Indesign, LLC, recently announced the acquisition of PCB Assembly Equipment increasing rapid prototyping capabilities on site

Indianapolis based firm, Indesign, LLC announces the recent purchase of new PCB Assembly Equipment to assist in rapid prototyping capabilities on site.

Indesign, LLC is an engineering design services company that develops high-tech electronic products for a broadcustomer base.

Indesign, with a commitment to offering the best quality and service to their customers, purchased new PCB Assembly Equipment manufactured by Essemtec to assist in their prototyping assembly area. The equipment will benefit their clients with rapid product development, faster turn around and quicker prototyping. The equipment is located at their facility in the assembly area of the building. With this additional equipment – Automated parts placement machine and Reflow solder oven – in-house prototyping capabilities now include BGAs, leadless parts, small components like 0201 and .5 mm Pitch, RoHS or non-RoHS, and top side and bottom side reflow. This commitment to offering the best service to their customers will reduce product offerings time-to-market for customers.

Indesign is dedicated to its continued success by offering state of the art design and development to their customers through innovative concepts and design of comprehensive engineering design services for embedded electronic products and systems. These services include electrical circuit design, RF, software/firmware design, mechanical design, testing/validation services, project management and a host of other services dedicated to the development of electronic products and solutions.

Engineers designed firm after losing corporate jobs Ownership stake gave workers even more motivation to succeed

This article was excerpted from the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Eleven years ago, AT&T/Lucent Bell Laboratories announced it was closing its wired consumer product design division in Indianapolis and consolidating operations in New Jersey. That left about 90 employees here with a choice: Move or find another job.

Most went or joined other companies. But 34 decided to stick together and start their own business here-Indesign LLC. Today, the high-tech electronic design and development company near Fort Benjamin Harrison is a $6 million-a-year business with 53 employees and clients that span the country.

“None of us had any experience starting a business,” CEO Jerry Gotway said. “But we believed we could do it. That’s what made it possible.”

Indesign helps other businesses create products-everything from Internet telephones to medical devices. Some clients come in with high-level concepts, as San Antonio-based LIFETECHniques did with the “smart” pillbox that connects to the Internet so doctors can monitor whether a patient is taking his medicine. Indesign did all the design, from the circuit board to the plastic parts, Gotway said.

Other companies bring detailed specifications and have Indesign work with their in-house engineers. Indesign worked with Microsoft, for example, to develop RoundTable, a videoconferencing phone with a built-in 360-degree camera. The Indianapolis firm did some of the electrical and software design, and also helped get the manufacturing process started.

Working with an Illinois company called Lares Technology, Indesign created a printed circuit board for Lares’ electronic home-detention monitor.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the work they did,” Lares President Kevin Hartman said. “They had some innovative ideas that complemented what we had done and worked with us very well.”

Gotway said getting to this point in Indesign’s history required driven, devoted employees who checked their egos and opened their wallets. To finance the startup, the 34 founders kicked in $4,000 to $25,000 each and became part owners.

Even today, new employees are given the opportunity to buy a share of the company’s future profits. Most do.

“I think that’s a lot of what’s fueled their success,” said Tom Stahl, who worked at Lucent Bell Labs with Indesign’s founders and now is an electrical engineer for Thomson Inc. in Carmel. “People were looking at it like, ‘I’m a part owner and I’m going to make this succeed.’ I think it’s impressive what they’ve done.”

Early on, Indesign’s employees also learned to diversify. While everyone had experience developing consumer telephones as well as answering, security and video systems, “that amount of expertise wasn’t broad enough to make us the kind of company we wanted to be,” Gotway said. They set a goal to broaden into the medical, military and wireless fields.

Gotway recommends diversifying as a matter of course for small businesses. With clients in several sectors, there’s less risk they’ll suffer downturns at the same time.

Indesign typically finds its clients through Web-based marketing and wordof-mouth referrals. Referrals go a long way in an industry where employees tend to jump from company to company.

