A meta-meta device to uncover the true meaning of consumer electronics devices.


Jonah Brucker-Cohen


“Remote Control Remote Control” is a meta-meta consumer electronics device that attempts to uncover the implicit meaning and reason or “need” of these types of devices. The project consists of a secondary remote control that controls the primary remote used for a specific consumer electronics device such as a television or home stereo. Since we typically lose these remote control devices under couch cushions or buried under debris in our living rooms or dens, the project places the legitimate remote control securely on a pedestal and with some custom circuitry, allows a secondary remote to “remotely” control the first remote. Thus there is no possibility of losing the primary remote control since it remains stationed or tethered to one location at all times. The physical placement of the remote on a pedestal in the space attempts to give visual significance to these daily-use consumer devices and objects and attempt to uncover our seemingly inherent attachment to them and the control they enable.


There are many different types of devices that only exist to assist in the use of other devices. The typical television “remote control” is one of these devices that was invented to allow physical proximity to a specified object to lose importance when someone wanted to change or influence it’s settings. Since this piece of technology has become a ubiquitous aspect of the typical consumer electronics lifestyle, the amount of these devices that inhabit typical home environments has grown exponentially since they were initially introduced in the 1950s. We have remote controls for televisions, VCRs, DVD players, stereo components, air conditioners, and many other portable or stationary devices. Since these devices are often small and mobile by nature, they typically get a lot of abuse by their users and are frequently lost within the living room environment. “Remote Control Remote Control” specifically addresses the “losing” of typical household remote control devices and the grief that is typically associated with this loss. Since these devices provide a window into the world (for instance to turn on or off the television) they are often regarded with a large sense of importance and coveted in the household.


The system consists of two identical remote controls for the same device. One of the remotes is augmented with extra circuitry to read the incoming IR signals from the second remote and translate them into switching the buttons on the secured remote. This could be accomplished a few different ways: 1) using relays to trigger the secured remote’s buttons or 2.) a robotic arm or plotter that moves in a grid formation to press the buttons on the primary remote when a signal is sent from the secondary remote.

Mockup of system: