Posts Tagged photo

Prototype, progress, and the first digital camera

We make prototypes. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how a product will evolve from the first (clumsy?) prototype into a sleek product, once it gets ‘real’ and becomes a manufactured (perfected?) item.

Since we all know what digital cameras look like now, here’s a photo (ironically a digital photo) of an early Kodak prototype digital camera, to show how things change and improve: (note that we don’t need the cassette tape to store images any more).

The full article can be found here: link to story about first digital camera at Retrothing

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Photos of mechanical, front panel design

Portable electronic instruments. These photos show knobs, nuts, knurled, and know-how (Pete’s). These are working photos of our differential amplifier project. They show how we can get the electrical boards to line up with the mechanical connectors, and controls. And how an extra layer of plexi can be used to add a nice finish, and provide a solution to the incompatible height of the controls (note the nut is recessed by the plexi).

overall view of assembly, showing how it slides into the case

overall view of assembly, showing how it slides into the case

close up of the BNC connectors

close up of the BNC connectors

BNC aignment of pcb, fron panel, and mounting BNC panel

BNC aignment of pcb, fron panel, and mounting BNC panel

cardboard pcb mock-up, with the real board and assembly behind it

cardboard pcb mock-up, with the real board and assembly behind it - we like to make quick mock ups as we design, just to check everything is going well

Detail of the plexi layer used to 'bury' the nut needed to hold the front panel control. The plexi is an additional part, but the incompatible heights of the controls meant there had to be some way to accomodate all these part variations.

Detail of the plexi layer used to 'bury' the nut needed to hold the front panel control. The plexi is an additional part, but the incompatible heights of the controls meant there had to be some way to accomodate all these part variations.

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Light uniformity testing

For both a clinical test microscope, and a home theater HDTV projection display, the light from the source must be quite uniform.

To test some non-imaging illumination optics, we set up our digital camera, and wrestled with the RAW data files from the camera. Most cameras have some ability to ‘see’ infra-red, so we can also test the pattern from the remote control output, or for other purposes.

Here we test the light uniformity of an LED source using a digital camera and some Thor Labs mounts.

Here we test the light uniformity of an LED source using a digital camera and some Thor Labs mounts.

These graphs were generated by ImageJ from the RAW data files of the Nikon D1x camera.

These graphs were generated by ImageJ from the RAW data files of the Nikon D1x camera.

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Custom front panels

Here’s a vendor we recommend, and a photo of some parts they made for us.

photo of parts made by Front Panel Express for our Diff Amp project

When you make one or 10 of something it can be difficult to make it look ‘real’, that is, to make it look finished. Sometimes the Dymo-Marker labels are OK, say in a sci-fi movie, for your Custom Flux-Capacitor. But other times, you want the prototype to look clean.

We have enjoyed using the services of FrontPanelExpress to make some custom front panels for our projects. They provide free software, that’s simple and easy to use, and you upload the files to their on line ordering … and you get great parts back. A variety of anodized aluminum options and thicknesses.

http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/

They will engrave text, add paint colors into the text -makes a very nice professional looking prototype or short run of parts.

Just imagine – they can easily make a D-shaped hole for the BNC – so it won’t UNSCREW and FALL OUT !!! That alone is worth the price of admission. I can’t find my D-shaped drill bit …

They can do a lot of things that are a pain to do by hand – countersink holes, nice RS-232 type D-cutouts, square holes, etc. Check out their site for some examples.

We also made a Plexiglass panel – this allows us to compensate for the very annoying differences in height of the switches and knobs – and it allows simple paper graphics to be protected. We also considered making a glowing logo, but have not yet done that.

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inside an electronic nose

This is a bench test of a prototype electronic nose. Kind of like a wind tunnel test for odors.

The scale is 12 inches long.

Click on the photo for a larger image.alligatoronesideview

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