Sonic Screwdriver offers universal control

How do you outgeek the creation of a motion-control TV remote that operates like a magic wand? Why, you turn it into a Sonic Screwdriver.

The BBC’s commercial arm has announced a deal with The Wand Company to produce a Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote.

Ironically it was the BBC that helped the company come to fame back in 2010. Founders Chris Barnado and Richard Blakesley appeared on Dragons’ Den, a show where inventors pitch their products to a panel of wealthy potential investors.

Having showed off the Kymera wand, which allows users to operate up to 13 devices via a range of gestures rather than buttons, the pair took up a £200,000 (approx $320,000) offer from gym chain owner Duncan Bannatyne.

The wand uses a three-axis accelerometer and runs on two AAA batteries. There’s also a vibration motor that gives feedback so that the users knows the gesture has been recognized. During the pitch, the pair showed how it could be used to change channels or volume with a swipe or rotate gesture.

During the pitch the pair were careful not to infringe on any intellectual property rights, though it was clear that much of the hype for the gadget would stem from the popularity of Harry Potter. Now they’ve issued a second model which is based on a licensed tie-in.

The Sonic Screwdriver is a redesigned wand, based on the model used by the 11th and current Doctor. The creators note that “to avoid confusion and chaotic usage, this model has had its Psychic Control Interface disabled.” It allows for variations on flick, tap, rotate and push/pull gestures, as well as adding a button.

There’s also an FX mode where each gesture produces a different sound effect taken from the show. While this mode is activated, the blue tip flashes every two seconds and then delivers a Morse code message every 1,963 seconds (taken from the year the show first aired.)

The device goes on sale on 31 August, priced at £59.95 in the UK and $99.95 in the US.

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