A couple years ago my TV remote broke. I had used one of those universal remote phone apps as an alternative for a while, but that just got really frustrating. Without the tactile feel of buttons it was too easy to press wrong buttons on my smart phone; accidentally pressing mute, stop or changing the channel / input, etc.
I considered just ordering a cheap replacement remote off of Ebay for a few dollars but part of me wanted to take advantage of the situation and make one from scratch using the atmega328p chip used on the famous Arduino Uno. I had been tinkering with the atmega chip quite a bit at the time and was also exploring the process of designing circuit boards using cad software.
I loved the idea of designing a circuit board from scratch & filling it with circuits. This seemed like the perfect project for me – being able to use my beloved arduino chip, design and populate a circuit board with circuits & fashion some kind of project case (altoids tin) to put it all in. I went for it.