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last update: 11/26/2016

The BTRC Remote Control System

The Universal Bluetooth Remote Control System (BTRC) was a contribution from Gerhard Bocksch, Georg Dummer, Ivan Ivanov, Manuel Odendahl, and Alexander Paar representing Universität Karlsruhe (TH) to the 2001 IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition. This page is devoted to remembering this exhilarating project, which was rewarded with the second place team award. Note that the following genuine text reflects our insights, opinions, and forecasts from way back then (i.e. 2000/2001).

The way computing power is used and the way these computing capabilities influence our work and every day life has changed steadily since the invention of the transistor. The mainframe era of the seventies was superseded by the PC era of the eighties with individual computing power on every desktop. The Internet revolution of the nineties has concentrated mainly on these personal computers. This progress is likely to continue in the next few years with an emphasis on PC-based software. Software applications running on personal computers will program the Internet rather than using it as a mere medium to transfer Web pages or MP3s. Protocols and languages such as HTTP and TCP/IP enable programmers to build distributed Web-based applications. Nevertheless, these recent developments will only have an impact on PCs...

Based on Bluetooth wireless technology we enlarge upon the idea of Web-based PC software to a uniform, pervasive access to the functionality of all ubiquitous devices that are connected to the Internet and/or are offering Bluetooth capabilities. The BTRC system enables devices to communicate over various transport protocols, allowing them to be controlled remotely using either an XML-based GUI, plain text messages, hyperlinks or speech.


Exiting BTRC use cases include: With a BTRC-powered universal remote control you can use completely wireless technology to voice-operate your VCR in your living room at home while you are in your office at work. Via speech recognition you can set up the universal remote control to build a list of devices, which are near your current location and/or are of general interest to you.

The BTRC approach is particularly pervasive because the BTRC protocol scales down to pieces of equipment with even very restricted computing and networking capabilities. To prove the applicability of the BTRC approach, various types of server applications were developed. Several Bluetooth-based MS Windows multimedia applications were implemented to demonstrate the collaboration of BTRC and Bluetooth. A BTRC-to-RC5-Infrared-to-Speech relay application that consists of both software and hardware components was designed and implemented to integrate legacy devices into a BTRC system. All implementations were tested to prove their compliance with the BTRC protocol specification.

BTRC boasts a pioneering convergence of up-to-date but so far stand-alone technologies.


"The BTRC system: Any device, from anywhere - at any time!"


Watch the NBC coverage of the 2001 CSIDC World Finals in Washington, D.C.

FAZ Businessradio

A confused University Dean gave an interview to the meanwhile defunct FAZ Business Radio.

heise online

We made it into Heise News!

BNR Radio Bulgaria

Ivan Ivanov gave an interview to BNR Radio Bulgaria.


The Focus news magazine reported in its July 23, 2001 issue.


Coverage in the August 18, 2001 issue of the daily newspaper Waldeckische Landeszeitung.


The BTRC Remote Control System is described in the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal, Volume 7 Issue 2, July 2003.