A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
We've been into electronics for a long time. Along the way, we've watched electronics shrink from pin pitches of an inch apart (just kidding, but they were still quite far apart) to fractions of a millimeter apart. But multimeters still seem to be designed for older, larger electronics and electrical work. Slipping a probe and shorting pins is much easier with today's super-small electronics.
FOVEA, our wearable embedded analyzer does a few primary things to make embedded work easier: (a) It moves the multimeter display to a location that's much closer to where the probes are being held, and also with almost the same focal distance; (b) it focuses on lower currents and voltages as seen in modern embedded electronics -- when last did you need to measure 600VAC on your embedded project?; and (c) it integrates digital features together with traditional analog features. We're not looking to replace your high-dollar benchtop lab-grade instruments, but instead developing a sensible easy-to-use multimeter/analyzer with convenience features that we would've expected to be commonplace today. For example, continuity testers nicely alert us when we're across a very-low-resistance or direct connection, but if you're checking say a 5-volt circuit for proper power at various points, wouldn't it be nice to have the meter alert you that you've got 5V within a certain tolerance? How about directly testing PWM signals, and even generating pulses and PWM signals? And you can measure current across a pre-installed shunt resistor on development boards, so you don't have to keep breaking a circuit connection to measure current. These are some of the features added to FOVEA to help you be more productive.
- DC voltage to 30V with window alerts
- DC current to 1A
- Current across a specified shunt
- Resistance & Continuity
- Frequency counter
- PWM servo-pulse measurement
- Pulse generator (square wave)
- PWM servo-pulse output
- Logic analyzer
- 2.4" color TFT display
- Touch-screen interface
- Built-in battery with USB recharging
- Banana jacks, and a 4-pin plug-in interface
- Adjustable wrist strap
- Folding design for portability
The folding design allows the multimeter to be used on the wrist, on a bench, or easiery carried in a pocket or bag.
We showed off FOVEA at a few Maker Faires, and mentioned a future option/enhancement that we'd like to do... a finger-mounted display, so that you can read the measurement values MUCH closer to the probes now. It has a white OLED display, and plugs into the main unit. So we've setup FOVEA with an expansion port to be able to add that later.
FOVEA is based on a 32-Bit PIC32MX microcontroller and a PIC18F processor, a bright color TFT LCD display with a resistive touch-screen display, and has a built-in rechargeable LiPo battery with USB recharging.
Currently, we have working beta prototypes of the wearable multimeter. We have made a number of tweaks to the AFE design for accuracy, and we've done several firmware tweaks. FOVEA is already a reality, but we are still tweaking some niceties.
What needs to be done still:
We're planning to swap some components, then we go to production. In that time, we'll be still be adding some niceties (polishing some of the U.I. screens, perhaps add color-selection options), and finalizing the strap option/source.
Of course the items shown on the rewards will be included, but we'll also include probes. We're sourcing a case for it and hopefully will be able to include that as well.
Use of Funds:
A major part of the funds received will go towards tooling costs to bring FOVEA to production, and a smaller part towards some better testing equipment and references. The rest will go towards parts/materials and fulfillment costs.
Neil Narwani: Design & engineering, project management
Sebastian Orellana: CAD
Allen Paschel, Flinger Films: Video/multimedia
Thanks to MakerFX Makerspace for the resources and feedback in helping get this project off the ground.
Risks and challenges
We've been designing and manufacturing products in the U.S.A. for a decade and a half now, so we have faith in our ability to handle the logistics. However, one lesson we've learned from this is that it's tough to make up for delays from third-party-sourced items or services (such as injection molding in this case). To this end, we've buffered the reward delivery dates by almost a month, to be more conservative. We've also had some concerns about the banana jacks/plugs so we're looking for a better source for those.
We still have some firmware to tweak, but those are only nice-to-haves and will be working on those mostly during the Kickstarter campaign phase.