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October 9, 2015

A universal remote that can control everything, maybe even the universe

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 23rd 2009 9:02AM
An old Zenith remote controlEvery TV addict has that moment when they throw themselves on the couch and muster enough courage to overcome their body fat, gravity and the risk of doing a full sit-up to reach for the remote.

But then comes that feeling of sheer dread when your hand, reaching as far as your arm will allow, grabs nothing but air. Your eyes dart around the room, first scanning the immediate area that doesn't require you to get up from the contoured indent left by your ever-expanding ass. Finally, you find it ... clear across the room. You have discovered the remote control's one and only modern flaw.

Don't fret. Scientists across the globe have been putting their swine flu vaccine and obesity epidemic research projects aside and working on improving TV remote technology. That idea for a miracle virus cure never materialized but, thankfully, they've perfected the remote control.

The CRiSTAL (Control of Remotely Interfaced Systems using Touch-based Actions in Living spaces) research project has created a touch screen coffee table that not only operates your TV, but also everything else in your TV viewing room that can be turned on. I guess that means it can't control your wife. Ha! Kelly Ripa'd! (snap)

With one swipe of your finger, you can control the tint of the lighting in your living room, change the pictures in the frames on your wall, and even order your vacuum cleaner to clean up everything from spilled dip to dropped snacks. And of course, it can control just about every facet of your home theater system from the channel to the volume, and even play your collection of DVDs and digital movies, all from the comfort of your living room couch.

Unfortunately, like all new forms of technology, it does have a major flaw. It doesn't come with its own remote to operate it. I'm sure they are working on that for the next patch upgrade.

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