How to design next-generation RF remote controls

April 19, 2011 //By Cees Links
How to design next-generation RF remote controls
Cees Links of GreenPeak Technologies discusses some of the design issues facing the designers of next-generation RF remote controls

The new generation of remote controls will be green – using very low power or none at all, will be interactive, and will be using radio, instead of infrared to transmit throughout the home. Next generation remote controls, set-top boxes and TVs, as well as a plethora of home devices like security monitors, sensors and controls, will be using ZigBee RF4CE (ZigBee Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics). Originally developed by four of the biggest consumer electronics manufacturers – Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony – this standard has moved under the aegis of the ZigBee Alliance and is now referred to as ZigBee RF4CE.

Based upon the 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.15.4 standard, the ZigBee Alliance has expanded the ZigBee RF4CE standard into several end user application areas. These three profiles, all using RF4CE, encompass ZigBee Input Devices (ZID), ZigBee 3D Sync (Z3S) and ZigBee remote control (ZRC).

ZID was developed for touch pads, mice, keyboards, wands, etc., for use with a variety of laptops, computers, TV sets, set-top boxes and other electronic devices. Much better than the current crop of IR and Bluetooth devices used for these applications, the ZID profile allows consumers to use their devices from greater distances or even from another room because operation is not limited to line of sight. The ZID energy-efficient design helps devices run longer on batteries, when compared to infrared technology, and will greatly reduce the total number of batteries used – and disposed of – during the device's lifetime. 

The standard offers native support of popular multi-touch and gesture commands, allowing manufacturers to deliver the most feature-rich products for their consumers. It also features the ability to define special functions and enhanced performance beyond the standard behavior of a mouse, keyboard or similar input device.

The ZigBee Alliance developed ZigBee 3D Sync as a global standard for more convenient, flexible and enjoyable 3D HD viewing. By using RF instead of IR, users

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