When you think of a “universal remote,” you generally picture an infrared (IR) emitter that can be setup to control your TV, AV receiver, and any other number of devices that work using IR signals. On the other hand, what’s to keep someone from doing the opposite, and having a universal receiver that can be programmed to accept codes from a remote that you just have lying around?
The answer, as seen in the SIS-2 IR development board—available on Tindie for $19.95 plus shipping—is that it is definitely possible. This little board can be set up to receive signals from nearly any IR remote. As seen in the video below, an old one from a drawer somewhere works fine, and can switch on a small LED, or a larger device via a relay.
As neat as this is with a random remote, it seems very well suited to pairing with a universal remote transmitter that you already use. Though more complicated connected devices are nice, if you just want to be able to, for example, turn off the lights while watching a movie, having the interface on your normal remote is quite convenient!