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The information industry is driven by innovation. At the same time, the technologies of the digital age have been successfully implemented and landed. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that “Internet of Things” will become the most prominent feature of this era.  

However, in the face of the vast Internet of Things system, how can enterprises reduce the development cost and difficulty? What should developers change to adapt to the ecosystem under the big environment, and truly open the road to intelligence?  

Labx7 introduces you to the one-stop hardware development process. Hopefully, this will help developers and enterprises develop technologies more efficiently. 

What Is Smart Hardware? 

Intelligent hardware is a technology concept that refers to the intelligent transformation of traditional devices by combining hardware and software. With an intelligent hardware, applications are connected. Although the operation and the development are simple, when done correctly, more applications emerge one after another. 

The object of modification may be electronic devices, such as watches, televisions, and other appliances; or devices that were not previously electronic, such as door locks, teacups, automobiles, and even houses. 

Smart hardware have drastically expanded from wearable devices to smart TVs, smart homes, smart cars, healthcare, smart toys, robotics and more. Typical intelligent hardware includes Google Glass, Samsung Gear, FitBit, Maikai Cup, Handcuffs, Tesla and more. 

3 Intelligent Hardware Features 

1. Information acquisition and interaction 

2. Intelligence 

3. Soft and hard combination 

The Composition of Intelligent Hardware 

1. Sensor 

A sensor is a type of detecting technology that can sense any acquired information and transform it into electrical signals or other forms of information output to meet the requirements of information transmission, processing, storage, and display. Other requirements include records and controls. 

2. The Controller 

A controller is a master device that involves the wiring of the primary circuit or the control circuit in a predetermined order. It works by changing the resistance value in the circuit to take control of the starting, speeding, braking, and reversing of the motor.  

It has a program counter, an instruction decoder, an instruction instructor, an operating controller, and a timing generator. It is the “decision-making body” that issues commands, which is responsible for completing both coordination and direct operation of the whole computer system. 

3. PC or Mobile Application 

An Introduction to the Development Process of Intelligent Hardware 

1. Demand Research and Analysis 

Anyone who develops a product category needs to conduct a complete market research beforehand. The same applies to intelligent hardware. By collecting useful values for the group, there is a clear direction for product development orientation and functional requirements.  

These data that need to be collected include user research, competing product analysis, demand analysis, market capacity, development trends, product positioning, and more. 

2. Industrial Design 

Industrial design methods use varying design concepts and them as primary references throughout the design process. The expected output of this step is a 3D appearance model.  

The industrial design of the product includes product appearance, feel, material, color matching, etc., such as metal or plastic for the frame, curved or straight on the back, and which colors to match.  

The primary consideration of industrial design is the visual effect. Its quality directly affects whether a product is beautiful and classic, and directly determines the market popularity of the product. Excellent products should be considered: aesthetics; practicality; uniqueness; scientific, usage habits, etc. 

3. Make a Hand Board 

According to the 3D appearance model, the appearance hand board is made. There is a special hand board factory for the appearance of the hand board. It usually takes 3 to 4 days to make a straight board product. The appearance of the hand board is solid and cannot be dismantled, mainly to confirm the appearance effect for the customer. 

4. Structural Design 

After the ID design determines the shape of the product, MD will step-by-step build all the parts inside the product. For example, whether the frame is made of metal or plastic, how the back shell is fixed on the frame, how the battery is placed, whether the motherboard is grown or not, and the size of all the parts are controlled to determine whether the appearance of the ID can accommodate all the hardware of the product.  

If the design given by the ID is too difficult to achieve, then MD and ID designers will have to sit down and talk about it. Sometimes, they will have to pull the hardware engineer. The advantages and disadvantages of consulting with the MD directly is that it affects the number of times the mold is modified, and also affect the progress of the entire project. 

5. Hardware Development 

This mainly includes schematic design and PCB diagram design. The hardware design is not only made to connect the lines. It actually plays a critical role in considering multiple problems, such as power consumption, heat dissipation, radiation resistance, anti-static, and RF performance. After the completion of the joint test, if there is a problem in the middle, you need to redesign. 

