nRFready Smart Remote 3 for nRF51 Series

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The next evolution of nRFready Smart Remote is here

Nordic has for a number of years catered to the remote control engineering community with our high performance feature-laden smart remote reference designs. The 3rd generation nRFready Smart Remote is now released for implementing nRF51 series-based designs

TV - Still king of the living room?

The TV has evolved dramatically over the last 10 years or so to the point that today being a TV is just one of its purposes. It may, or may not be true that the TV is still the undisputed king of media provision in our homes, as there are a wide range of contenders for this. The screen on the wall opposite the sofa, where we all consume whatever content it may be is still in place, and it is typically still a TV.

The array of different types on visual content available to us is constantly on the up and today encompasses movies, net surfing, work out apps, games, social media and more. The two methods of interaction we have become most familiar with are the mouse and more recently on mobile devices, gesturing. These methods of interaction are fast and precise and allow us to navigate efficiently and with minimum of frustration, well, most of the time. The remote control as we generally know it has been stuck in something of a time-warp, with some incremental innovations such as shortcut keys. But for the most part it seems woefully out of touch with the scale of innovation on the devices it is controlling. Change is overdue.

Enter Smart Remote 3

Developing a multi-feature advanced navigation remote control can be quite a leap from a standard button-press IR remote. That’s why we at Nordic put in the hard work to offer close to a turn-key solution for anyone embarking on such a remote control project. With nRFready Smart Remote 3 we have put together a very richly featured reference design that is modular in structure in terms of both hardware and software and is easy for OEMs to tailor and integrate for their own purposes. In terms of straight up features it has the following:

  • Voice input support

  • Multi-touch gesture pad

  • Remote control keypad matrix
  • 6-axis gyro for motion sensing

  • Wake-up accelerometer

Smart Remote 3 improves upon Smart Remote 2 by upgrading some components to reflect state of the art devices now available in the industry. The components we have employed offer cutting edge performance and power efficiency to ensure an optimal product design. This whole reference design package is designed to be flexible and is based on Nordic’s nRF51Series SoC. All external HW devices are mounted on Arduino Uno form factor shield which attaches to the DK. Firmware is available to run all the HW functions and runs entirely on a single nRF51 Series SoC.

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Voice input is a must

With our experience and good connections in this industry we know that voice input is hot for remotes right now. Specifically, voice input for search is the stand out use case here. The nRF51 Smart remote 3 package uses external analog mic in via an ADC to the nRF51. The FW and SW suite takes care of the digital audio path from remote up to the OS on the host side so it is ready to be relayed to whichever application is using the audio for voice-related functionality.

Configuration wizard

The reference design download includes a configuration wizard for quick and easy selection of features using tick boxes. This allows for selection of high-level functions in their entirety such as multi-touch support, but it goes down to a much deeper levels so a fine grained selection of features and services can be included or excluded from your next software build. As the wizard is integrated with the Keil MDK you can then make a new build with the latest choices and the remote controls can be re-flashed with the latest code.

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Host side support

For the Host side, meaning the TV, Set-Top Box, or similar we supply the necessary SW to connect and make use of all the Smart Remote 3’s great features. Supported platforms are:

  • Linux
  • Android

This reference design obviously appeals to a specific market segment, but this has allowed us to offer something that will significantly reduce time and cost to develop a very advanced Bluetooth Smart remote control solution. The kit features all that is needed to get started and FW and SW for the design is downloadable from our website for those who possess the reference design kit. There is even a fully integrated remote control in the reference design box so that the features can be experienced in a normal looking remote control for those engineers needing to convince their marketing folks that all these great features really can be packed into a normal looking remote control :-)

Find out more here