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Home > Services > System Integration

System Integration
From Hardware and Software to a
Complete Embedded System

The single board computer is just the beginning of an embedded product design. Most embedded systems also involve an operating system, application software and extra interface equipment. The construction of these additional layers can be even more complex than the design of the computer's hardware itself. In many cases it is more cost effective to complete your embedded system by leveraging our knowledge of our products instead of hiring and maintaining your own engineering department.

We offer more than just commercial off the shelf hardware at great prices. Our team of hardware and software engineers has the expertise to assist you in integrating our products into your own because we create embedded systems every day.

Embedded Application Development

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Our engineers have experience developing custom embedded applications. One example of such a project that we have completed is a vehicle tracking project.

The customer's basic requirements for the project included:

image of a custom embedded computer board
  • Always-on cellular modem connection - field service calls are very expensive, thus the ability to reliably perform diagnostics and upgrades remotely is highly cost effective
  • Vehicle telemetry acquisition - implemented as a custom daughter card integrating a GPS unit and processing of custom signals from various sensors on the vehicle
  • Data logging - Storage of all telemetry on-board so that in case a vehicle goes out of range the data acquired during this period can be transmitted when it comes back into a cellular coverage area.
  • Web based interface - Integration with Google Maps to display satellite image of current vehicle location with speed and other telemetry information.

During the development process our engineers designed a customer daughter card implementing the required telemetry functions, along with a Linux device driver to access this information and application software to process this information for transmission and logging. We also worked closely with the customer in the installation and testing of the initial units to monitor and enhance the software to support newer sensor types providing data in different formats, as well as to tweak the custom metal enclosures to handle the extreme heat and dusty conditions these vehicles routinely encounter in the Sonoran desert.

Device Drivers

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Technologic Systems writes and modifies device drivers for their products and FPGA functionality wherever it makes sense.

image of a custom designed embedded pc/104 peripheral

For instance, a lot of serial protocols involve the usage of 9-bit data. Since Linux's standard serial API is comprised of sending bytes (8-bits), we modified the framework to allow for passing of 16-bit halfwords to/from userspace. Previously, users of the API were forced to individually examine each byte to be transmitted, change the parity from even or odd to get the desired effect, and then transmit the byte. Not only was this cumbersome, but users also had to pay special attention to FIFO buffering. This was not a very difficult modification and is an example of the mindset our engineers take in trying to improve drivers for embedded system usage.

Hardware/Software Integration

arrow image of a custom designed embedded pc/104 peripheral

An example of our experience in integrating diverse hardware and software components is a telephony application which was commissioned by one our customers.

The customer's requirements for the project included:

  • caller ID
  • tone generation and detection
  • digital filtering
  • web-based interface

In this project our engineers integrated a customer-designed PCB layout designed to work with one of our boards. In addition, software was written to interface to this new hardware in order to perform telephony functions such caller ID handling, dial tone detection, and a digital filtering for voice activation.