2.4GHz RF and Bluetooth low energy solutions for gaming accessories
Wireless makes gaming much more fun and interactive
Manufacturers of game controllers were one of the earliest mass-market adopters of ultra-low power (ULP) wireless because it freed end-users from the restrictions of a corded link to their gaming consoles and PCs, while adding extra comfort and immersive realism to the gaming experience. Today ULP wireless continues to re-define the gaming sector with product examples including motion-enhanced devices, dancing mats, musical instruments, and even mind-reading headsets.
Typical gaming applications are:
- Mainstream gaming controllers
- Motion-based controllers
- Fitness/activity-oriented gaming
- Remote controls
- Instruments – wireless guitars, drums, etc.
- Game show and audience response 'button-pads'
- 3D glasses
- Car racing wheels and pedals
- Flight sticks and pedals
- Targeting and shooting controls
- Dancing mats
Quick start tools
Nordic offers the following reference designs to speed up your wireless gaming accessory development.
|Reference Design||Bluetooth low energy||ANT||2.4GHz (Gazell)||Multi-protocol capable||Keyboard / Button Matrix||Mouse / Air Mouse||Multi-touch trackpad||Freespace motion sensing||Voice Input|
|nRFready Desktop 2||x||x||x||x||x|
|nRFready Smart Remote 3 for nRF51 Series||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|nRFready Smart Remote 3 for nRF52 Series||x||x||x||x||x||x|
Please go to the nRF product pages that are linked from the device selector table further down to read about development tools and software support for each relevant nRF product.
Nordic competitive edge
Nordic Semiconductor's ULP wireless solutions enable you to cater for the full range of wireless gaming devices – from mainstream gaming controllers through to more advanced devices with built-in gyros – while meeting or exceeding end users' expectations in terms of features, performance, and pricing:
- Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU)
- Class-leading battery lifetimes– Months to years running from regular AA or AAA cells
- Ease-of-use– Works 'out-of-the' box without complex pairing procedures
- High Performance– 2 Mbps on-air data rate enables a low latency, high-realism, wireless link for multiple data streams (e.g. joysticks, buttons, gyros, etc.)
- Robust wireless connectivity – Excellent co-existence performance with other popular 2.4 GHz wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Attractive price point – Single chip solutions with low cost external Bill of Materials (BoM) supporting entry-level product pricing
The nRF51 Series are flash-based SoCs, as such they represent the most flexible solution available. A key feature of the nRF51 Series and their associated software architecture and S-Series SoftDevices is the possibility for Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU). See fig. 1. This allows firmware updates to be issued and downloaded to products in the field via the cloud. This enables OEMs to fix bugs and introduce new features to products that are already out in the marketplace. This brings added security and flexibility to product development when using the nRF51 Series SoCs.
Nordic offers the following wireless technologies for gaming
If you have very specific application demands and no requirements for interoperability through standards such as Bluetooth low energy or ANT, then proprietary protocols sometimes provide the best alternative. When this is the case, 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions often offer the greatest flexibility, best power consumption, and lowest Bill of Material. Nordic provide the Gazell proprietary protocol to serve these applications.
Alternatively, developers can choose to develop a bespoke protocol from scratch.
Bluetooth low energy
Bluetooth low energy (previously called Bluetooth Smart) is an exciting technology that is becoming a standard feature in PC's and mobile devices. Bluetooth low energy Ready devices form the hub of our personal area networks, these include smartphones and tablets as well as dedicated hub products. Bluetooth low energy devices are the peripheral sensors that typically capture data and relay data to and from the hubs. Bluetooth low energy profiles are already available for a range of different applications.
For more information about Bluetooth low energy visit www.bluetooth.org
Nordic IC offering
The nRF51 Series is Nordic's latest generation of ULP wireless System on Chip (SoC) IC's that again sets the benchmark in this field. The nRF51 Series is based on the 32 bit ARM Cortex-M0 CPU and Nordic's leading multiprotocol radio and supports Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions. These devices offer the developer the unique capability to make singular designs that can cater for different application and wireless protocol requirements with a single device. Across the range pin-compatibility allows for drop-in replacement of device types where application requirements differ with no requirement for redesign of circuit layout. Innovative software architecture ensures an absolute separation between application code and memory, this brings a unique and simplified approach to overall development efforts when making a ULP wireless application. Energy efficiency is maximized using innovative selective autonomous power modes which enables individual energizing of peripherals in sync with the exact requirements of the device at any given time.
The nRF24L Series SoCs are an ideal platform to develop 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions on. Based on an enhanced 8051 CPU and Nordic's radio technology, the nRF24L Series SoCs represent an extremely popular, flexible, cost-effective, and proven choice for PC peripheral development.
Device Selector Table for Gaming
|Device||Bluetooth low energy||ANT||2.4GHz||Multi-protocol capable||32-bit CPU||8-bit CPU||Series pin-compatible||USB||Flash||OTP|