Not at Indesign, though. Eleven years in, 22 of the 34 founders are still there, solidifying the company’s foundation.

“My advice to other entrepreneurs,” Gotway said, “is to pull together a team of really good people. If you have people with good skills, passion for the business and a lot of energy, then you can accomplish what you set out to do. That’s what made us successful.”

Freescale™ Design Alliance Program: Creating Solutions Together

About Freescale™ Semiconductor
Freescale™ Semiconductor, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale™ is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with sales of $6.2 billion (USD) for the most recently reported four quarters. www.freescale.com

Indesign partners with Ember to deliver ZigBee™ Solutions

Indianapolis-based engineering firm, Indesign, LLC, announced it has become an Ember partner to help customers bring ZigBee™ products to market.

Indesign, LLC, is an engineering design services company that develops high-tech electronic products for a broad customer base. The company is a ZigBee™ Alliance member with a notable history of working with different manufacturers’ ZigBee™ chipsets to provide solutions in various product categories. Skilled in product architecture, development, testing, and certification, the design team has engineered hundreds of new products. They have also integrated ZigBee™ into new and existing devices to enhance features or provide functionality that was previously unavailable.

Ember is the ZigBee™ platform of choice for the vast majority of OEMs. Headquartered in Boston with a chip development center in Cambridge, UK, Ember Corporation offers the most integrated, complete and feature rich ZigBee™ solutions available. Solutions start with high performance 2.4 GHz low power wireless semiconductors integrated with the most reliable, scalable and advanced ZigBee™ software. Ember’s solutions are supported by best in class development tools, training, and technical support.

Indesign and Ember will collaborate in all aspects of hardware and software development through network architecture design and deployment to help OEMs bring ZigBee™ products to life.

The partnership will leverage the wireless networking knowledge and experience of both companies to help customers dramatically reduce time-to-market.

Information about Ember can be found at www.ember.com.

About Ember Corporation
Ember develops wireless sensor and control network technologies that help make living and working environments safer, smarter, more comfortable, and energy efficient. Ember’s ZigBee™-based semiconductors and software enable communication between devices embedded in a variety of building and home automation products. Ember is a lead member of the ZigBee™ Alliance, and its platform is the National Technical Systems’ (NTS) “Golden Suite” for 802.15.4/ZigBee™ interoperability testing.

Freescale™ and Indesign join forces to develop a secure industrial point-of-sale platform

Freescale™ Semiconductor and Indesign, LLC, a Freescale™ Design Alliance Partner, have joined forces to develop a secure point-of-sale (POS) reference design for industrial control applications. Based on Freescale™ microcontroller (MCU) technology and open-source software, the POS reference design is designed to provide a fully functional, cost-effective solution that addresses the design challenges of secure connectivity, human/machine interface and open-source software development.

The POS reference design demonstrates how the control, security and connectivity capabilities of Freescale™’s 32-bit MCF5329 ColdFire® MCU and 8-bit MCS908QG8 MCU work together to help the designer create a secure industrial point-of-sale solution. Offered with an open-source embedded uCLinux software solution, the POS reference design targets industrial system designs that require flexible connectivity options, secure communication and a straightforward human interface with a fast development cycle and cost-effective approach.

“Successful industrial point-of-sale solutions require elegant, cost-effective integration of complex technologies, from hardware encryption to industry-standard connectivity to intuitive user interfaces,” said Mike McCourt, vice president and general manager of Freescale™’s Microcontroller Division. “Freescale™ offers the advanced microcontrollers and Indesign has the engineering design excellence to deliver a POS reference design that meets the exacting requirements of the industrial market.”

Indesign provides comprehensive engineering design services for embedded electronic products and systems. These services include electrical circuit design, software/firmware design, mechanical design, testing/validation services, project management and a host of other services dedicated to the development of electronic products and solutions. Indesign developed the hardware and mechanical platform for the industrial POS reference design. Freescale™ partnered with Indesign to leverage the company’s expertise in hardware design to help ensure that the industrial POS system meets the specific security and operational requirements of typical industrial POS applications.

