Piezoelectric devices are getting more and more popular due to their self-generating mechanism. As, a simple quartz crystal is able to produce an output voltage that is proportional to the stress applied to it, a lot of research is undergone in this field by instrumentation companies and also American defence agencies like DARPA. Recently, a company in Japan called Murata Manufacturing claim that they have developed a remote control that works with the help of a piezoelectric transducer.
They have named the device as the “Leaf Grip Remote Controller”. A typical remote control works by pressing keys for getting different stations and also for the ON/OFF button. In this device, there are no keys. For the signals to reach the television, a voltage has to be developed in the remote. This voltage is obtained by bending and twisting the device.
The remote consists of two handles and a thin film in between. This thin film is transparent in nature and has two layers of piezoelectric transducers. One transducer is used to detect an output voltage corresponding to the amount of binding the device has to take. The other one produces an output voltage depending on the twists. The transparent film does not even look like it has a piezoelectric quartz crystal installed inside. All the other electronic circuits will be connected inside the two handles.
As shown in the figure below, when the plate is twisted, you can change the channels. If you twist the plates rapidly, you can switch the input. When you bend the film, you can increase and decrease the volume. You can ON/OFF the television by holding one end of the plate and lightly shaking it.
As told before, the main advantage is the device will not have need of batteries (self-generating device).
Though the device seems quite cool, one major drawback is that the piezoelectric device can be easily affected by temperature. The output voltage produced may change due to this reason. More studies are being done on how to keep the voltage steady. Furthermore, the device will be seen only as a fancy gadget, as a conventional remote control is far easier and user friendly than this one. The device was probably intended to be a commercial prototype or maybe the first step to produce a better one using piezoelectrics. Besides, their main aim was to produce powerless remote controls.
Would you guys be interested in using such a remote control for your TV? Do let us know through your comments.