Remote controls of the future

Are these the challengers of the current remote control?

One of the biggest annoyances in our technology driven world must be the remote control. It always has to many buttons and feels like it comes from the stone age. We don’t know why the remote hasn’t been challenged until now, but we did find some challengers for the future.

One of them is the Apple Remote, designed by Jason Roebuck. His idea was to create a device that is pleasurable to look at, even when it’s not used. Every member of the family has his or her own apple, which contains personal settings… like favorite shows, volume, etc. When a family member picks his Apple from the container the TV is automatically set up accordingly (I wonder what happens if several apples are taken). The apple has sensors which detect movement, by doing this you can control the TV.

I have to admit that the concept still has a lot of flaws and open ends, but that’s just one part. On the other side the concept of your own remote control is really interesting. I can imagine that it also holds the key to my recorded movies. I personally find the choice for an apple really interesting. Because it then becomes an art object which I don’t have to hide anymore.

The other remote control was designed as a graduation project for Bang & Olufsen, by Dutch designer Joris van Gelder. The idea was to create a remote control that could be used in the kitchen, without having to actually touch the device. This resulted in a beautiful concept that is beter viewed then explained:

What makes this concept remote so interesting is the elegance. You get the feeling that it is thinking for you by moving alongside your hand movements. It almost seems like you are making hand gestures in thin air, without being aware of the device.

Hopefully these, or other concepts, will become reality in the near future. It would be interesting when the current remote will finally be challenged.

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

One comment on this article

  1. victor on

    In 2003, Sergio Paolantonio at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea presented a project that seems extremely similar to this one. You can check a brief article on it here: