Problem Solving: Employing Innovation

Challenge

Create a battery-powered device to power and interface with a sensor array assembly for high frequency sampling.

Solution

The hardware consisted of a Microchip microcontroller, USB interface, LVDS interface solution from Texas Instruments, and custom designed power supply circuits.

Summary

Sensor arrays are commonly used to measure applied forces with high sampling frequency. Designing a sensor array to measure, store, and display the results for dozens of sessions over the span of weeks presents challenges. innovation Tecnova was approached to create a battery operated sensor array with the added burden of running over a span of weeks on a single set of batteries.

Tecnova designed the hardware and firmware for a unique controller to power and monitor a system array, store the measurements, and display the measurements. The controller operates from a single set of AA batteries for dozens of sessions without the measurements being affected by local ambient RF energy. This new prototype controller achieved the error-free high-sampling frequency that the client had specified. In addition, this unique and new controller was designed, prototyped, tested, and delivered to the client on a very short schedule.

One key innovative solution that was integral to the success of the first prototype was the use of the LVDS interface solution from TI. The implementation of the LVDS interface solution allowed for the use of standard off-the-shelf cables and connectors while providing a very robust signal path. This kind of innovative approach is only possible with the depth and breadth of experience that Tecnova provides. Tecnova continually strives to leverage its talents, experience, and the resulting innovation to design the best product to meet our customer's requirements with the lowest project risks.

To create the successful design, three-dimensional CAD models coupled with circuit card design and signal interface requirements were used to create a simple, custom interface solution to this complex problem. All custom circuitry merged nicely within the board stack and provided an elegant and maintainable solution to connecting external test equipment. The result was a unique and successful test equipment design that satisfied the challenging customer requirements.

 

Topics: Electronic Engineering