The time that a remote control (R/C) was just a little box with a few push buttons is long gone. Today many consumer R/Cs feature colorful graphic displays and touch capability. Furthermore, RF-based remote controls are becoming more prevalent because unlike the traditional infrared R/C they support bi-directional communication and work through walls without requiring line-of-sight communication.
If you want to have a go at building such a remote yourself, you might be interested in this new R/C Demo Board from Microchip that integrates graphics, touch sensing, USB and wireless communication with ZigBee RF4CE. It implements a remote control unit populated with a PIC24FJ256DA210 MCU, a 3.5-inch graphic TFT display with resistive touch screen, capacitive touch keys with plastic overlay, an MRF24J40 2.4 GHz transceiver and a ZENA wireless adapter. Even though the board is laid out as a wireless remote control, it can also be used as a reference design to build any type of application that requires a graphic display, touch sensing, USB and/or wireless capability.
The demo board is supported by free source code that can be adapted for various graphic screens or touch-button layouts. The MRF24J40 transceiver can be used with the 2.4 GHz RF4CE, ZigBee or MiWi protocols, depending upon the wireless needs of the end application.