Sevenhugs’ new Smart Remote is going to solve your remote problems. Or at least that’s what the company says it will do. It’s designed to make it easy to control all of the devices in your home from one place. And it’s not like any other universal remote you might have seen before.
A compact, oval-shaped device, the Smart Remote does away with all of the buttons and complexity of other universal remotes. It uses a simple touchscreen interface and a neat trick I’ve not seen elsewhere: just point the Smart Remote at the device you want to control and it automatically identifies it and provides the right set of controls.
The Smart Remote can control smart TVs, smart home gadgets, wireless speakers, lights, and more. Using the Smart Remote is incredibly simple and intuitive: there’s no more mode switching or menu diving when you want to adjust the Sonos and then immediately turn on the lights. Just point the remote at the device you want to control and it just changes as you need it to.
The Smart Remote relies on three, small wall-mounted sensors and its own internal motion tracking to orient itself. You then use the companion smartphone app to program where devices are in your room. Point it at the light and adjust its brightness, then point it at the TV and turn on something to watch. You can even point the remote at a window to get a weather forecast or at the door to call an Uber. It’s also able to adjust multiple devices at once via custom scenes programmed through the app.
In a brief demo with preproduction hardware, the Smart Remote worked as advertised. I pointed it at Philips Hue and LIFX lights and was able to control their brightness and color immediately. Pointing it at a smart TV instantly pulled up the television controls, while pointing it at a Sonos speaker let me adjust playback there. It’s an impressive and very cool experience.
Sevenhugs says the Smart Remote is able to control over 25,000 devices, whether they rely on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or infrared. It is also providing an SDK and API for developers to add support for other devices.
If you want one, you’ll have to wait a bit, however. Sevenhugs is launching a crowdfunding campaign today where you’ll be able to preorder the remote for $99, with delivery due in June of next year. The device is expected to hit retail stores in fall 2017 with a price of $299.