“The POS reference design serves as an excellent starting point for developing a custom solution for many industrial point-of-sale applications,” said Jerry Gotway, president and CEO of Indesign. “Some developers will have the expertise to customize the POS reference design on their own. For those that need help, Indesign engineers already have experience working with Freescale™ on this design and can easily modify the design to meet most any requirements.”

Dual microcontroller solution
The foundation of the jointly developed industrial POS reference design is a combination of two Freescale™ MCUs optimized for industrial control. The ColdFire MCF5329 MCU serves as the host processor in the industrial POS system and is the first in a series of ColdFire devices to feature an on-chip LCD controller in addition to several connectivity peripherals including USB host and USB on-the-go. The 8-bit 9S08QG8 MCU stores data used by the MCF5329 to enable a secure POS system. It also features an enhanced 8-channel, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), which is used to provide audio support for the industrial POS system.

Open source software
Software designers constantly face the challenge of developing robust, cost-effective software solutions. Increasingly, designers are turning to open-source development tools to address the demand for lower cost software solutions. Recognizing this trend, Freescale™ has focused the software implementation of the industrial POS reference design on open-source software solutions, including the uCLinux operating system (OS).

The Freescale™ Linux Board Support Package (BSP) for the MCF5329 serves as the primary open source development tool for the industrial POS reference design. The BSP contains the uCLinux OS, which is used to process information from different input mechanisms, refresh the graphical user interface (GUI) on the LCD screen, maintain communication between Freescale™ MCUs and communicate with a transaction database via Ethernet. The GUI is developed using NanoX, an open-source GUI configuration tool that is available in the Freescale™ Linux BSP for the MCF5329. The uCLinux environment also supports access to the remote server containing the MySQL transaction database. The Freescale™ Linux BSP for the MCF5329, associated drivers and related software applications are available as a reference to assist with open-source software development on ColdFire devices.

Key features of the industrial POS reference design

  • An 800×600 SVGA LCD panel driven by the MCF5329 MCU
  • Support for four data input mechanisms including
  • Smart card reader enabled by the MCF5329 USB modules
  • Bar code scanner enabled by the MCF5329 USB modules
  • Magnetic card reader enabled by the MCF5329 USB modules
  • Key pad enabled by GPIO signals on the MCF5329
  • Secure, networked transactions via integrated Ethernet and hardware encryption on the MCF5329
  • Audio support driven by the MC9S08QG8 on-chip timer signals
  • Volume control via the integrated ADC on the MC9S08QG8
  • Secure access to external memory enabled by the internal flash on the MC9S08QG8
  • Open-source software solutions including:
  • The Freescale™ Linux Board Support Package (BSP) for the MCF5329 which contains the uCLinux OS
  • Intuitive GUI enabled by the NanoX GUI Configuration Tool available in the Freescale™ Linux BSP for the MCF5329
  • MySQL Server Database used to store and access sales transactions
  • Bootloader developed using CodeWarrior® Development Studio for ColdFire® architectures

Information and availability
Information on the industrial POS reference design including documentation, design resources and source code is available at http://www.freescale.com/files/pr/rdmcf5329pos.html.

Prototypes of the industrial POS system also are available. To arrange a prototype demonstration, please contact local Freescale™ sales representatives.

About Freescale™ Semiconductor
Freescale™ Semiconductor, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale™ is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with sales of $6.2 billion (USD) for the most recently reported four quarters. www.freescale.com

Indesign Announces 10th Anniversary Celebration: November 1996-November 2006

Indianapolis-based engineering firm, Indesign, LLC, announced it’s 10th year in business.

Indesign, LLC is an engineering design services company that develops high-tech electronic products for a broad customer base.

Indesign, LLC is celebrating it’s 10th year as one of the premier embedded software design and development engineering firms in the country. Established in 1996 by a group of former AT&T/Bell Labs engineers, the engineering firm Indesign, LLC has consistently brought quality design and development of engineering services to its long list of clients. Indesign has worked for more than 100 clients ranging from start-up companies to Fortune 100 companies representing a cross section of consumer, commercial, military, and medical products and applications.

