Provides: Universal remote control capabilities
Developer: The Wand Company
Minimum Requirements: IR gear (TV, Mac, DVD player etc)
Price: 49.95 GBP (about $80)
The idea behind the Kymera Magic Wand is really quite novel; the ability to control your TV with just the flick of a wand. Wands are synonimous with control, making them perfect for working a TV or other IR device. It doesn’t hurt that most of us have been entranced with them since childhood with entertainment from Disney all the way to Harry Potter. And in practice, it’s truly magic, or at least the kind of magic that your standard magician would perform, making it perfect for kids and the young at heart.
All you have to do to realize this wand is cool is open the box. It comes packaged inside of a wand case, which probably could be nicer, but still makes you feel like you aren’t playing with a child’s toy (though it really is). Inside the box is the wand and a thick and colorful map-like instruction manual. The manual details all of the steps necessary to get you from muggle to magician in no time. You can really get a sense of how much attention to detail is put into this product just by visiting The Wand Company’s web page. I love how their website is different from most, because their product is, too.
Using the wand is as simple as performing one of the predefined gestures. These including things like: flicking up/down/left/right, rolling, tapping a finger on the top or side, pushing forward/backward etc. Obviously, there aren’t enough gestures here to encompass everything that you could do with a normal remote control. But then again, your remote doesn’t seem very magical does it? I would have liked to see a “change remote” gesture to increase the number of IR codes you could have stored, but perhaps I’m wanting too much from this thing.
Programming this remote is fairly simple, but will require that you can actually perform the gestures you’d like to use, which will take some practice. Basically, you put it into programming mode by pointing the wand up and tapping. Now, perform the gesture you want to program and press the button on the remote while pointing it at the tip of the wand. Great, that’s it. Now do that again, like 15 times. And don’t be tempted to leave any of the gestures unassigned. If you do and then accidentally make that gesture, it will vibrate numerous times to tap out the number of the gesture performed. This gets annoying if you accidentally do one of the higher numbered gestures often, which I did.
After that’s all done, using the wand is a breeze. The most satisfying thing you can do is shout a “magical phrase” while using a long swipe to turn your TV on or off. And while most of the people to whom I showed this wand initially thought it was lame or extremely nerdy, all found it necessary to do exactly what I just detailed. We all know it’s just a remote shooting out IR codes after a gesture has been performed, but it still somehow feels magical. It’s worth noting that navigating Front Row with this device would work perfectly since you can assign the right IR codes to the same left/right/up/down gestures in the wand. You could use the same gestures to change songs on your Mac from across the room. And honestly, if you’re going to say that a certain computer works with a little bit of magic, it really should be a Mac. You can even find apps that will extend the usability of the Apple remote, and thus the Kymera Magic Wand to other apps on your Mac. Still, replacing an Apple Remote with this wand could be pretty fun.
Now that I think about it, this would make for a really fun and entertaining way to run through a PowerPoint or iPhoto slideshow. Just hook your MacBook up to a TV and then “flick” through the slides with your wand. There are a ton of fun ideas for this wand. Yes, nearly all of them are fun just for novelty’s sake, but hey, sometimes you have to stop and just have fun. You can’t always do things just because they are the fastest or most efficient. If you’re interested in just how much you can get an Apple remote or Kymera want to do on your Mac, check out Sofa Control. It’s an app like what I mentioned above that expands the usability of a remote on your Mac. It’s $15.
But ultimately, the novelty of this product will wear off unless you’re really into magical stuff. That’s kind of to be expected though. I’m doubting anyone is thinking that this device is superior in functionality to a regular remote (unless maybe it’s an Apple remote with only 6 buttons). Yes, it’s a universal remote, and you could use it to control all of your gear, provided that 16 or so gestures/IR codes could encompass everything that you do. But the wand a little clumsy, and it doesn’t always do what you intend for it to do. So. you might find yourself reaching for the original remotes when you can’t get this wand to recognize your flailing arms.
But you have to remember that this is a novelty product, not a replace-all univeral remote. This is for hardcore Harry Potter fans and kids. The kind of people who want to add a little more magic to their lives and don’t mind spending some money in the process (especially if it’s their parents’ money). I wish it was more affordable, but it is pretty fancy and that’s not cheap. And I guarantee you’ll have the coolest universal remote in town if you buy one of these, though you will be accused of being a nerd. You should only buy one of these to have fun, not to replace remotes, because you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting to do the latter.
I think this product would make a great gift for any kid who’s a Harry Potter fan or just has a general wonder towards magic. And honestly, what kid doesn’t? Could you imagine getting one of these things when you were ten? That would have been awesome.
Buy the Kymera Magic Wand