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URC MX-5000 Appears to be First Universal Remote with Tactile Feedback

Modeled after URC's two-way MX-6000, the MX-5000 is designed for one-handed operation and appears to be the first remote with haptic technology for 'very satisfying sensation.'


"Boy it feels so good and looks so good." -- URC's Eric Johnson
Julie Jacobson · July 20, 2009

Universal Remote Control appears to have the first remote with tactile feedback, known as haptics.

If you press a virtual button on the new MX-5000 touchscreen, you know you’ve pressed it. It seems to click just like the real thing.

“It’s something we’ve long wanted to do,” says Eric Johnson, URC’s VP of technology. “We’ve experimented with haptics for three years.”

What’s taken so long? I discovered haptic-enabled touchscreens at CES several years ago and thought it was the next big thing for CE touchscreens. But URC seems to be the first implementer.

The delay “has to do with a combination of price and testing the reliability thoroughly,” Johnson says. “We look at hundreds of thousands of button presses. If it can’t survive one-million button presses, we’re not really interested.”

Currently, URC and its competitors use beeps if consumers want feedback, but the noises “can grow tiresome,” Johnson says.

The MX-5000 employs a single tactile sensation, but Johnson says haptic technology “has a lot of promise.” URC has tested different sensations, for example, for sliding volume controls.

URC is keeping the haptics simple and plans to implement the technology in other remote control devices in the future.

Sexiest Remote Control Ever?

When you hear Johnson gush about the MX-5000, you’d think it was something other than a remote.

“It [haptics] gives you an immediate, very satisfying sensation,” he says. “When you look at the rest of the remote, too, boy it feels so good and looks so good.”

He notes that URC has never received so much immediate, enthusiastic feedback from its beta dealers.

The morning after URC sent out its beta units, “We got exactly 18 phone calls,” Johnson recalls. “One dealer called us up and said, ‘I opened the box and all of the guys came over to look.’”

Johnson says the painstakingly designed remote represents the “epitome of engineering.”

Modeled after URC’s MX-6000 two-handed controller, the MX-5000 is designed for one-handed operation – made easier with haptics.

MX-5000 Features:

  • 2.7-inch LCD color touch screen
  • WiFi (B and G) for metadata, control, integration
  • Narrowband RF and IR for control
  • Via URC base station, integrates with IR and RS-232 components
  • Includes rechargeable battery and charging base

Pricing has not yet been released, but URC says the MSRP will be less than $1,500.

image
MX-5000 (left) is like the MX-6000 but with one-handed ergonomics and haptic technology for tactile feedback.



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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at jjacobson@ehpub.com

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