Indesign is dedicated to its continued success by offering state of the art design and development to their customers through innovative concepts and design of comprehensive engineering design services for embedded electronic products and systems. These services include electrical circuit design, RF, software/firmware design, mechanical design, testing/validation services, project management and a host of other services dedicated to the development of electronic products and solutions.

Indesign to showcase ColdFire® Point-of-Sale Reference Design and ZigBee™ demo at premier Freescale™ Technology Forum

Indianapolis-based engineering firm, Indesign, LLC, will join numerous industry leaders at the second annual Freescale™ Technology Forum in Orlando, FL on July 24-27. Indesign will set the stage at their pedestal in the technology lab with a demo of a ColdFire®-based Point-of-Sale Reference Design and a demo of their ZigBee™ Reference Design.

The Freescale™ Technology Forum (FTF) is quickly becoming the embedded semiconductor industry’s foremost developer conference. In its second year, the forum will bring together engineers, partners, executives, journalists, and analysts for a week of networking, training, and exploration into the possibilities of design freedom.

FTF will offer unique insight on new solutions with live, hands-on demonstrations from both established industry leaders and up-and-coming talent.

In a session that focuses on designing with the ColdFire processor, Indesign will partner with Freescale™ Semiconductor to provide insight into secure connectivity applications. Forum participants can learn about the open source and design development strategies used to create this secure application. The Point-of-Sale Reference Design, which is based on the uClinux™ operating system and uses the NanoX Open Source graphical user interface (GUI) configuration tool, will be featured during the presentation.

Additionally, Indesign will offer a ZigBee™ demonstration based on Freescale™ Semiconductor’s MC9S08GB60 microcontroller and 13193 transceiver, which will highlight the benefits of developing custom wireless products using 802.15.4/ZigBee™ building blocks. The reference design will showcase Indesign’s ZigBee™ hardware/software design capabilities. FTF attendees can view the ZigBee™ reference design first-hand by visiting Indesign in the Technology Lab.

To learn more about the history and accomplishments of Indesign, visit their website at www.indesign-llc.com. To register for FTF 2006, visit www.freescale.com/ftf.

Tips for Designing ZigBee™ Applications

Originally published on Wireless Net DesignLine site

Many engineering disciplines are needed to define, architect, design, test and ready the final product for sale.
By John Sawyer, Indesign LLC

So you think you want to develop a ZigBee™ application, but you have some questions. What’s important in a ZigBee™ development? What tools do I need? What steps are involved? How much time will it take? What kind of investment is required? What are the unforeseen questions?

The tips presented here can’t answer all of these questions for everybody but they will provide a tutorial for the development of your ZigBee™ application.

The first and perhaps most important step in developing your application is to determine whether ZigBee™ is appropriate for your product. The ZigBee™ radio standard boasts many advantages over other wireless options.

With a public ZigBee™ profile and conformant platform, interoperability with other vendor devices is assured. ZigBee™ was defined to support extremely low power and remarkably long battery life. But the ZigBee™ data rates are low relative to other wireless options. And while substantially smaller than Bluetooth® or 802.11/WiFi, the ZigBee™ stack is not a simple piece of software.

Partnering
After deciding that you want to develop a ZigBee™ application, you must choose a ZigBee™ provider partner. A ZigBee™ partner will supply the ZigBee™ stack software along with a radio chip and baseband microcontroller.

Historically, these have been two chip solutions. Recently, though, vendors have been introducing single chip ZigBee™ devices with plenty of additional resources to support your application code. A quality ZigBee™ partner will also supply you with continual updates on the most recent features.

Several ZigBee™ providers are available, and each has invested many person-years of development to arrive at their ZigBee™ solution. In choosing a partner, you should consider technical aspects (the cost vs. capability of their chipset, supported features) and business aspects of the provider (company history, licensing costs, technical support).

