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Remote controlling iOS apps

Updated: 7 days ago

State of play:

Bluetooth keyboards are pretty ubiquitous.

Interestingly, tech from them has also commonly been wrapped in foot pedal page turners.

Primarily these seem to target the sight-reading musician demographic so that they can turn the virtual pages of their notated sheet music whilst playing. A respectable objective to be sure.

Naturally I had other plans though.

Other plans - aka remote control an iOS app:

As I alluded to previously, these are basically funny shaped and extremely limited Bluetooth keyboards. The most common data transmitted is the Up/Down cursor keypress. Fine. Easy enough to capture that. Two buttons is kind of restrictive, though...

Looking at alternatives there are four button MIDI over Bluetooth devices like the iRig Blueboard. They have the cool benefit of supporting MIDI expression pedals (think wah or volume swell control), but the downside is they are often well over a hundred dollars USD. Potentially out of budget for hobbyists/musical newcomers.

So, about $20 you can get a two button footswitch. But whats a good way to expand on that? Take a look at this:

Pressing a button once, triggers a "click", but pressing the button twice in just over half a second triggers a "double click". This is depicted in teal vs orange flashes of the button.

I did investigate doing "press and hold" interaction but the problem is that these devices imediately return a key-release straight after key-press. This makes sense as you probably dont want to be flicking through multiple pages of musical notation just because your foot was on the button a bit too long. Unfortunately that does prevent me from getting a press and hold to work. Oh well, still cool to get four functions out of a two button input device. And thats before we start thinking about triple tap, or perhaps left button to cycle through a list of function, and the right button to action the selected function.

As always, I welcome any thoughts on the subject!

Oh and btw...

Here are some pics of in and around my Fifth Element/The Shining hotel mash-up.

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