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Boston Engineering Launches Modular Electronics Platform that Streamlines Mobile Device Prototyping
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Aug 10, 2007
More Design and Development stories
The new FlexStack™ Modular Electronics Platform from Boston Engineering Corporation promises to help manufacturing companies streamline prototyping or jump-start deployment of any small, portable battery-powered devices—particularly electronics, medical devices, robotics or sensors—by offering a quickly configurable, stackable bus architecture in an embedded hardware solution. Based on the Analog Devices Blackfin® processor, the FlexStack combines a tiny but powerful 16/32-bit embedded processor with the ease of National Instrument’s LabVIEW® Embedded Programming Environment for a flexible, off-the-shelf solution.

“For many manufacturing companies in medical devices, pipeline management, robotics and telecommunications, developing the first working prototype is key to getting customer validation or funding that lets them beat the competition to market,” said Erik Goethert, BEC Software Program Manager. “By taking a readily available and reliable processor, and integrating it with plug-and-play components, we can save manufacturers months when developing prototypes.”

What’s more, prototypes built using the tiny FlexStack are actually deployable—allowing manufacturers to ship products sooner and get true market feedback. Small and fast enough to run on battery power, FlexStack is inherently expandable and reconfigurable to match nearly any application need from hand-held insulin sensors to IV drip pump controllers to robotics. It features on-board memory and debugging capability, as well as a selection of add-on “stacks” including SD card storage, an RFID reader, Bluetooth capability, digital I/O and analog input channels to 65 MHz.

At just 2.5 x 2.5 inches, FlexStack is at least a full square inch smaller than other products on the market, and runs off smaller batteries. While alternative bus architectures like PC/104 would require power the size of a motorcycle battery, FlexStack takes four double-AA batteries. Using the advanced power-saving options of the Blackfin processor, it can offer life span of up to 10 days (running continuously), or can use AC power.

“Our goal in offering FlexStack is to help clients get further down the product path more quickly and easily,” said Erik. “We can customize it for them, but it works as an out-of-the-box solution. Clients can select from a menu of options from video to voice to Bluetooth capability, to add as needed.”

FlexStack also creates a new market opportunity for Boston Engineering as a product development incubator. “Our experience as cross-industry engineering service providers allows us to identify key market needs and provide innovative products that fit those needs,” said Mark Smithers, VP/COO, Boston Engineering Corporation.

About Boston Engineering Corporation
As an outsourced engineering services firm, Boston Engineering (http://www.boston-engineering.com) offers turn-key electrical, mechanical, software, and controls engineering development services for clients in industries such as electronics, foodservice, homeland security, energy and environment, manufacturing and medical. Boston Engineering’s interdisciplinary systems approach follows a proven methodology that combines a focus on accelerated time to market with a Total System Responsibility™ (TSR) philosophy.

Contact
For a product data sheet or more information on the Boston Engineering FlexStack™, contact Erik Goethert at 781-314-0724.


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