Rapid Prototyping

Regardless of the industry, sometimes you just need to know if something is feasible. This is where my true passion lies. In these cases you're not looking for a production-ready system, you're just looking for a proof-of-concept. On the electronics side, I usually start with some kind of development kit or evaluation board but even an Arduino (or something similar) can get you off the ground if you don't need resource-heavy computations. If it's a controls problem I'll start by developing a dynamical systems model of what we're trying to control and do a literature search for similar systems. It's rare nowadays to come across something that hasn't already been done in an academic setting, and that's typically a good starting point for developing a control strategy.
If modeling the system is difficult but you can acquire some data on how the system responds to inputs, I'll try some system ID techniques. The more data we have, the better our chances of being able to reliably and robustly control something.
Whether it's a controls problem or not, you can greatly speed up development if you can interact with your system as it is running. In the simplest form, this is modifying some registers or globals through your debugger. In more complex scenarios you can put in some software around a communication bus (UART, I2C, CAN, ethernet, etc) to interact with a PC and accept commands (and log system events). With this structure you can put the software in a particular state to test out behavior or update control values to optimize your system in some way. It is an invaluable tool, especially at early stages of proof-of-concept development.

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Reach out to Big 3 Innovations for more info on what we can do together, or if you know what you need you can request a quote. Contact me.

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