Remember back in the good ol’ days when you could just switch on your TV and random entertainment would appear? While you can still do that, you also have to deal with commercials and not being able to watch exactly what you want at any time of the day or night. Streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku take the guesswork out of things, but if you want to use an actual computer, you’re normally left using a keyboard and mouse for navigation.
While not a big deal for some, YouTube hacker Kevin Darrah decided to make a gadget to let him surf streaming channels with the actual remote that came with his TV, based on the ATmega32U4 microcontroller. Unlike the Arduino Uno’s ATmega328P, the ’32U4 found on the Arduino Leonardo, Pro Micro, and various other board can act as a native USB HID device, emulating a keyboard and mouse. Add the appropriate IR detector to signal the a MCU’s input via remote control, and it can virtually activate the proper keyboard inputs in response to operate entertainment streams.
As the bulk of the builds hardware consists of only a ’32U4 breakout and IR detector, most of the video below is spent explaining the code, available here for your perusal. For another take on USB input using the 32U4’s HID capabilities, check out this auxiliary rotary device meant for volume adjustment, and perhaps even a bit of gaming.