>> Projects

Venturing into new technical territory is routine for us. To clear a design path for many of our projects, we frequently need to adapt or invent outright new technical approaches. These kinds of forays have yielded practical concepts that carried through to pending and granted patents.

As an example, a recent project saw us draw inspiration from areas as disparate as garment sewing, inertial navigation, guitar string construction and RFID laundry tracking, to create a basis for a family of new products.

Here are just a few of the projects we have completed:

    Touch Glove

    A sensing glove to interpret thumb to finger touches to mimic a USB keyboard was created. Novel touch sensors and glove assembly process were invented and a detachable pod containing the readout circuitry and embedded controllers needed to calibrate and interpret the sensors was designed. This project spanned initial white board conceptualization through to establishing mass manufacturing, obtaining product certification and writing patent applications.

    On-board Vehicle Weight Scale

    An on-board weigh in motion measurement system was developed to determine in real time the load and balance at each axle group on hauler trucks. This system used a combination of load cell conditioners, air suspension pressure sensors and road tilt compensation to provide accurate real time load weight readings to drivers and trailer loaders. The measurement units positioned at each axle group piggybacked communication onto the vehicle turn signal wiring, allowing these units to be easily retrofitted to existing equipment.

    Vehicle electronics

    An automatic engine monitoring system was created that could disable over revving diesel engines that were aspirating combustible gases from a nearby hydrocarbon leak. This system included power hardened under-hood electronics; an RF remote triggered shutdown capability; programmable settings for shutdown behavior; status displays; and a range of engine speed sensor inputs.

    Drug Delivery System

    A drug delivery system was created to modulate the flow of nitric oxide gas into a ventilator circuit synchronized to the patient's breath, maintaining a constant drug concentration independant of the flow rate. This FDA approved medical product incorporated multiple redundant control mechanisms, automatic gas concentration analysis and a variety of operator display and system diagnostic functions. This development project included preparation of regulatory applications, multiple levels of product safety certification and the establishment of a full ISO13485 quality assurance system to support design and manufacturing. Three seperate patents covering pure gas system design, process control and delivery system architecture were obtained.

    NDT Ultrasound Transducer

    A unique miniature ultrasound pencil transducer was created. The design incorporated excitation pulse isolation and return signal amplification directly at the output of the ultrasound element, resulting in significantly reduced noise pickup and increased detection sensitivity compared to conventional transducers. These characteristics combine to allow operation with longer cable sets while still achieving high signal fidelity. The isolation and amplification circuitry is housed inside the small, removable, water tight transducer housing. The technology developed for this project has recently been granted a US patent.
    A wearable hand gesture sensor package, including finger position detection and hand-arm motion tracking was created. These devices, very similar to a simple glove and a traditional wrist watch, can act both as a motion based computer interface and as a signing or gesture interpreter front end. The devices are unobtrusive, easy to use and permit the wearer to perform normal tasks in parallel with gesture recognition. Several generations of this system have been created, the latest of which utilizes a unique and rugged method to detect finger positions and includes a 6+ DOF motion sensor. Development is ongoing, with application specific versions being evolved.

    Safety Design and HazLoc Certification

    We conducted a detailed review on a prototype oilfield product and recommended a number of design changes needed to comply with Hazardous Locations standards. This project included detailed design of flame path features, specifying explosion proof wiring and components and putting manufacturing production controls in place at the factory floor level. We submitted the product to CSA on behalf of the client and obtained HazLoc certification.

    Custom Data Acquisition & Process Control Package

    This project included the design of several major sub-assemblies that form part of a sophisticated hazardous locations gas analyzer. The hardware for a DIMM motherboard, a TI DSP processor unit and the associated signal conditioning and power supply units was developed first, followed by the hardware and firmware for a supervisory communication module based around a ColdFire MCF5282 MCU. These assemblies include basic displays, uSD card datalogging, precison 4-20mA isolated loop drivers, a variety of hardware monitoring circuits and many other design features required in harsh industrial environments.