The ZigBee™ providers will also want to know about your information such as your previous product development experience and the number of devices that you plan to sell. When this exchange of information is complete, you should rather quickly be able to find a ZigBee™ provider willing to collaborate on your application.

After you have chosen a ZigBee™ provider, you must then decide how to implement the ZigBee™ radio as a module connected to the rest of the system or as a chip integrated into the circuitry of your board.

Using a ZigBee™ radio module offers many advantages. A module usually leads to a shorter development cycle. The RF design is already done for you so you don’t need to become an RF expert. In addition, a module may carry FCC Modular Approval, which means you won’t have to take your product through the FCC’s intentional radiator approval process.

Disadvantages to using a ZigBee™ radio module versus an integrated ZigBee™ chip include a higher per-unit product cost. A module design also requires more physical space inside the housing and imposes more constraints on the industrial design of the product. What’s more, a module may have limited antenna options, which may be unsuitable for your product.

The final architecture task is to completely define your ZigBee™ network structure. The ZigBee™ standard supports multiple topologies for you to choose from. These include mesh, star, and cluster tree network configurations, which are shown in Figure 1.

Click here for Figure 1
Figure 1: Network structure diagram showing mesh, star and cluster tree network configuration options.

The typical ZigBee™ network configuration is comprised of low power reduced function end point devices, generally called sensors. The sensors communicate with full function network control devices that handle the routing of packets over the network.

ZigBee™ radios
ZigBee™ radios can be implemented in several RF bands. Those operating in the 2.448 GHz band are the most common since this is the only RF band that is usable worldwide. In North America, 915 MHz is available for ZigBee™ radios and offers a few advantages over 2.4 GHz, such as slightly better range.

Fewer chip providers are available who offer the lower frequency range, because antennas tend to be larger and the over-the-air data rate is lower. The 868 MHz version of ZigBee™ also offers valuable features, though it is available for use only in Europe.

Now that all the architecture decisions have been made, it is time to open the development system provided by your ZigBee™ partner and dig in. An example is shown in Figure 2.

Click here for Figure 2
Figure 2: Sample ZigBee™ development platform including multiple command/debug interfaces, integrated sensors, GPIO access, with an integrated ZigBee™ radio chip.

The development system will have sample application code to reference. Your final application will likely resemble this sample because you will apply the same Application Programming Interface (API) that the sample uses. You may also use the same operating system, system calls, and interrupts. Typical API commands are “FormNetwork()”, “JoinNetwork()”, “SendMessage()”, and “ZigBee™StackTick().” Learn to love this API – you will live with it for the next couple of months.

During the development phase, you will face many design challenges. Many will involve typical embedded development issues, while others will arise because you’ve added a new design element – the ZigBee™ stack.

Power consumption optimization
ZigBee™ advertises ultra low power. This is great for the radio – but you have to expand that to include your entire system design. To fully optimize power usage and battery life, the firmware, electrical, and RF teams must devote a good deal of time to optimizing power consumption. As part of this effort, microcontroller sleep modes must be defined and implemented. Be aware that your development system may not work properly while the system is in sleep mode. You may need to use the old-fashioned “GPIO toggle and scope tracing” debug techniques.

If your system will be battery-powered, keep in mind that ZigBee™ radios do not violate the laws of physics. ZigBee™ radios use the current required to transmit at the selected power level – typically in the range of 20 to 50 mA. Achieving multi-year battery life is highly dependent on the usage scenario. Pay particular attention to how frequently the radio needs to wake up, how long it takes to wake up, and how much current it consumes while asleep. You may find that a ZigBee™ provider’s data sheets are only helpful to a limited extent in this area, and you will end up making your own measurements on current consumption.

In general, the principal tradeoff you need to make is data latency versus battery life. It seems counterintuitive; however, since ZigBee™ transmissions are at low RF power – in the range of a milliwatt – battery power usage during transmit and receive modes are similar. Don’t assume that a radio mode will use little power if it spends most of the time in receive mode.

