remote control

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remote control

control of a system or activity by a person at a different place, usually by means of radio or ultrasonic signals or by electrical signals transmitted by wire
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Remote Control

 

(Russian, teleupravlenie), control at a distance achieved through telemechanic means (see). Remote control is the branch of telemechanics that deals with the transmission, over a distance, of control information (commands) and the conversion of the control information into control actions applied to the controlled system. (In English, the term “remote control” in its broadest sense is similar in meaning to the term “telemechanics” used here; the present article discusses “remote control” in a narrower sense.)

In telemechanic systems, every controlled system is usually characterized by two states, or conditions, for example, open-closed or on-off. For this reason, the number of words per command in the control information is generally one or two; greater numbers of words are encountered relatively rarely. In most remote-control systems, signals are transmitted in two steps: first the address of the controlled system is transmitted, and then, usually after the correctness of the address is confirmed, the control information is transmitted. The control information transmitted in remote-control systems may be discrete or continuous in nature. In the latter case, the remote-control systems are referred to as remote-regulation systems (sistemy teleregulirovaniia).

Because it is difficult to carry out remote control without monitoring the state of the controlled system, remote control is usually supplemented by remote signaling (telesignalizatsiia). In a number of cases, control is performed in accordance with a certain inflexible program. If such programs are few and simple, the remote-control system is supplemented by special automatic devices that implement the programs. The operator’s tasks are thus eased, since he has only to select the required program and start the control system at the proper time. The control information is usually transmitted by a combined remote-control and remote-signaling system or by a more complex telemechanic system.

When remote control is carried out by means of radio channels, we speak of radio control (see).

G. A. SHASTOVA

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

remote control

[ri′mōt kən′trōl]
(control systems)
Control of a quantity which is separated by an appreciable distance from the controlling quantity; examples include master-slave manipulators, telemetering, telephone, and television.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

IR remote control

(InfraRed remote control) A handheld, wireless device used to operate audio, video and other electronic equipment within a room using light signals in the infrared (IR) range. Infrared light requires line of sight to its destination. Low-end remotes use only one transmitter at the end of the unit and have to be aimed directly at the equipment. High-quality remotes have three or four powerful IR transmitters set at different angles to shower the room with signals.

All Functions Are Coded
Using very low data rates, typically no more than 1,000 bits/sec, infrared remotes send a different code for each function on the TV, DVD, A/V receiver, etc. There are hundreds of remote control codes for A/V devices manufactured over the years. A programmable remote may be customized by selecting built-in code sets, by downloading code sets from the Internet or by training the remote to accept signals from another handheld remote.

IR Receivers for Closed Cabinets
In home theater applications, IR receivers are commonly used to control components in a cabinet with closed doors that obstruct the line of sight required by infrared. An IR sensor is located near the TV and wired to the receiver, which can be many feet away in the equipment rack. The receiver has an amplifier and an "IR blaster" that showers IR signals to all components by reflecting off the closed cabinet doors. The receiver also has sockets for several IR emitters (IR flashers) that are wired to, and pasted directly over, the IR sensors for precise aiming.

RF to IR
High-end, third-party remote controls use radio frequencies (RF) instead of infrared. Such remotes neither have to be aimed, nor even be in the same room, but they require a base station that accepts the RF and converts it to IR (see RF remote control). See Wi-Fi remote control.


High-End IR Remote
The MX-850 from Universal Remote Control (www.universalremote.com) transmits IR and RF simultaneously. High-end remotes such as this use multiple IR transmitters for broad coverage. Programmed via the PC to make complex tasks easy, the green "M" keys have been assigned macros to power multiple units. The functions on the blue "L" keys were learned by beaming IR signals from the original remotes into the MX-850. See RF remote control.







An IR Emitter
An IR emitter (left) is pasted onto the IR sensor on this DVD/VHS player. The wire traces back to a Home Theater Master RF base station that picks up radio signals from the remote and converts them to infrared. No matter whether the remote control is IR or RF, the signal generally winds up as IR at the equipment.







The First "Light Beaming" Remote
In 1955, Zenith's Flash-Matic beamed light rays to sensors at the corners of the TV screen to change channels and mute the sound. Because it did not use infrared, changing light conditions in the room sometimes triggered the unit. (Image courtesy of Zenith Electronics LLC.)

remote control software

Software that lets someone take control of another user's computer in a distant location. Only keystrokes, mouse movement and screen changes are passed between the client "controlling" computer and host "controlled" computer. All application processing takes place in the host (see illustration below).

Remote control is the only effective way support reps can troubleshoot serious problems with a user's computer in another location, and the Internet has made it simple. The software is installed at both ends, and both the user and the technician see the same screen and can run the machine. Remote control is also used to provide training to a remote user who can watch and imitate the actions on screen by the remote instructor. In addition, remote control provides a shared desktop that lets two users collaborate on drawings and other visual objects. Also called "remote access software," "remote desktop sharing," "desktop sharing" and "application sharing." See application sharing and VNC.


Share the Desktop
Remote control software lets a computer be shared with someone else simultaneously.







Getting Assistance Is a Snap
In this example, the Windows XP user (top) downloaded and ran ShowMyPC, clicked "Show My PC Now" and waited for the session password, which he gave to the support rep by email. The technician ran ShowMyPC on his Vista machine (bottom), selected "View Remote PC" and typed in the password, which gave him full control of the XP desktop as if he were at the machine.


Getting Assistance Is a Snap
In this example, the Windows XP user (top) downloaded and ran ShowMyPC, clicked "Show My PC Now" and waited for the session password, which he gave to the support rep by email. The technician ran ShowMyPC on his Vista machine (bottom), selected "View Remote PC" and typed in the password, which gave him full control of the XP desktop as if he were at the machine.

RF remote control

(Radio Frequency remote control) A handheld, wireless device used to operate audio, video and other electronic equipment using radio frequency (RF) transmission. Unlike the common infrared (IR) remotes, RF remotes do not have to be aimed at the equipment.

RF Receivers (Base Stations) Are Required
Most A/V equipment is IR based and has an IR sensor on the front panel. Because RF remote control signals must wind up as IR signals at the IR sensors, an RF receiver (base station and antenna) accepts RF and converts it to IR. Receivers are wired to an "IR emitter" (flasher) pasted onto the sensor of each device or to an "IR blaster" located inside the home theater cabinet. The blaster reflects off the closed cabinet door, showering IR signals to all the devices at the same time. See IR remote control, Wi-Fi remote control and RF.


RF and IR
The MX-980 from Universal Remote Control (www.universalremote.com) can operate every piece of A/V equipment in a home theater. Programmed on screen (bottom) and downloaded via USB, this versatile unit transmits RF and IR signals simultaneously, and the user can even be in the next room.


RF and IR
The MX-980 from Universal Remote Control (www.universalremote.com) can operate every piece of A/V equipment in a home theater. Programmed on screen (bottom) and downloaded via USB, this versatile unit transmits RF and IR signals simultaneously, and the user can even be in the next room.








An IR Emitter
An IR emitter (left) is pasted onto the IR sensor on this DVD/VHS player. The wire traces back to a Home Theater Master RF base station that picks up the RF and converts it to infrared (IR). No matter whether the remote control is RF or IR, the signal winds up as IR at the equipment.
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