway, this could be a good idea if applied to more than just remote controls.

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What I really need...

..is a thinner remote.

Still the same width and height as a normal remote, of course, so that the buttons remain a usable size, but just a few mm thick.

That'll make it much easier to find when it decides to hide somewhere, and much stronger and more rigid when it gets leant/sat/stepped accidentally.

Also, a nice flat keypad would make it far easier to find the buttons without having to look than with those nasty sticky-up ones we have at the moment.

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Err...

I bought my telly in 1995, the batteries in the remote first needed replacing some time in 2001, I haven't been arsed to work it out, but I'll go out on a limb and suggest that having a 2w energy field permanently powered is going to use rather a lot more energy. Also, an RFID system is always going to cost more than a IR system, the most expensive part of an IR system is the bit of red (but looks black) plastic in front of the IR LED.

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Stu
Pirate

2Watts? Wow.

>> at least for those prepared to bathe their living room in a two-watt energy field.

I thought walking outside on a sunny day (like today) exposes your skin to more energy than 2 watts! Not to mention your common or garden WiFi transceiver emitting its electromagnetic radiation, and a whole variety of mobile tech, sat right on your lap transmitting EMR adds to that. I'm sure thats of a higher energy.

Such scaremongering is not welcome here!

But I agree its a bit of a silly idea for TV remotes, I like my IR remote control, proven technology. Perhaps it could be used with some application a bit more substantial than changing channels! Sounds more like an industrial remote control thing to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Clockwork remote

All your power needs. And a little bit of exercise!

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seems a little wasteful

in the choice between power only when i press a button, and power all the time, i'll choose the former. my electricity bills are high enough as it is. A couple of batteries every 5-10 years is significantly cheaper than a 2W energy field, even if it's only on when the tv is.

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Anonymous Coward

Power consumption

With all the talk about standby power these days, I'd have thought people might be better designing (and marketing) devices that use virtually no power when on standby, which can't be difficult to make..

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Silver badge

Its a bit excessive

Generate a field like that because some people cant be bothered with changing the batteries every few years.

And not as environmentally friendly.

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Flame

@Stu

Your wifi transmits more than 2 watts?

Are you trying to be a hotspot for the whole neighborhood maybe?

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Virgin Media remotes

Those buggers eat batteries like there's no tomorrow.

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Thumb Down

What about next door?

I used to live in a block of council flats with neighbours at all four sides and four corners. Just imagine the chaos. Being council properties and very poor residents, of course, everyone always had the latest and greatest gadgets. Never did work out how... I wasn't there that long myself...

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Pirate

Stupid, wasteful, idiotic ...

... over-engineered solution to non-problem.

>"a rechargeable version could exist, or one powered with a button cell which it reckons should give ten years of life in normal use."

All that, just to save replacing one tiny battery every ten years? Sledgehammer, meet nut. What's the lifespan of a modern telly, anyway?

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Re: what about next door

If it's like the RF (but battery-powered) remote I have, you have to set it up first by programming the remote with the serial number of the box to be controlled. The gadget-under-control then only responds to commands for it's serial number.

As for this scheme of using RFID instead of plain RF/IR+battery, I have to agree that a better justification than not needing to buy a battery every 5 years seems likely to be needed.

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@clockwork remote

Brilliant! Infinitely better than the RFID idea. What I want to see, though, is a tv powered by a treadmill.

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@clockwork remote

Just like my grand-dad's automatic watch, 68 years old and I still haven't changed the battery, uhh, wound it, uhh...

I say a clockwork/rechargeable remote powered by the bass notes from the overpowered stereo in the neighbor's council flat/car.

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Stop

Won't fly in the US anyway...

2W is far more power than the FCC would allow for such a device. As it would have to operate under the Part 15 rules for intentional radiators, it couldn't generate more than a few milliwatts.

The inductive pad is a much better method... and is already being used.

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Stop

Photocell and capacitor remote?

Like the calculators? How much energy does an IR emitter need to emit a pulse? It can charge up from the room light, unless you sit in the dark (and risk eyestrain), and if you are an inveterate channel-hopper, the capacitors will keep running down and making you bloody well stop it. In other words, the idea has no downsides.

Or how about a pietzoelectric squeeze remote?

But seriously, the batteries in most remotes last for ages.

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