View Full Version : Remote Control Boe - Bot with iPod?

03-19-2010, 12:35 AM
A·couple of months ago I took my 9 year old sons on a tour of the DU's Robotics department. The tour was great and the staff inspired my kids to further explore robots. So,·we have started building the Boe-Bot Robot. And, the next kit we plan on ordering is the "IR Remote for the Boe-Bot Parts". Because, one of my sons has been inspired by one of the incredible tour guides at DU to program his iPod Touch to be the remote control for a robot. And, the IR Remote kit seemed like the next logical step towards his goal.

Does anyone have any tips or websites we can use in reaching his end goal? Is it possible with the Boe-Bot to use a 3rd party remote control device?

Simple is better given their age and attention span. But, I can always take a complex topic and translate it into something they can understand. And, any other "cool" suggestions to inspire my kids with are always welcome.

Mike Green
03-19-2010, 12:49 AM
Read the "IR Remote for the BoeBot" tutorial which you can download from Parallax. That will explain some of the details about IR remote controls and the various protocols in use. Parallax's IR Remote Kit includes a 3rd party remote control and is intended for remote control of a BotBot. Depending on the specifics of other 3rd party remote controls, they also may work with the Kit.

Using an iPod Touch may be problematic. The iPod Touch doesn't include an IR interface. I believe there are some 3rd party devices available that allow you to use the iPod Touch as an IR remote. The sample code included in the Kit is designed to receive IR from a Sony remote control. If an iPod Touch can be made to appear like a Sony remote control, it too can be used with the Parallax Kit.

Here are some examples that I found with a websearch:

uiremote.wordpress.com/ (http://uiremote.wordpress.com/)
ipodtouchtricks.net/ipod-touch-accessories/universal-ir-remote-for-ipod-touchiphone-redeye-mini/ (http://ipodtouchtricks.net/ipod-touch-accessories/universal-ir-remote-for-ipod-touchiphone-redeye-mini/)

03-19-2010, 01:06 AM
Thanks for such a quick reply. This information is really helpful. Now I know what to search for. And, what we should think about as we are going through the "IR Remote for the Boe-Bot" tutorial. And, when we complete the iPod Touch goal, we will post our project. This could be another year, since we are trying to fit the Boe-Bot in between homework and sports.

Thanks again!

03-19-2010, 07:45 AM
I'm completely missing what the attraction is to use iPods & iPhones as remote controls. Everyone except me is wild to do this. It seems like a long way around. A simple IR remote is cheap & quick, and all the groundwork is done, proven and VERY easily incorporated. When I first added a $3 IR sensor to a Stamp project, I was AMAZED how it opened up the possibilities for remote control. IR remotes are cheap, small, lightweight, batteries last forever, and can be very ergonomic. Many are shaped to fit nicely in your hand, and the rubbery buttons give your fingers real tactile feel and feedback. They are user-friendly and always ready to go. Now specifically, what is gained by using an iPod instead of a cheap IR remote? Is it more than a shiny new GUI? Or are people just out to show how versatile their iPhones are to rationalize buying them?

I get that everyone loves to use techy buzzwords: HiFi WiFi Bluetooth HiRes HiDef HD virtual Wiimote dongle Xbee Zigbee etc. And people love to say "I have the app for that..."

But just adding hardware to support the "protocol de jour" doesn't change anything about how your Boebot or other item functions. In most cases, we're talking about controlling a nearby object in line-of-sight range, which is what a $5 universal remote does really well and better and cheaper than most others. It seems to me that unless a different controller (iPod, iPhone, Wii-mote or God forbid an always-on host PC) gives you amazing new useful features like full macros or autonomous behavior, that requiring their use instead of an IR remote is more of a step backwards.

Please share your differing opinions, I'm sure I'm missing something.

·"If you build it, they will come."

03-19-2010, 08:17 AM
I think it has something to do with that phrase "there's an app for that"
Now if parallax had iphone/android IDE's for the stamp and prop really would expand the world of parallax.

Arguing with myself--sometimes me, myself, and I don't always agree.
(Former) Caterpillar product support technician

03-19-2010, 11:18 PM
I am sure there are many reasons why people are attracted to using the iPods & iPhones for remote controls. For my son, his interest in the iPod started off as either "shiny"/GUI and, or "all the other kids have one." And, he is too young to want to tell people ""I have an app for that..."·He does not want to share it with his classmates. Because he has made it very clear that he does not want to be known as one of those smart kids. For him it is as simple as thinking that it would be a fun thing to do.

Why he likes his iPod is not as important as using this as·opportunity to·motivate him.·The iPod Touch has given my son·a new found interest in music. And, he would love to learn to program them.·Even though he can use the remote that comes with the IR kit, I will highly encourage him to try to find out how to transfer that knowledge to the iPod Touch. It will be a great learning experience.

Personally, I think it would be fun to navigate the Boe - Bot by using the iPod tilt functionality. It may not be as responsive as an old fashion remote. But, it would be a fun challenge. In our family it is just a matter of being curious. But, I am sure that there are others out there looking for fame and cash. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as they keep the new "shiny" toys coming.

03-22-2010, 11:48 AM
Isn't the whole piont of the parallax microcontrollers and kits to inspire learning? Who cares what or why someone is interested in something, if you have knowlage to help them then do so. I'm sorry I don't have more to add to this post but I too would be interested to hear more about the possibilities of using the iPod touch with the BS2.

Post Edited (rh3d) : 3/22/2010 6:12:03 AM GMT

03-22-2010, 10:43 PM
rh3d said...
Who cares what or why someone is interested in something, if you have knowlage to help them then do so
I don't see anyone here not helping, just discussing the abundance of ipod/iphone apps and their appeal. Sometimes people ask for something that will be hard to accomplish the way they wanted to do it but there is an easier way that will get them the results they want. If they still want to do it the hard way people here will help them if they can.

- Stephen

Peter KG6LSE
03-22-2010, 11:31 PM
I just want to see a PBASIC and SPIN editor for the Ipod OS / and WEBOS..

But back on topic .

the only way I could guess to interface a BS2 is Via BlueTooth with a BT serial adapter .

EDIT : I have a program called portabella for the Palm that I use to send Serial data all the time Via IR and Serial .

Peter KG6LSE

"Carpe Ducktum" "seize the tape!!"
peterthethinker.com/tesla/Venom/Venom.html (http://peterthethinker.com/tesla/Venom/Venom.html)
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. —Tanenbaum, Andrew S.

Post Edited (Peter KG6LSE) : 3/22/2010 4:39:26 PM GMT

03-23-2010, 01:32 AM
erco said...
I'm completely missing what the attraction is to use iPods & iPhones as remote controls. Everyone except me is wild to do this...

Not everyone!

Rich H

The Simple Servo Tester, a kit from Gadget Gangster. (http://www.gadgetgangster.com/206)