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Your next universal remote could be an iPad

The RedEye Mini from Thinkflood transforms your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, into a multifunction IR remote control. Did we mention it's cheap?

Photo of the RedEye Mini IR dongle for iPhone.
The RedEye Mini transforms an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch into a full-featured IR remote. ThinkFlood

The world of universal remotes, IR blasters, and signal repeaters is an automated, macho technoscape of high-priced components and intimidating remote controls. But if the complexities (or price) of something like Logitech's mind-blowing Harmony 900 super remote are more likely to induce a panic attack than a stream of drool, a $49 adapter made for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad might be a more ideal match for you.

Photo of the RedEye Mini adapter for iPhone and iPad.
The RedEye Mini hardware consists of a simple headphone port adapter.

The RedEye Mini boils down the essential hardware components of a universal remote control into an inch-long plastic tube that fits in your headphone jack. Remote navigation features such as buttons, channel guide, device selection, and even macros, are all left to a free app running on your connected iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

RedEye Mini's masterminds at ThinkFlood tried their hands at an IR remote solution for the iPhone late last year (the original RedEye), but the product was hampered by two drawbacks: it was too expensive at $188; and it worked indirectly over a Wi-Fi base station, making multiroom systems even more expensive.

Unlike its predecessor, the RedEye Mini transmits infrared signals directly and takes its power directly from the host device. The free RedEye app includes remote codes for the majority of IR-compatible components (TVs, Blu-ray players, DVD players, home theater receivers, Xbox 360, etc.), and also includes the capability of learning remote codes on the fly.

Beyond the touch-screen buttons and channel guide, users can also control features such as channels and volume using swiping gestures or accelerometer cues. If you want to use a custom macro to turn on all your home theater gear when you shake your iPad or iPhone--in theory, it's possible.

In summary, the RedEye Mini promises to replace your crazy pile of remote controls for the price of a $49 headphone jack adapter. The ability to search IMDB on the same device that turns on your DVD player...priceless.

Expect to see the RedEye Mini for sale this Spring.