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Smart remote control allows two-way communications

Posted: 12 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart remote control? ZigBee? MCU?

NXP Semiconductors has debuted a smart remote control demonstrator that integrates the JN5161 wireless MCU using ZigBee RF4CE and a capacitive touchscreen that can be used to control and display information about multiple home appliances. The ZigBee RF4CE enables remote controls to operate reliably from long distances!even around corners or through walls!without relying on line of sight, noted the company.

With its graphical LCD, the NXP smart remote control demo shows the range of information that can be communicated from the appliance back to the remote control. For a home entertainment system, this might include information about different channels, specific content, volume and other settings. For residential or commercial air conditioning systems, this could include temperature and humidity levels, power consumption history and any problems with components that require maintenance.

The NXP smart remote control enables long-distance operation in indoor environments!from 20m away, even through walls!while consuming only one-tenth the power of WiFi, without unnecessary complexity or the need for a separate router. The reference design can be easily implemented using RF4CE or any of the other IEEE 802.15.4 software stacks available with the JN516x wireless MCU platform, including JenNet-IP and ZigBee PRO.

The smart remote control is geared for highly efficient battery operation. The JN516x wireless MCUs offer a 32bit RISC processor with ultra-low active power consumption of 17mA RX and 15mA TX. In addition, the PCF8885 capacitive touch sensor, with its ultra-low active power consumption below 6uA, can also contribute significantly to longer battery life.

With 64kB of flash and 8kB of RAM, the JN5161 wireless MCU is intended for basic remote controls using RF4CE. For more complex systems!a single remote used to control, configure and monitor multiple air conditioning units, for example!NXP also offers additional memory options to support more sophisticated network stacks that enable communication between units. With 160kB of flash and 32kB of RAM, the JN5164 is recommended for use with JenNet-IP, ZigBee Home Automation and ZigBee Light Link, NXP said.

For consumers who want the option to control their home appliances via their smartphones, appliance makers can easily implement the smart remote control using the JN5168, which offers 256kB of flash and 32kB of RAM. This allows smart appliances and devices to join the "Internet of Things" to communicate with the consumer's smartphone or tablet, via a central home gateway which serves as a bridge between 802.15.4 and the Internet. Gateways, bridges and routers are available from many NXP partners, and a new gateway reference design will become available from NXP in May 2013.

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