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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Video Overview: Modified COTS

Today we have a video overview of InHand's modified COTS products and services. What are modified COTS? What are the advantages? And some examples of our own board and tablets modified products and services. Have a video suggestion? Email it to info@inhand.com.    

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Internet of Things King, Embedded Systems

Embedded computing is nothing new, but as connectivity and networking have become more affordable and pervasive in mainstream products, embedded computing begins to touch every aspect of our lives. In fact, it’s probably in your pocket or purse right now and will soon be in every vehicle, appliance, medical device, industrial sensor,  and military device you see. In fact, it is all around us and quickly becoming a growing network of devices known as the Internet of Things. Cisco projects that there will be as many as 50 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020 - growing from approximately 14 billion today....

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On Why the i.MX 6 is On Top

The Freescale i.MX 6 ARM processor is dominating the market in next generation special-purpose embedded devices for the medical, military, and industrial markets. Examples of such embedded devices include a medical blood analysis device, a military handheld for situational awareness, and a diagnostic instrument to monitor vibration for machine health management. Today I’m going to outline why the i.MX 6 is on top in the processor market for specialized device design. First: long life cycles. Medical, military, and industrial embedded devices exhibit long life cycles from concept through development, launch, sustainment, and obsolescence. Microprocessor product availability over the device’s life...

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Outtake: Egg to the Face from Proving our Rugged Tablet, Episode 3

In honor of deviled eggs and turkey dinners tomorrow, we present  you our latest blooper reel in which yours truly takes an egg to the face. Proving our 'nearly indestructbile' Hydra-F6 rugged tablet is taking the term "eat an egg" to a new level. Maybe Rodney Feldman, Director of Systems Engineering and resident egg thrower, has a beef with me. : )  Enjoy the blooper as you head into your holiday mindset. And from all of us at InHand: Happy Thanksgiving!  

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Proving Our ’Nearly Indestructible’ Rugged Tablet, Episode 3: Halloween Hazing

Welcome to another episode of proving the durability of our Freescale i.MX 6 SBC based Hydra-F6 rugged tablet. This episode is Halloween themed; playing tricks on the tablet that kids (in movies) might do to houses or cars or people as Hallows Eve prank. Here we showcase the durability of the tablet (eggs are harder than you think), ability to withstand liquids and, most markedly, our tablet can withstand cleaning and chemical agents that might be used in military, medical or industrial applications. As Rodney explains in the video below, the Hydra-F6 rugged tablet is made of Makrolon 9415, a...

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