We have become tired of giving presentations from behind a computer so, we decided to figure out a solution where we could control the DigitalSky 2 interface with an iPad. This solution will work for any fulldome software application, but for this blog entry we will be using SkySkan’s DigitalSky 2 software. DigitalSky 2 runs on Windows XP and it requires the ability to open new windows, click on pre-made buttons and drag and scroll. The system requires two monitors, so we wanted the ability to easily switch remote screens. In addition, we needed the remote application to be independent of the Internet for security reasons.
The obvious place to start would be the Remote Desktop and Virtual Network Computer (VNC) protocols. If you type in either of those terms into a search engine, you’ll find a variety of software solution available. Most remote computer applications require the use of the Internet, but Remote HD, works independent of the Internet. Remote HD is a VNC/Remote hybrid which supports all Mac devices and Windows desktop computers. It also supports multiple remote screens and multi-touch gestures.
Below is a tutorial on how to control DigitalSky 2 with your iPad using RemoteHD:
1. Set up a private wireless network using a router. This will ensure that there are a minimum amount of computers on the network, keeping the bandwidth use to a minimum.
2. Connect to your new wireless network on both your iPad and SkySkan computer.
3. Fire up your iPad and search for Remote HD in the App Store. It’s $7.99 for the full version and $1.99 for the lite version. We bought the full version.
4. Download the Remote Helper app for Windows: remotehd.com/Windows/Download. If your setup is like ours, then your Master (SkySkan) computer is not connected to the Internet, so you’ll have to download it to a USB drive.
5. Install the Remote Helper app on your Master (SkySkan) computer.
6. Start the Remote Helper app on your Master (SkySkan) computer. Do this prior to starting RemoteHD on your iPad.
7. Open the Remote Helper app. Under the General tab, give the computer a host name and password by filling in the Host and Password fields. The rest of the settings can remain the same.
8. Start the RemoteHD app on your iPad. If you’re network is setup correctly then the host name you defined earlier will appear under the heading Computers around you.
9. Click on the pre-defined host name to start using using your remote computer on your iPad.
10. Click the fullscreen button in the top left corner.
11. You are now able to remote control your dome software. You can easily tap on buttons to play various content and fly through the solar system by using your finger on the navigation window.
It takes a little practice to get used to especially when flying, but within no time you will be able to freely walk around the dome and run a show. The great thing about this setup is that other trained staff in our department can install this application on their iPads and run dome shows with just the click of a button.
We hope you enjoy this fun new way to navigate the dome and please leave us feedback!