Wireless Communications System

Challenge

Create a secure, robust, and proprietary battery-powered wireless communications system consisting of a custom-designed transceiver, repeater, and receiver-only devices.

Solution

Texas Instruments integrated radio and microcontroller system-on-chip (SoC) components, PCB level antennae, and lithium-polymer batteries.

Summary

Emergency circumstances require coordination of personnel from within and among departments. Police, fire, and ambulance resources often work in concert to resolve difficult and dangerous situations. Modern communication systems are needed to ensure resources are in place to perform the correct tasks and to maintain the safety of all individuals involved.

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Topics: Electronic Engineering, Firmware Development

Wireless Electronic Lock

Challenge

Create a remote controlled, wireless, keyless lock for use with wood furniture, desks and cabinet applications.  The battery powered transmitter must have a 10 digit keypad and be small and unobtrusive.  The battery powered receiver/locking mechanism must be small enough to fit into any drawer or small cabinet.

Solution

Microchip PIC SOC (transmitter) and receiver chip (receiver), PCB level antennas, off-the-shelf batteries, Microchip communication protocol, PIC assembly code and Microchip MPLab were used to create this low power, robust and secure solution.

Summary

Tecnova was asked to develop an FCC approved, small form factor, battery powered, wireless locking device for home-office wood desks and cabinetry.

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Topics: Electro-Mechanical Products, PC Boards, Firmware Development

Wireless Student Response System to Enhance Classroom Learning

Challenge

Design a system with which students in a classroom setting can interact in real-time with projected prompts or verbal questions from an instructor.

Solution

Freescale integrated 802.15.4 (ZigBee) radio and microcontroller system on chip (SoC) components, PCB-trace antenna, Freescale MAC, ANSI C and Code Warrior.

Summary

Children growing up in the digital age of computers, MP3 players, and game devices learn differently than students of the past. To keep students engaged in learning, schools are investing in forms of technology that are familiar to children and intuitive to use.

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Topics: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Electronic Engineering, Firmware Development

Water Chemistry: Chemical Feed Controller

Challenge

Bring laboratory-grade water analysis and chemical feed control to large-scale commercial and industrial water cooling tower systems.

Solution

A custom designed, solid-state, highly accurate multi-channel fluorometer combined with a microprocessor-driven chemical feed controller.

Summary

Accurate chemical monitoring and feed control of chemicals in cooling tower water systems is required to reduce mineral scale, corrosion, and microbe growth. Relatively high volumes of expensive chemicals are required to protect these systems.

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Topics: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Electronic Engineering, Firmware Development, Industrial Controls

Concurrent Design: Augmenting Your Engineering Staff

Challenge

Create a device for interfacing with RFID tags and physical access security mechanisms that would be developed concurrently with other components of a larger system product.

Solution

Microchip microcontroller, USB and RS-485 controllers, and custom designed switching power supply circuits.

Summary

Time-to-market pressures are often mitigated with concurrent development efforts for multiple component assemblies that make up a system. Executing concurrent design activities presents numerous challenges including resource loading and coordination.

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Topics: Electronic Engineering, Firmware Development

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