Those "universal remote controls" that control just your home entertainment center? They might need a new name. Meet the Sevenhugs Smart Remote, which not only controls your TV, but also your Nest thermostat, Philips Hue lights, Sonos speakers and, well, nearly 25,000 different connected devices. Not only that, but thanks to infrared, internal position sensors and an open API, you can even order an Uber by pointing at your front door. Yeah, no kidding.
Sevenhugs launched its Smart Remote on Kickstarter in November last year, and a month later, it had over 6,000 backers and earned over a million dollars in funding. And no wonder: Sevenhugs’ tiny handheld promises to be a smart remote for everything. Its 3.53-inch screen adapts to whatever device it’s pointing at. Aim it at your Samsung Smart TV, for example, and it’ll let you scroll through your subscribed channel list. Point it at your Philips Hue lamp instead, and you can turn it on and off or change its color.
The remote uses WiFi, Bluetooth and Infrared to connect to most home entertainment and IoT gadgets. But the real magic comes with motion tracking and indoor position sensors that you can put throughout your home. Map those sensors to specific functions using the Sevenhugs app, and you can trigger certain actions by pointing the remote at it. So place one at your front door, map it to Uber or Lyft and it will bring up a special car-ordering display thanks to Sevenhugs’ open API. Place a sensor by the window and it can check the weather when you aim the remote at it.
You can even create so-called custom scenes and control different devices at the same time. For example, you could trigger a "date night" scene and have the lights dimmed and the TV switch over to Netflix for a romantic evening in. And if you ever lose the remote, no problem; the app has a "Lost & Found" button so you can easily find it.
The Smart Remote is available for pre-order now for $229, though it will cost $300 when it hits stores later this year. Each order comes with one smart remote, a case, a charging base (it apparently lasts between a couple days and a few weeks depending on use) plus three room sensors.
Richard Lawler contributed to this report.
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