We’ve already seen there are several solutions to control IR appliances such as air conditioners or (dumb) televisions via your smartphone thanks to solutions such as ZaZa Remote that adds an IR transmitter to your 3.5mm audio jack or more recently via your USB-C port.
If you don’t quite like having extra hardware connected to your smartphone WiFi to Infrared bridges such as the compact and omnidirectional Broadlink RM Mini 3 are cost-effective solutions, although you’d need one in every room where you wish to control appliances. I’ve recently noticed an even smaller “smartphone to IR” solution with PUCK v2 Bluetooth to IR bridge.
The full technical details about PUCK 2 have not been made available, but we do know it’s a Bluetooth 4.2 to infrared remote bridge that transforms any iOS or Android device into a remote.
The infrared LED has a range of about 4.5 meters, while Bluetooth works up to 30 meters. All you have to do is place PUCK near the device(s) you want to control, and install the free PUCK Remote App for iOS or Android. While it’s unidirectional a single PUCK could still be used for multiple devices. Version 2.0 has more memory, as well as a longer IR range and battery life.
The main draw of such gadget is that you can control all your compatible appliances with your phone, and don’t need to look out for the remote control, and that’s exactly why “SmashToast” designed PUCK (v2) since his daughter would hide the Apple TV and soundbar remotes. But there’s a use case that I had never thought about: healthcare. Remote controls come with physical buttons that can be hard to press for people with limited finger strength due to spinal cord injuries for instance, and PUCK Remote app allows you to do that with an easier to use touchscreen, or using voice control as you can watch in the video below.
PUCK v2 Bluetooth to IR bridge is sold on Tindie for $14.95 plus shipping. For reference, Broadlink RM Mini 3 is sold for $15.95 on Banggood, and a bit more on Amazon US. Reviews for the Broadlink device are mixed due to the Android & iOS app however.