6. Shouban Proofing 

Shouban proofing is a step wherein a verification sample that is manufactured in small quantities, is finalized. For the products that need to be produced in the mold, the hand plate is first made. This is in accordance to the product appearance drawing or structural drawing without opening the mold.  

Shouban is the first step to verify the viability of the product. It is the most direct and effective way to find out the defects, deficiencies, and shortcomings of the design product. With this step, defects can be improved in a targeted manner, until the deficiencies cannot be found from the individual hand samples. 

7. Open the Mold 

Open the Mold is a step that refers to the development of molds (groups) (including design and production). It is also called mold making. In this step, the mold and related auxiliary equipment for product design are literally made.  

The mold is a device for ensuring the quality, shape, and size of the product is accurate. After the product is designed and audited, it is mass-produced through the mold.  

Mold is an indispensable tool for directly transforming product design results into actual products. Without the mold making step, the overall progress of the project is affected. 

8. Tryout 

Tryout refers to the test injection molding process performed after the product is finished in the mold production, before the mass production. After the mold has been assembled and assembled, it is necessary to pass the actual injection molding and obtain the injection molded sample.  

And then, through the sample inspection, it is verified whether the mold is fully manufactured to meet the design requirements. If the injection molding sample fully meets the design requirements, it means that the mold production can be put into mass injection molding without any problem. Otherwise, the mold modification should be carried out according to the problem of sample feedback.  

Depending on the mold modification, the test pattern may be repeated several times before mass production until the mold completely corrects all problems. T=TEST, T1 and T2 are the first try and the second try.  

Generally, after the first test, after product testing, mold adjustment, and appearance improvement are performed. Next, the second test is performed. If it is qualified, T3 is not necessary. If it is not qualified, the mold is adjusted and then T3, T is qualified. The mold is represented by M. For example, M1 and M2 mean the first set of molds and the second set of molds. 

9. Small Batch Trial Production 

Before a product is mass produced and arranged in appropriate small batch quantity, it undergoes a step wherein all formal production tooling, process, equipment, environment, facilities and cycle are used to create the product to verify the manufacturability of the product.  

The purposes of this step include to stipulate the process of small batch trial production, to clarify the input and output information and corresponding responsibilities of each key point, and to ensure that the manufacturability of new products is fully verified.  

The products are planned and produced accordingly, ensuring that they are developed and designed correctly. The company will then put the product into production smoothly, preventing the production batches from being bad due to improper materials, new molds and improper process control.  

Generally, the quality department will conduct tracking and verification for the conformity and quality stability of the products obtained in small batches of trial production. 

10. Mass Production 

After a series of tests, and the product passes the necessary specifications, it is now produced in large quantities. Take note that mass production will be based on the interchangeability of products or parts, standardization, and serialization applications.  

The rigid production line greatly improves production efficiency and reduces production costs. Its remarkable features are stable product structure and high automation.  

(Disadvantages: at the expense of product diversity, the initial investment in the production line is large, the construction period is long, rigid, and it is unable to adapt to the ever-changing market demand and fierce competition) 

Intelligent hardware development is said to be a complex system engineering, requiring hardware engineers, embedded C language engineers, and various aspects of the cloud system architecture.  

As a global technology services innovation company, Labx7 helps startup companies or traditional manufacturing companies meet the comprehensive needs of smart products in the transformation of the Internet of Things through a one-stop Internet of Things solution.  

To this end, we have launched a complete IoT solution from hardware, software and operational aspects to help enterprises and developers quickly and easily upgrade their products. 

LabX7 helps our partners move from conceptualization to product manufacturing. We provide precise services at every step of the project, from concept to brand landing, from product design to product manufacturing, personalized customization, development, supply chain management and other industry chain collaborative services.  

Our company is committed to helping partners deliver a superior customer experience and create innovative, intelligent hardware products that enable them to maintain lasting, solid growth value and added value in the marketplace. 

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