Proving Our ’Nearly Indestructible’ Rugged Tablet, Episode 4: Bucket of Water

Today we have our Freescale i.MX 6 based Hydra-F6 rugged tablet (have we mentioned it is fully customizable?) sitting in a bucket of water. It's been there for hours, testing in preparation for the Freescale Technology Forum 2015, which will take place in Austin, TX next week. The tablet will be featured in the bedroom section of the Freescale Smart Home exhibit. InHand also has a tablet featured in the kitchen section of the Freescale Internet of Tomorrow tour bus. Hope to see you there! Any questions?   .  

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Video: Accelerating Time-to-Market

After 15 years of creating new rugged, mobile devices, InHand has become an expert in accelerating time-to-market for new device designs. Here we discuss three embedded system options for fast time-to-market. For questions or inquiries, please contacts us. To request a future vlog topic, email info@inhand.com.   .

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Incorporating GPS into Production Test, A Review of Test Methodologies

Co-Authored by Willy Negrete, InHand Director of Quality Assurance/Test  Portable devices that incorporate a Global Positioning System (GPS) have become a mainstay feature in most modern, handheld devices. While GPSs are a great feature, they can be tough to design-in to devices and they are equally as tough to test in a cost-effective and robust way. Problems with Testing GPS GPS is a weak signal under strict control from the FCC, creating a challenge for the original design-in as well as test. The signal will seldom appreciably propagate into a structure without direct line of sight (LOS) to the sky....

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Modified COTS, Customizing OTS Rugged Tablets to Meet System Requirements

At InHand, we take the concept of modified COTS to a new level. While many companies offer “custom” configurations of their standard products, they are still offering certain specific configurations that may or may not meet your needs. (Remember Gateway computers circa 2000?) InHand, on the other hand, offers full flexibility in the customization of our standard products in order to meet our customers’ exact specifications, i.e. a standard product can be completely overhauled to create a new, custom product based on the original. And, since we are starting from a known, proven product, development time and cost associated with new...

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Introducing the Fury-X Single Board Computer Based on the Freescale i.MX 6SoloX

Freescale i.MX 6Solo X: The Perfect Processor for Secure, Low-Power Mobile devices The i.MX 6SoloX has a heterogeneous architecture, which means that the processor includes different core types. The 6SoloX includes two ARM processor cores: a Cortex-M4 microcontroller-class core and a Cortex-A9 microprocessor-class core. The benefit of heterogeneous cores is that - when correctly configured and programmed- they enable power, security, and application optimization. The M4 core, with its microcontroller-type capability and power envelope, runs the MQX real-time operating system (RTOS). It is suitable for deterministic data sampling and control of digital and analog sources with minimal jitter. The M4...

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Using CPLD’s to Tackle Unforeseen Design Problems: Adding Debouncing and Hysteresis to Power Path Control Circuits

Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs) are becoming a staple for modern digital design. Although CPLD’s have their limitations (primarily for digital and low-power architectures), they are hard to beat from a total package perspective of low power consumption, on-the-fly design flexibility, and robust operation. InHand engineers have used CPLD’s and FPGA’s for purposes ranging from very sophisticated (screen rotation/timing) to simple (GPIO manipulation, combinatorial logic and level shifting), but the purpose of this topic is to address their use to resolve unforeseen design issues. One good example of this is a recent design project where we had just completed the...

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Designing for Long Life Cycle, Minimizing Cost of New Product Development

Unlike consumer devices, medical, military, and industrial products typically have very long product life cycles of five to 10+ years. Long life cycles are important because device manufacturers  in these markets are slow to migrate to next generation product, new devices, and/or technology. The slow migration arises from a number of factors: High design and development costs of unique requirement devices High product unit and production costs High costs to qualify and certify Often inaccessible deployment locations After product development and completion, just the certification processes required before deployment can take year or more. For example, medical type I, II,...

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Mechanical Engineer Review: Functional Rapid Prototype Enclosures

On a current project, we designed a modified COTS 7" ruggedized tablet based on our Hydra-F6. The project required expanded battery life and customized sealed connectors. In order to meet the requirements, we had to build a completely new enclosure. Prototype parts in this size and quantity ( We considered various prototype processes including stereolithography (relatively inexpensive but too brittle), CNC machined plastic (high per piece cost but good mechanical performance), and pseudo-mold processes (high set up cost but most similar to production parts). After reviewing the options, we decided on a 3-D print using black ABS-M30 material and also...

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Designing an Intrinsically Safe Handheld Device: A Multi-Disciplined Approach

InHand Electronics is a designer and manufacturer of portable and handheld electronic devices, designed for inherently low-power operation and high computational performance. A particular area of design that fits well with InHand's normal practices is an area known as intrinsic safety (IS). An intrinsically safe product is a product that is designed to operate in hazardous areas by limiting the energy available for ignition of dangerous explosive substances. Such products simplify deployment and reduce installation cost over other protection methods. These design methods are necessary since IS devices are certified to be used in areas with dangerous concentrations of flammable...

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The Future of Modern Device Design: Modified COTS, From Circuitry to Finished Devices - And Why

InHand has been blogging a lot recently about the advantages of Modified COTS, where a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) circuit board is used as a validated starting point for a customized design. We have discussed how to leverage our commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Fury-F6 single board computer (SBC) for new designs, and previous InHand modified COTS projects. The COTS focus has traditionally been on circuitry and low level software. Today, I discuss extending the Modified COTS concept to finished devices. A finished electronic device includes circuitry, software, and other components integrated into a package that holds everything together. The package is usually...

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