I am working on a remote-controlled (IR) lightswitch. This is pretty easy with an Arduino; you just do serial I/O with an IR receiver/transmitter to read "ON" and "OFF" signals.
I want to know if this kind of thing is possible without a microcontroller. Do there exist IC's that send/receive a pre-defined pattern (and then activate a pin if one of those patterns is recognized?)
I want something similar to a multiplexer; if I activate a set of pins, how can I output that pattern, like morse code, to my LED? Similarly, how could I read in such a pattern?
Is there a category of IC's, pertaining to logic or communication, that I might want to be aware of?
The reason I ask is:
I am a software guy. So "just programming it" is really easy, and I would like to learn more about ICs and using them.
I plan to make a few of these, to give to my buddies and put in different rooms of the house. It would be cool if I could use standard parts, rather than having to program a chip every time I wanted a new one!