Comcast Designs ‘Themed Covers’ for Remote Controls

Comcast may be looking at selling themed covers for remote controls that would be capable of using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to trigger the delivery of custom content such as kids or sports programming, according to a patent application published Thursday.

The invention could allow subscribers to purchase remote control covers featuring logos and uniform colors from their favorite sports teams. Comcast details several scenarios involving a Chicago Bears remote control cover in the patent application. In addition to making it easier for subscribers to access live and on-demand content related to the football team, the themed covers could be used to adjust settings on a subscriber’s home automation system, Comcast notes.

“For example, a home-security system associated with a Chicago Bears themed cover may be updated to automatically flash the lights a few minutes before kickoff of a football game that the Chicago Bears are playing in, flash the lights in celebration when the Chicago Bears score a touchdown, or otherwise respond to Chicago Bears events,” Comcast states in the patent application.

Comcast Senior Industrial Designer Mike Jou is named as lead inventor on the patent application, titled, “Configuration Responsive to a Device.”

Abstract: Various features described herein may include updating settings on a device in response to a themed cover being placed on a device (e.g., a remote control) associated with the device. The settings may be updated to correspond to a theme of the themed cover. Alternatively or additionally, the device may receive access to different content based on the theme. For example, a device may receive filtered content in response to a child-themed cover. In another example, the device may receive additional football-related content in response to a football-themed cover. The device may revert to its original settings and content access in response to the remote control being removed from the themed cover. In some embodiments, a device may update settings or content access in response to other themed devices (e.g., wearable devices) being within a threshold distance of the device.

Patent Application

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Claims:

1. A method comprising: receiving, by a computing device from a remote device associated with the computing device, an indication that a themed object has been detected by the remote device; and responsive to receiving the indication, updating at least one setting associated with the computing device based at least in part on a theme associated with the themed object.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein updating the at least one setting comprises updating a user interface of the computing device to correspond with a theme associated with the themed object.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising: detecting that the theme associated with the themed object comprises a child theme; and enacting a parental control on the computing device in response to detecting that the theme associated with the themed object comprises the child theme.

4. The method of claim 3, further comprising: receiving an indication that the themed object is no longer detectable by the remote device; requesting an unlock code; and in response to receiving the unlock code, disabling the parental control on the computing device.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: generating for display a confirmation prompt requesting confirmation from a user of the computing device before updating the at least one setting on the computing device in response to receiving the indication.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising: receiving a selection of the at least one setting on the computing device.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising: filtering a listing of content available on the computing device, the filtering based on the theme associated with the themed object.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising: enabling additional content in response to receiving the indication.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising: setting a recording for content in response to receiving the indication.

10. The method of claim 1, further comprising: adding a plurality of calendar events to a calendar associated with a user of the computing device in response to receiving the indication.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein updating the at least one setting on the computing device comprises updating a plurality of home-automation settings to respond to an event associated with the theme associated with the themed object.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising: selecting targeted content based on the theme associated with the themed object; and receiving, by the computing device, the selected targeted content.

13. The method of claim 1, further comprising: updating at least one setting on each of a plurality of additional devices in response to receiving the indication.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the themed object is a themed cover, and wherein the detection by the remote device comprises detecting that the themed cover was placed on the remote device.

15. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a different indication that a different themed object has been detected by a different remote device associated with the computing device; performing a mediation between at least one setting based on the theme associated with the themed object and at least one setting based on a different theme associated with the different themed object; and updating the at least one setting associated with the computing device in response to the mediation.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the detection by the remote device comprises detection of the themed object based on communication via at least one of near-field communication, WiFi, BLUETOOTH, a body area network, a personal area network, host card emulation, ZIGBEE, Z-WAVE, and INSTEON.

17. A method comprising: receiving, by a computing device, an indication that a themed cover has been detected, by a remote control associated with the computing device, as being within a threshold distance of the remote control; requesting confirmation of a proposed update of at least one setting of the computing device in response to receiving the indication; responsive to receiving the confirmation, updating the at least one setting of the computing device based at least in part on a theme associated with the themed cover; and enabling new content for playback by the computing device in response to receiving the indication.

18. A method comprising: detecting, by a remote device, that the remote device is within a threshold distance of a themed object; and sending, by the remote device to a computing device associated with the remote device, an indication that the remote device is within the threshold distance of the themed object, wherein the indication comprises information indicating a theme of the themed object usable by the computing device to update at least one setting of the computing device based on the theme.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the detecting that the remote device is within the threshold distance of the themed object comprises detecting the themed object based on communication via at least one of near-field communication, WiFi, BLUETOOTH, a body area network, a personal area network, host card emulation, ZIGBEE, Z-WAVE, and INSTEON.

20. The method of claim 18, further comprising: communicating, by the remote device, with the computing device based on the updated at least one setting.