Edge of Innovation

This is what the future of the remote control looks like

“Our vision is to create a remote control that is more than just a way of operating the devices you use each day — we want to make this remote control a design object that you actually want in your home. The average household has three remote controls with a total of 120 buttons, but in reality, we only ever use a couple of these buttons. We want to prove that a remote control doesn’t actually need any buttons at all,” says Mathijs Vaessen, one of the three founders of SPIN remote. Featuring no buttons at all, SPIN remote is a complete break away from what most of us would term a ‘remote control’: The SPIN remote has a highly polished, rounded shape with a color-changing LED on the base. “We came up with the concept quite some time ago, but the chips and sensors needed to make it work have only recently become affordable.”

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How does it work? You can use the integrated motion sensors and a touchpad on the base to set SPIN remote to do exactly what you want it to. Pick it up and turn it to the right to turn up the volume on your TV, or put it on the table and turn it to the left to switch back to the previous channel. These are just some of the ways you can use your SPIN remote — you can customize the device and personalize the gestures to suit you via the app.

Kickstarter

SPIN remote (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spinremote/spin-remote-the-simplest-most-personal-remote-ever) is well on the way to reaching its crowd funding goal of EUR 100,000. Prices on Kickstarter start from EUR 69 (30% cheaper than the recommended retail price). The beta version will be available in July, followed by the final product in September.

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The chance to be one of the first companies to discuss potential partnerships with the SPIN remote team features prominently in the Kickstarter campaign, and two have already snapped up this opportunity at EUR 5000 each. Vaessen will only find out the names of the companies once the campaign has ended. The startup may well attract the interest of other companies too. “We’ve applied to register a number of patents — for possible new functions as well as for the current prototype.”

Smart home

SPIN remote connects your existing infrared equipment to your smart home. It can also talk to your smart devices via Bluetooth and uses the app to link to everything else. “We will keep adding new devices, and our ultimate intention is to release an open API so developers can work with SPIN remote themselves.”

The team is also keen to see SPIN remote launched in retail stores. “Large retail chains are dedicating more and more space to products relating to smart homes and home automation, and we want to see our solution among these products. The number of smart devices with their own apps is growing; the beauty of SPIN remote is that people will be able to operate all these different devices with just one simple, beautifully designed product.”

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Skype with South Africa

The three Dutch developers of SPIN remote will spend the next few months refining the product, including working on the touchpad on the underside to add five touch-sensitive areas, which could be used as navigation buttons. Pressing and holding the touchpad will release additional functions. “If you pick up the SPIN remote and turn it over, you can operate the touchpad with your thumb,” explains Vaessen.

Planning for hardware production is already underway. “The molds have been made and the production version of the motherboard is ready. Cofounder Ruud de Vaal, one of our technical specialists, has plenty of experience in developing hardware.” De Vaal currently lives in South Africa. “The time difference at the moment is only one hour, so we have Skype running all the time.”

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