Controlling Cool Electronic Stuff with your iPhone

The new Sonos[iTunes Link] Controller for iPhone app has really got me thinking about all the cool things we are going to be able to do with the iPhone. I’ve compiled this list of things you can manipulate with your iPhone.

Controlling your Car

Delphi has come up with a really cool app that lets your lock and unlock your car, power automatic doors, and even remote start your car.  Although it is just a concept, it was demo’d at CES 2008 working with a GMC Acadia vehicle.  It works with a blue-tooth enabled key fob that can work from up to a mile a way. This software also allows users to monitor and control several aspect’s of a vehicle’s system, including temperature, tire pressure, gas levels, oil levels, and can detect break ins.

Controlling What You Watch on TV

I already wrote about controlling your DirecTV DVR to setup recordings, but you can also control Tivo interface.

Believe it or not, You Can Use Your iPhone to Fly an Aircraft

The clever folks at UC Berkeley have developed a system to issue commands to unmanned aerial vehicles using a device we all know and love: the iPhone.

While the iPhone is specifically restricted from piloting the drones themselves, the team uses Mobile Safari on the iPhone to enter coordinates and select tasks for its airborne fleet. A web server then relays the tasks to the aircraft mid-flight.

The video shows, in real time, an exercise where a remote-controlled airplane is instructed to photograph a particular area underneath it. The photo is then transmitted wirelessly back to a workstation at ground control.

Controlling Your Home

There have been several different home automation applications for the iPhone.  iPhone Home Controller lets an iPhone User set up a home automation scheme using x10 automation hardware and a Safari/iPhone/iTouch optimized web interface controller.  Crestons Home Automation iPhone Application elegantly enables wired home owners to control lighting, temperature and all sorts of other things via WiFi or 3G, at home or anywhere else in the world. Users can even program in settings for multiple houses, enabling them to turn the AC on in Orlando while blasting the heat in Jackson Hole. You can get the source code for a home grown X-10 iPhone app as well.

Controlling your Bathomatic Bubble Bath Tub

You can even regulate the bubbles in your whirlpool tub with an iPhone.  Now that is luxury.

Controlling a Radio Controlled Car

A guy having fun figured out how to use the iPhone to control his RC Car. He set up an interface and leveraged the accelerometer to steer it.

Controlling your Music At Home

Sonos is a wireless digital music player that plays digital music files from your PC or networked hard drive anywhere in the home. The Sonos Controller for iPhone™ is a free application that turns your iPhone (or iPod® touch) into a full-fledged Sonos Controller. I am really excited because I have been eyeing their system for years but didn’t want to spend the $900. Their new iPhone app will let me buy just the ZonePlayer Base and I can use our iPhones and iTouches to control it around the house.

Remote, the well known free Apple app that lets you control iTunes and pipe music throughout your house. I described how to do this here.

Controlling your Music Jam

There are iPhone Applications that use your iPhone / iTouch touch as new generation midi controller for your favorite audio DAW or VJ performance tool.  iTM MCU [iTunes Link] is the latest iTM release Mackie Control Emulation for your iPhone or iPod touch ITMMidi [iTunes Link]. ProRemote [iTunes Link] is a product that runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch that uses your existing wireless network to control professional audio products such as Digidesign’s ProTools and Apple’s Logic Music production systems.These apps free you up so that you can sit at your instrument and make changes to your setup without stopping and walking across the room every few minutes.

Control Your Computer

There are several apps that let you remotely control your home or work computer with your iPhone. Jaadu VNC [iTunes Link], formerly known as Touchpad Pro, lets you wirelessly control your PC or Mac through your iPhone or iPod Touch. You can use it to advance slides in a presentation, control your media center, check e-mail — whatever a regular touchpad and keyboard can do. It’s got various features that you really have to see to believe. With ScreenView, you can now see what’s happening on your screen and control your computer even if you’re miles away. Watch the video to learn more!  It is a bit pricey at $24.99 but a lot more expensive that one of these presentation remote controllers they sell in office supply shops.  Also available in the App Store are Mocha VNC, and Mocha VNC lite. If you’ve jailbroken your phone, you can use Cydia to get Veency, a very robust useful VNC application to reverse this, i.e., control and view your iPhone from your computer.

Controlling your Digital Picture Frames

Now that Wifi digital picture frames are becoming more available, I expect to see more of this, but right now I could only find one company that let you do this:  Control your digital picture frame with your iPhone. eStarling frames lets you use the application by SeeFrame [iTunes Link], to send photos from your iPhone to wifi connected picture frames.