I am currently certain that we are approaching the apex of our societal laziness. I would be surprised if future generations will even bother to walk or eat for themselves (they will probably create a button which will call a robot to do these things for them).
Before, when I wanted to watch Netflix I had to turn on my television, wake up my Apple TV, and actually click on the Netflix App… which took me about 5 seconds (gasp!). Now, the Netflix Switch can do all of that for me, including ordering take-out and silencing and device that would dare send out a notification, all with one click of a button. Mankind is saved… with this epic time saver.
The construction of the Netflix Switch is pretty slick. You can do just about anything with it… that is, anything connected to Wi-Fi using compatible hardware and software. The switch is powered by the Particle Core board (a sequel to the Spark Core). Their nifty Photon board is only $19 and enables Wi-Fi connectivity to anything that is worth its weight as an IoT device. Other than this, you need a LiPo battery and battery charger, an on/off switch, an IR sensor and some LEDs (see full materials list here). You can also download the enclosure details, created using SolidWorks, to build your own streamlined case for the button and all of the parts here (13MB .zip).
The schematic above shows how it works by turning on your TV and enabling Netflix via an IR sensor (although I’m certain the Netflix part only works if your TV is a Smart TV with Netflix). Then, it uses Wi-Fi to control your phone and do your bidding, including turning off notifications and ordering a pizza via an app. Of course, you can program the button to do anything you want it to do which is the beauty of a simple, open design such as this. However, it’s a lot of effort to go through for wasted hours watching Netflix or, as many have experienced, wasted hours searching for something to watch on Netflix.
Perhaps the button serves to heal psychosomatic symptoms caused by our plugged-in society: we need to press a button to tell ourselves it is OK to un-plug and have some downtime – even if it is scheduled 42 minute at a time in front of a soul-sucking screen.