The ZigBee™ development system you start with will probably not match your final hardware. This means you will be designing new interfaces to your devices – buttons, displays, memory, etc. You may also need to add a communication channel to another system, such as a system monitor PC program.

This is where taking the time to thoroughly understand the API and your development system’s starting point helps, because you will need to merge these new interfaces with the rest of the existing design.

Interoperability
In order to verify interoperability of your device, you may need to swallow your pride and purchase a competitor’s product. Use of another ZigBee™ approved system during development may help you discover how your product’s performance can best be optimized. Another option to test interoperability is to participate in one of the ZigBee™ Alliance’s quarterly interoperability events called ZigFests. To participate in a ZigFest your company must be at least an Adopter class member of the ZigBee™ Alliance. There are also certification companies that can provide a pre-certification testing environment. Remember that, fortunately, the ZigBee™ radio is not a frequency hopper like Bluetooth®. Before the network forms, the network coordinator scans the available channels to find the “clearest” one. A function to perform this automatic frequency selection is usually included with the ZigBee™ stack you purchase, but is easy to implement if not. The network coordinator can then be programmed to periodically test the network to determine if the selected frequency remains the best option. If not, the network coordinator can move the network to a different channel without operator intervention. This insures the network will perform optimally at all times. If data security is required for your application, ZigBee™ includes provisions for strong data encryption. ZigBee™ data security is based on the 128-bit AES algorithm. If you are using a public ZigBee™ profile then the security decisions have already been made and are pre-defined in the profile.

Data security
For a custom application that requires data security, you have options regarding where the security is applied – in the application code or in the lower layers of the ZigBee™ stack. If your application needs the strongest security possible, secure it in your application code. The ZigBee™ stack defines optional security in the lower layers of the stack, which can be used to validate each data packet that is exchanged on your ZigBee™ network. Your development will most likely include the development of two ends of a system – the sensors, which may be reduced functionality ZigBee™ end devices, and the devices with which they want to communicate. Each end of the system will present its own design challenges. Power optimization is generally the largest design issue for the sensors, while message management is the largest for the ZigBee™ routers.

Message management is an important part of the application code. Your application code will communicate with the ZigBee™ stack by sending messages to the stack by calling stack functions and receiving messages from the stack through callback functions. The application code will likely need to monitor these messages and may need to perform tasks, such as timing messages and purging “lost” messages, on top of its normal network management task.

As part of the application development planning process, be sure to include time to write test code. During your integration phase, test code will help identify and verify boundary conditions of the feature operations. Specialized test code may be required to put the device in perpetual transmit mode during hardware compliance testing. At the factory, properly designed test code can quickly and thoroughly verify operation of each device as it comes down the line.

One tool vital to designing a ZigBee™ application is the ZigBee™ RF sniffer/protocol analyzer. Even if your design uses a ZigBee™ radio module and a public ZigBee™ profile, you will eventually need to examine commands as they are sent over the air. Many protocol sniffers are currently available with a wide range of capabilities and cost. Choosing the sniffer will depend on your experience with protocol analyzers, the depth of protocol analyzing required, future expected ZigBee™ work, and the cost of each unit. The most logical path is to start with a basic unit and upgrade later if you need additional capabilities.

Time-to-market
If time-to-market is a major requirement for the system, use of a ZigBee™ radio module is almost a given. A module-based design will provide the fastest development cycle.

Many projects require fast time-to-market with a small number of devices to introduce a technology or a product line. Often, higher volume production comes at a later date. If that is the case, it may be possible for a two-phase development – the “fast” phase using a ZigBee™ radio module and a “cost-reduced” integrated design phase to follow. This cost reduction phase often involves merging functionality from modules into a single circuit board. The timing of a two-phase approach also makes sense, because expertise is built with the technology before merging the radio chip on the circuit board. Plan ahead, and the optimal market rollout is achievable.

