We specialize in inexpensive hardware, free software for commercial products, and test sets
You have an idea that needs electronics, and time-to-market is everything. It’s expensive, slow, and unreliable to build an EE team from the ground up, or even to expand a team which is busy, productive, and working well together. You need all design approaches considered in a rapidly-changing competitive environment. And your product must be accepted with rapidity and enthusiasm. Where should you go? Let us backfill your EE needs on a specific project. We speak your language, and will work closely with you to get the job done right and on time.
We start with requirements analysis and then a product specification, but both these need to be continuously updated and refined as the design is progressed. With electronics, many approaches will work, but usually only one succeeds in the market. There may have to be weeks of back-and-forth with you to iterate the specifications, and to select the compliance/V&V process to prove that your product meets specification. But for electronics, change is easy if the project is well managed, so the design will usually start in the first few weeks.
Our specification delivery typically includes cost-estimates, a projected maintainability analysis, and a path to user-update features with an ease-of-use estimate. It’s not enough to know what it will cost to get through the initial design — you need to be able to anticipate and plan how the product can be evolved even after first shipment.
We believe in the hacker/maker philosophy – conceive of a broad range of solutions, build prototypes quickly, test them aggressively, and iterate often so that the best solution emerges ASAP. We don't like the strict waterfall approach, by the end of which you may well have a design which meets your original specifications, but then find that it won't sell or can’t be supported.
For high-volume designs, we will contact OEMs and provide the DFT/DFM analysis. For smaller projects, we spend extra time between layout and PCB fab to perfect and tweak. Whenever possible, we make boards 100% SMT, one-side assembly, and using the most popular parts. For example, we wouldn't try to make our own on-board switching power supplies. We typically just buy Murata point-of-use power supply modules. They are cheap, small, and excellent — frankly, we couldn't design better. We emphasize firmware over hardware when possible. We emphasize microprocessors over FPGAs when possible. But when we need FPGAs we usually can provide COTS modules which are actually cheaper than buying small quantities of FPGAs directly.
We have long-term relationships with PCB fab, PCB assembly, and software/firmware designers. Time-to-market is second only to product-acceptance, and it’s much more controllable. Our EEs have deep experience, but we know the benefits of inexpensive and effective outside consulting. We have a "Rolodex" of proven consultants we bring in as and when needed. These are all people we have worked with, and whom we know will hit the ground running and deliver great work.
We have decades of experience in EE and product development that allow us to use "bread and butter" techniques and concepts as well as the newer "build-it/try-it/refine-it” maker/hacker approach. As Bob Seger, the "Deacon of Detroit", sang, the key is knowing "What to Leave In, What to Leave Out". At this point in our careers, it is all about the fun and excitement of getting another product to market.