Ericsson Bluetooth phone as remote control

August 3rd, 2003  |  Published in hardware, python  |  9 Comments

After seeing Richard Clamp’s excellent talk at a techmeet on using Ericsson phones as remote controls I went away to code something similar (but less fully-functioned) in python for my own use. My code plugs into the Twisted framework and listens for phone keypress events. It uses the AT commands defined in an Ericsson PDF for the R320 phone, and it works with my T610.

My main need for a remote was for controlling slides when doing presentations, so I looked into how to send fake keypresses to X applications. My presentation format of choice is PDFs, so I just needed to be able to send PgUp and PgDown events to Acrobat Reader.

X has a useful extension called XTEST that is designed to help automated testing of GUI apps. It has a fairly simple API, and with the help of the source of the X11::GUITest CPAN module I created a python extension that lets me write code such as keycontrol.tapkey('PGU') to simulate tapping on the PgUp key.

The resulting code defines an Ericsson class that can be subclassed to receive events such as cursor_left and camera when the keys are pressed on the phone. It helps to have the keypad lock activated when using it so that you don’t end up triggering events on the phone itself.

Libby Miller took a photo of me using it at the XML Summer School Semantic Web forum, where it came in very handy. The phone is just visible in my right hand.


  1. Miguel says:

    August 14th, 2003 at 4:53 am (#)

    Please contact me on this type of functionality. We might be interested in a product development strategy.

  2. Adam Irving says:

    September 22nd, 2003 at 2:19 pm (#)

    Im a student interested in doin this type of project, i could do with some info if possible.


    Adam Irving

  3. Alex says:

    October 12th, 2003 at 6:02 pm (#)

    Hello i was wonderin if u cud send me the program u used please… i know nothing about programming but am competent with computers… ta

  4. Nelson says:

    November 15th, 2003 at 10:43 pm (#)

    The Ericsson document moved to

  5. Nelson says:

    November 16th, 2003 at 7:41 pm (#)

    I did some more Python / Ericsson hacking

  6. Matt Biddulph says:

    November 16th, 2003 at 7:46 pm (#)

    Thanks, I’ve updated the URL in the main piece. Nice to see your code.

  7. Mod-pubsub blog says:

    December 1st, 2003 at 8:25 am (#)

    Cellphone into remote control

    OK guys, we seriously need to start playing with phones. Check this out: Matt Biddulph used Twisted to turn his cellphone into a remote control for slideshows. Work it! (Via

  8. saadat says:

    March 21st, 2004 at 10:57 am (#)

    good one.
    but i m looking for some info regarding making a unified remote control that can control home appliances such as switch on AC or cd player .
    is there any bluetooth chip that can be programmed and stored inside the chip that will be activate when anybutton is pressed on the keypad (separate keypad . not the phone’s one)
    . if anyone has any idea plz give it to me. thanks

  9. Wu Dee says:

    May 15th, 2004 at 7:05 pm (#)

    Dear Sir:
    We make a Sony-Ericsson-Phone controlled Bluetooth toy car. Earnestly invite you to visit our site and have fun:)


    Wu Dee