ULP wireless solutions for mice, keyboards, remotes and USB dongles
PC peripherals - At the heart of our computing experience
Today's PC peripherals are becoming an ever more integrated and important part of our computing experience and increasingly employ the convenience of wireless connectivity. Product examples range from professional products (e.g. wireless keyboards and mice) through to entertainment (advanced navigation remotes for multi-media centers). Nordic Semiconductor is the global leader in this market segment offering ICs that support both Bluetooth® low energy (previously called Bluetooth Smart) and proprietary products.
Typical products in this segment are:
- Advanced navigation remote controls
- 3D glasses
Quick start tools
Nordic offers the following reference designs to speed up your PC peripheral 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|
The Nordic competitive edge
Nordic Semiconductor's ultra-low power (ULP) wireless solutions support the latest demands of PC peripherals by offering:
- Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU)
- Ultra-low power consumption – Up to years of battery life running from a single coin-cell.
- Multi-protocol SoCs - Single chip solutions capable of running more than one protocol on chip including Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4 GHz.
- Pin compatible SoCs - Pin compatible SoC's across Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4 GHz enables you to make one PCB design for a range of products.
- Protocol/Application independence - The nRF51 series unique software architecture enables you to develop, compile, and test your application separately from the embedded protocol stack.
- Small size – The combination of compact packaging options and support for tiny coin-cell batteries supports the smallest wireless designs from watches down to key tags/fobs.
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 PC peripherals
If you have very specific application demands on network topology or power consumption and don't need vendor interoperability with other devices through standards such as Bluetooth low energy or ANT+, then a proprietary protocol may provide you with the best alternative. 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions offer the greatest flexibility, best power consumption, and lowest Bill of Material as you are able to optimize the wireless solution specifically for your demands.
Gazell is a simple to use low-power protocol developed by Nordic Semiconductor. It is primarily developed for Human Interface Device (HID) applications like mouse, keyboard, touchpads, remote controls, presenters, and drawing tablets. Gazell supports asynchronous and semi-synchronous communication and is designed for systems that have asymmetrical power consumption requirements. The central hub may be mains supplied or have large batteries and relatively relaxed power budgets while communicating with a number of peripheral devices that have much more stringent power efficiency needs. By consuming some extra power in the hub, Gazell minimizes power consumption in the peripherals.
Bluetooth low energy
Bluetooth low energy 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 peripherals 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 IC's that again set the benchmark in this field. The nRF51 Series is based on the 32 bit ARM Cortex M0-CPU and combined with Nordic's leading multi-protocol radio supports Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions. 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. The innovative software architecture ensures an absolute separation between application code and protocol stacks, and enables you to maintain one code base for products using the different wireless technologies.
The nRF24L Series SoC are the most commonly-found solution for wireless PC peripherals in the market today. Based on an enhanced 8051 CPU and Nordic's radio technology, the nRF24L Series SoCs represent an extremely popular, cost-effective and proven choice for PC peripheral development.
Device Selector Table for PC peripherals
|Device||Bluetooth low energy||ANT||2.4GHz||Multi-protocol capable||32-bit CPU||8-bit CPU||Series pin-compatible||USB||Flash||OTP|