A custom movie-watching remote control.

Clara's Remote

One day a few months ago, my three-year-old daughter Clara and I were sitting in the living room watching a movie. We needed to pause it for some reason. I was working on teaching her to use the remote, so she tried it. But there were so many buttons on our two remotes, she always had a hard time finding the right one. And when she did find it, there were some books on the table in the way, so the infrared signal didn’t get through. After I explained that, she picked it up and pointed it at the TV, from inches away. But the DVD player is near the floor, and the TV’s higher up, so the receiver still couldn’t see. On the next try, the door to the TV hutch, which we have to prop open, got closed, so the signal STILL couldn’t get through. Who knows whether she was still pressing the right button at this point.

So I said, “Hey… Would you like me to make you your own special remote control, that would have just the buttons you need, and that you wouldn’t have to point anywhere?” She said yes. read more...

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