TI IC Design Contest North America: Universal Interface Cube, University of Florida

University: University of Florida
Team Members: Daniel Collotte, Kevin Runda 
TI Parts Used:

  • LMZ10500SHE
  • MSP430G2231
  • BQ24075
  • MSP430G2413
  • MSP430F5529
  • TPS61165
  • TPS28225

Project Description

The Universal Interface Cube is a device created to make even the most complex home entertainment system easy enough for a grandmother to use. When placed on top of certain devices, such as an Xbox 360 or a TV, the cube will not only power the device on, but it will also power on and configure any other necessary devices. The cube knows where it has been placed by reading RFID stickers attached to each device. Once the cube knows where it has been placed, the cube transmits a sequence of commands using 2.4GHz radio frequency (RF) communications to an infrared (IR) “node” which converts the RF commands to IR commands. For example, if the cube is placed on an Xbox 360, the cube will transmit the commands to the IR nodes which will turn the Xbox on, turn the TV on, turn the sound system on, set the TV to the correct input, and set the sound system to the correct input. Additionally, the system includes a touch screen remote which displays contextual buttons depending on the active device. In the previous example of the Xbox, the remote’s interface actually changes to resemble that of an Xbox controller.


  • Extremely easy to use
  • 2.4 GHz wireless communication
  • Inductive charging (for cube base-station only)
  • Compatible with a wide range of IR devices
  • Micro-USB rechargeable Li-Po batteries
  • Full-color touchscreen LCD remote with contextual buttons


User's Guide

Typical Use:

  1. To use the Universal Cube for normal operation, the home entertainment system should be set up by a professional who will program and place all corresponding equipment in their correct positions.
  2. After setup, the user can use their Universal Interface Cube product by taking the Cube and placing it on top of one of the RFID tags on their home entertainment device.
  3. This will configure the entire system for that device, and no more interaction is needed before the device is ready to be used.
  4. If the user wants to see which system the Universal Interface Cube is configured for or wants to perform specialty tasks for each device, they simply need to look at the LCD remote.
  5. Pressing a button on the touchscreen of the remote will send the appropriate action to their specified device.
  6. To turn off all devices in the system, simply place the Cube on the charging station and all devices in the system will turn off.


  1. To maintain charge in each of the three boards that make up the Universal Interface Cube, a micro-USB port has been attached that will charge each system.
  2. If the battery has died, simply take a USB cable and attach one end to a computer and the other to one of the boards, and this will start the charging process, which should take about two hour to complete for the IRRB and six hours for the Cube or the LCD Remote.
  3. For the Cube, if it is placed on the charging station designed for it, it will charge wirelessly and will not have to be plugged in.
  4. If battery is dead, simply take unit out of its casing and remove the battery.
    1. For IR board, take out lithium coin cell and put in new battery with positive facing away from board, into the battery holder.
    2. For LCD Remote and Cube, take units out of casing and replace with new battery. Connect leads to positive and negative as designated on the circuit board.
  5. After replacing battery, put boards back into casing and to their designated locations.