With a few simple components your Arduino or compatible board can send commands via infra-red - to mimic existing remote controls and give you interest automation options. However determining the codes to be sent for a particular device can be difficult if not published, and thus an infra-red sniffer is required.
This is a device that can receive signals from an infra-red remote control, determine the particular codes received when a button is pressed on the remote - and also send the codes off to a device if required. However by noting the codes you can use them in your projects to allow your Arduino to control these devices.
Thanks to Alan Zucconi you can easily make your own version, with a protoshield, an IR receiver and a transmitter. Alan's sketch lets you see the IR codes in the serial monitor, so they can then be used in your own IR control sketches.
If you need to add external hardware or devices to your next Arduino project, such as an IR sniffer described above - you'll need a protoshield to mount the external circuitry. When doing so, consider our range of ProtoShields. From the tiny LeoStick to the Mega we have a wide range to suit your application.