We have a variety of capabilities to help with your product development goals
Microcontroller firmware development
We code embedded software that runs on a PCB-mounted microcontroller to provide control of an Embedded System. Most often the circuit boards are developed by us too, but if a customer takes ownership for the PCB design we can provide firmware development as a standalone service as well. Our favorite microcontrollers to work with are devices from Atmel: the 8-bit AVR and 32-bit ARM-based SAM cores.
Mechanical design, system integration
Many of our electronics designs are tightly integrated within electromechanical systems, needing to interface with sensors and actuators. When the client chooses to take responsibility for the mechanical design, we communicate early and often to ensure that the mechanical interfaces implemented within our electronics design work as expected. When we provide the mechanical design for the electronics housing and other mechanical features, we use Onshape, a professional 3D CAD system that includes excellent support for remote collaboration. This allows our customers to easily review the design directly within the native CAD software, zooming in and rotating around, all at no cost.
Graphical User Interface (GUI) development
Many circuit boards have a communications interface enabling the exchange of data and control commands. For these systems (developed either by us or our customers) we develop a GUI that runs on a PC to display the data received and allow the operator to select and send configuration settings to the board. When the GUI is intended to run on a Windows PC, we typically create native Windows applications written using the C# programming language. For multi-platform applications (Windows + Linux) we use the Python programming language.
We design custom circuit boards to meet your functional and size requirements. Many of our projects are Embedded Systems with a microcontroller surrounded by analog, digital, and power electronics circuits. We use and recommend Altium Designer, a very high quality electronic CAD design software package, to efficiently design PCBs and produce the associated manufacturing documentation for bare board fabrication and assembly.
Schematic design and PCB layout
"Transforming great ideas into reality" is our tagline, and it's what we love to do best. Many of the most game-changing product development efforts require the integration of electrical, software, and mechanical functionality. As described in more detail in our other service listings, we can provide standalone services for circuit board design, embedded software and GUI development, and mechanical design, but we always love the opportunity to work with customers to integrate all of these aspects together in a prototype or product development effort. We especially enjoy early stage development when we have the opportunity to create something meaningful and real from nothing more than an idea.
We are happy to support our customers in whatever manner works for them. Sometimes this means that our customers take on some development work themselves, or engage another third party to help. We can still help troubleshoot any problems that occur and provide design review services for software or hardware development to help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
“Impact Embedded contributed more than expected to the project. Dominic’s attention to detail from both software and hardware perspectives has enabled us to produce a quality project.”
- John Curtis, Engineering Specialist at Laird Technologies
What will my project cost?
Costs vary substantially depending on how complex the project is, but $5K - $10K is a good ballpark for most average complexity PCB, firmware, or GUI development projects.
The example projects described below should give you an idea of how complexity impacts cost. These are all real projects that we have completed for clients.
Detailed schematic and PCB layout design review for a board designed by a customer.
Simple Proof of Concept Prototype
Proof of concept device for customer testing involving the electrical integration of off-the-shelf motor, motor controller, lithium batteries, and radio-control remote, and mechanical design and fabrication of some custom components and a portable mounting platform.
Circuit Board Development
Component selection, schematic design, PCB layout, fabrication and testing of 6 copies of a small, space constrained, battery powered circuit board that included a microcontroller, multiple motor drives, LED status displays, and switch inputs.
GUI and Firmware Development, Off-the-Shelf Hardware Integration
Test system for a customer module with I C serial and GPIO signal interface. An off-the-shelf Arduino computer board cost-effectively provided the hardware interface to the module, and we developed a Windows GUI to allow the user to send configuration commands and display telemetry data from the module. Our firmware running on the Arduino implemented a serial communications channel over USB to the Windows GUI, and then converted commands into low level hardware (I C and GPIO) signals to the module.
Circuit Board and GUI Development
Development of a control system with 160 individual output signals. Component selection, schematic design, PCB layout, fabrication and testing of 2 copies of the board. Software development of a Windows GUI communicating to the board over a SPI serial interface, enabling simplified system control by the operator.
Complex Firmware and GUI Development
Firmware and GUI development for a precision control system with support for extensive configuration commands, data acquisition, and real-time display of multiple data parameters. Firmware implemented numerous hardware control interfaces including multiple PWM signals, analog inputs, GPIO signals, I C, SPI, one-wire, SD memory card storage, and serial communications. There were also multiple PID control loops running simultaneously. The GUI could read back and display all configuration parameters stored on the board, send new parameter values, and display scrolling and static views of multiple data streams, as well as tracking and displaying historical min/max values.
PCB, Firmware, GUI, Mechanical Design, Prototype Fabrication, and Testing
Electromechanical medical device prototype development from scratch, including concept architecture, PCB design, firmware and GUI development, mechanical engineering, fabrication and testing of 5 copies as well as detailed documentation for regulatory requirements. The battery powered PCB included a microcontroller, Bluetooth communications module, magnetic sensor, LED and buzzer status outputs, and power management circuitry. The firmware implemented smart monitoring of the magnetic sensor to detect user actions and data collection points, control of the LED and buzzer, temperature sensing, automatic shutdown, and Bluetooth communication to the GUI software. Mechanical design included miniature precision mechanisms, mounting of PCB, sensor, battery, and a protective housing enabling straightforward assembly and disassembly.
Still have a question about pricing? We would love to answer it!
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