My iPhone as a Remote: Controlling the Universe One Device at a Time

I’ve been using my iPhone as a remote control for years now. I can set up my DVR from work if I’m going to miss my favorite TV shows, I can turn on the lights in my house (my wife loves when I decide to mess with her), I can start, lock and unlock my car and I can change the song coming through my jukebox from anywhere in the house. But, there are two new things that you can control remotely with an iPhone that I think are pretty interesting.

There are also some things that I wishI could control with my iPhone that they haven’t thought of yet.

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Wouldn’t it be cool if you could point your phone at your windshield, press a button and traffic automatically parts for you?  Maybe that same app allows you to press another button to pelt that jackwagon who just cut you off with rotten vegetables and fire.

Boo-ya! What’s up now?

All kidding aside though, there are some pretty cool things you can do by iPhone remote control these days!

Take a picture!

Hook a Canon EOS DSLR camera to a computer via USB, install some proprietary software, and you can remotely control the mode settings, fire the shutter release, and see through your camera’s viewfinder. Put that computer on a network and you can do it all over the Internet or Wi-Fi from another device.

Nikon is doing it now too, but the latest flagship has a dedicated Ethernet interface--you don’t have to have it tethered to a computer!  Instead the Nikon has a built-in web server you can just browse to with your device and control the settings with no additional software required. Go check it out for yourself!

This makes camera geeks absolutely giddy with excitement.

Control a washing machine?

Samsung has just come out with a Wi-Fi enabled washer and dryer concept. I’m not terribly sure how practical this is, but it’s kind of neat to think that I could stay connected to my laundry from wherever I am in the house. That way, I don’t have to keep schlepping down the basement stairs to see if the spin cycle is over yet. My phone can just tell me when it’s time to get down there and switch loads. It would also be cool to turn off the dryer if I decide that I need to make an emergency coffee run or go for a spin on my bike. You should never leave the house with the dryer running, you know. It’s very bad, iPhone Life-ers.

Now if Samsung could figure out a way to get the loads to switch themselves, fold and put the stuff away, that would be sweet.

Keep an eye on the grill

This one I actually have and it’s a favorite. It’s called iGrill and it’s an app enabled Bluetooth wireless thermometer. Right?!? It pretty much saves me from burning stuff on the grill. Why is it either still clucking or a charred mess by the time a regular timer says it’s done?  Well, it doesn’t matter because I have iGrill now and I can totally just throw stuff on there and walk away to enjoy a nice cold one with company. We never wind up ordering emergency pizza anymore.

Control the Tee-Vee…and the tablet, and the home theater…

This is another one I’m currently enjoying.RedEye has been around since 2009, but it keeps evolving with lots of free software updates, so there’s always something new it can do. Right now I use it to control my home theater, but you can use it to operate any networked device like a tablet or a PC. 

So basically, if the iPhone-as-remote-control trend keeps going, we’re going to be able to control the universe with our iPhones one day. Until then, we still have to do some things the old fashioned way.

Now where did I put that bucket of rotten vegetables…?


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