Like any other electronic device that is brought to market, your ZigBee™ application must meet regulatory standards. Since a ZigBee™ device is an intentional radiator, the device must meet global standards.

As the owner of the design, you will be responsible for submitting the product for compliance testing, adjusting the design as needed to pass, and filing the final design with the appropriate agency. Plan for several rounds of testing as early as possible in the design phase. This includes a pre-screening test on the radiated emissions.

Since most ZigBee™ designs transmit at the low RF power of about one milliwatt, the fundamental RF emissions are not likely to be problematic. However, requirements on emission levels – particularly the second and third harmonics that fall into FCC “restricted bands” – need to be carefully monitored. You must also screen less technical compliance areas, such as product labeling requirements and antenna limitations.

To advertise your product as being ZigBee™ compliant, your design must go through ZigBee™ certified product testing. To submit the product for ZigBee™ testing, your company must be a member of the ZigBee™ Alliance. Joining the ZigBee™ Alliance is an inexpensive proposition and should be done immediately because membership will allow access too many ZigBee™-related documents and discussions. Visit their website at www.zigbee.org.

For each and every ZigBee™ product, you will need to generate a unique 802.15.4 MAC address. The 802.15.4 MAC address is an eight-byte (64 bit) value. The first three bytes (the Organizationally Unique Identifier or “OUI”) are licensed to your company by the IEEE Standards Association for an annual fee. Your company is then free to uniquely assign the remaining five bytes.

Finally, depending on the factory assembly and testing process, it may be desirable to have a software-based manufacturing test provide the MAC address to program into each device. In this case, your application code may need to support a non-violate memory write function that may not otherwise be necessary.

Conclusion
ZigBee™ is a well-defined and feature-rich radio standard; however, developing a ZigBee™ product is not a trivial exercise. Many engineering disciplines must work together to define, architect, design, test and ready the final product for sale. Following the suggestions set forth in this discussion will enable you to prepare a practical plan towards creation of a ZigBee™ radio application.

About the author
John Sawyer is a Principal Software Engineer at Indesign, LLC, an engineering design services company. His projects have included many different wireless technologies including ZigBee™, Bluetooth®, WiFi and proprietary systems.

Indesign to Provide Technical Support for Texas Instruments’ Audio Devices

Building on its key engineering services to hundreds of companies worldwide, Indesign announced that Texas Instruments (TI) has outsourced all application support for two of its USB audio streaming controllers to Indesign, including supporting evaluation modules (EVM) and technical inquires. Indesign has been providing both hardware and software engineering design services for these products for several years. “We chose Indesign because of their strong expertise and technical support knowledge,” says Jeff Akgul, director of Home Audio Products at TI. “We’ve had a good relationship with Indesign over the years and are excited about making more support available to our customers.”

TI’s TUSB3200A and TAS1020B, which will be supported by Indesign, are USB audio streaming controllers. The TUSB3200A converts multi-channel streaming audio (5.1, 6.1, 7.1, and stereo) from USB signaling to a standard audio codec stream. It is targeted for USB audio designs, such as audio/video receivers, PC sound cards, and music interfaces. The TAS1020B integrated circuit is also a USB peripheral interface that supports streaming stereo audio data for applications such as USB headsets, VoIP phones, and speech and telephony communication devices. Both the TUSB3200A and TAS1020B support 16 or 24 bit resolution audio streams and are completely programmable, allowing customization for a wide range of product possibilities. These devices have been designed into hundreds of USB audio products.

“Leveraging our vast experience with USB-based designs, we are able to easily extend our support to TI’s USB audio products, providing manufacturers with the expertise needed for every phase of the development cycle,” says Jerry Gotway, President and CEO at Indesign. “We’ve been involved in a large number of product designs, many of them which utilized USB capabilities, and have helped OEMs reduce both cost and time-to-market from developing starting specs through testing to final manufacturing.” Indesign will provide initial free support for the TAS1020B and TUSB3200A, then offer a variety of service options, from hourly support and service contracts to full design services.