We've become a remote-controlled world. When was the last time you actually pressed a button on your HDTV or Blu-ray player? Of course, this means when you're caught with dead batteries, you have to wrestled with your gadgets just to change the channel. Fortunately, NEC and Soundpower have developed a prototype remote control that doesn't need any batteries; it gets all of its power from button presses. Using a mechanism developed by Soundpower, the remote uses the very force of pressing a button to power the circuit linked to that button, so when you hit "volume up," your thumb is providing just enough juice to send the volume up signal to the television.
According to Tech-On, NEC and Soundpower hope to have a commercial version of the remote ready by 2011.
Unfortunately, this technology probably won't be used in high-end remotes or custom installations any time soon. While button-press remotes are fine for individual devices and small systems, most complicated set-ups are best served by a screen-equipped remote that can use its display to either (in button-equipped remotes) offer many more times the functionality but giving buttons multiple uses through a menu or (in touchscreen remotes) completely replace the buttons altogether. Good luck powering an LCD screen just by tapping it with a finger.
— Will Greenwald
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.