Remote control

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A remote control unit is an important part of our lives.  Pushing a button sets in motion a chain of events that causes a device to carry out different commands. An important thing to note about a remote control unit is the absence of wires. Thus, a remote control unit uses electromagnetic waves so it has to send signals to a device in order to trigger an operation. Often, remote controls send signals through infrared radiation. However, others may use radio waves instead. Since the 1980s, remote controls have widely used light in the infrared range with a low frequency that eyes cannot see. A different flashing light message is sent for each job done.When one presses a button on their remote control, the push commands a tiny computer processor to set in a light-emitting device at the front.  The red emitting device is called a diode. The work of the diode is to flash an infrared signal to a light-sensitive area. The light-sensitive is known as a photocell. Devices such as TVs have this area. The signal sent is different depending on the button pushed (Nichols et al., 2002).

It is of no good that a remote control sends out random flares. When the infrared receiver on the device picks up a signal from the remote, it verifies the address code that should carry out the command. It converts the light pulses back into electrical signals in the form of binary codes. These signals are then passed to the microprocessor.  The microprocessor executes the command or stops the command. Infrared remote controls work well but have certain limitations related to the nature of infrared lights. They require a line-on-site on the device being controlled. They also have a short range.


Nichols, J., Myers, B. A., Higgins, M., Hughes, J., Harris, T. K., Rosenfeld, R., & Pignol, M. (2002,). Generating remote control interfaces. User interface software and technology (pp. 161-170). ACM.

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