A design exploration of human gesture and artistic expression for tangible interaction


Over the past few years, we have seen multi-touch screens and interactions dominate the range of commercially available human computer interfaces. The emergence of the smart home, which attempts to modernize and automate the day to day home tasks using technology, has become increasingly sought after. As well as this, the modern-day television has evolved from a television set used for entertainment into a multi-function computer at the center of our homes.


In an attempt to re-discover the affordances of real physical controls, this project entails building a complex, multi-channel controller based on the open source Arduino architecture. The project aims to replace that stack of old remotes that are ever present in any household, replacing them with a simplified, ‘one for-all’ universal remote. The end goal was to have a controller – which places an emphasis on these affordances – which are key components of any good design. This controller will attempt to modernize some daily tasks, as well as improve efficiency and effectiveness. The project incorporates the 12 most important buttons on a remote control – which was uncovered from my prior research – in order to keep the remote simple whilst also effective, as well as the main switch for choosing the required system.


The final objective of this project was to step outside of my comfort zone. As someone with little knowledge of both coding and electronics, I felt that creating a working controller using an Arduino, Electronics and C++ was a big challenge – but one which would benefit me as to broadening my range of skills, whilst also allowing me to make use of my pre-existing, more frequently used skills.

The project is built with Infrared technology (IR) and therefore can control any systems which uses IR communication and was coded on Arduino’s own ‘Arduino IDE’ platform using C++ functions. A rotary encoder is used to switch between devices that you would like the remote to control, and pushbuttons are used for the physical buttons. LEDs are also used for both the transmission of IR signals and feedback on what is happening with the device.

Date Published:
Tuesday, 31 August 2021