Porticos Creates Dell Convertible Computer Concepts

 

Dell, a longtime leader in technology and the fast production of hardware and software that provide quality products for businesses and consumers alike, recently sought ideation and creative brainstorming for a new project. This project aimed to generate multiple concepts for a convertible-type computing device that would be larger than a traditional smartphone, but different from typical tablet devices and other convertible products currently on the market. Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, held multiple brainstorming sessions with Dell, which resulted in more than 14 concept designs being picked for further refinement to create the final product.

Dell Convertible Concepts diagram

Brainstorming and Concept Development in Support of Product Differentiation

Porticos’s hardware engineers were requested to generate multiple concepts for a convertible-type computing device by Dell, that would be larger than a traditional smartphone, but different from typical tablet PC devices or other convertible products currently on the market. There was emphasis placed on developing concepts for a differentiated input method, and convertibility for multiple use cases and configurations.

To accomplish the requirements from Dell in the quick, efficient way that Porticos’ hardware engineers work in, they held multiple brainstorming sessions that generated more than 14 concept designs. These concept designs were then reviewed with Dell, to make sure all parties were aware and on board with down selection and refinement. Then, the selected concepts were refined, and Porticos’ hardware engineers worked with partners of Porticos to create highly cosmetic prototypes that Dell used to conduct internal reviews and user studies.

Dell Convertible Concepts prototype

Porticos is proud to have partnered with Dell on this project, and to have once again had a hand in driving new, innovative technology into the hands of businesses and consumers. Our hardware engineers’ commitment to fast, quality work and ensuring the needs of our partners are consistently and throughly met every time they are requested to work with another company is how we reiterate our love for technology and innovation.

Porticos Designs Nuclear Medical Device

Radioactive medicines and dyes, which enable PET scanning and other modern diagnostic methods, are created by placing an organic substance in front of a particle accelerator and irradiating the substance. Then, this allows the person analyzing the data provided during this process to be able to properly view and identify what should or should not be brought to the attention of a medical professional or patient.

A local inventor and entrepreneur came to Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC with the prototype of an “Accelerator Target” which would allow fast and economical production of a radioactive medical dye. The client asked us to optimize the size and function of the prototype while simplifying the manufacture and assembly processes.

Nuclear Medical Device diagram 2

In addition to accomplishing these tasks, Porticos’s hardware design engineers were able to create a separate “fill station” to support the device. Our engineers also helped the client establish a supply chain appropriate to the scale and schedule of the project. The production of this accelerator target allows for a much quicker process altogether, and the efficiency of having a fill station nearby to support the device makes it available for use for longer periods of time. Additionally, this technology supports PET scanning and modern diagnostic methods alike, so this also opens a window for technology to evolve in such a way that makes the use of the accelerator target more of a necessity and less of an option or alternative to what is already being used.

The product is now used in the United States and Europe, and Porticos hopes this product will continue to reach those who need it most in the medical field, as it saves time, money, resources, and is a fast, safe, and efficient way to render more timely results. Our hardware engineers remain committed to bring new, innovative products to the market, making the lives of businesses and customers simpler and better in quality.

Nuclear Medical Device diagram 3

DuPont Conductive Ink

DuPont Electronics & Imaging, a technology company that brings technology-driven solutions around the world has created conductive ink that can be thermoformed, and they partnered with Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC to create a demo to showcase how it works. Porticos’ hardware engineers worked with DuPont to define how the demo would look and how it should work, then we designed, engineered, and built it. This revolutionary ink unlocks a new set of possibilities for electronic products. Instead of traditional buttons and switches—which takes up a lot of space on electronics—this conductive ink can create switches that are printed into electronics, making devices lighter and more beautiful. It also cuts down on production costs and time with its precision and modernization.

Thanks to the demo built by Porticos’ hardware engineers, DuPont can share more about the benefits and positive change using conductive ink provides with the global solutions they provide to other businesses and technologically-adept people around the world, and can also consider themselves leaders on the forefront of how this new technology will revolutionize the future of electronics. Porticos is proud to have partnered with a company as committed to addressing customers’ immediate needs as it pertains to technology as we are.

Learn more about Porticos’ collaborative effort with DuPont below!

 

The Smallest BioMedical System

Porticos and Device Solutions worked closely to optimize placement efficiency to create the smallest BioMedical system package possible. This was especially important for both units because power consumption needs to support a 30-day transmission period, which is provided by a large battery cell.

Ambulatory ECG Monitoring System Product Development

BioMedical Systems (now part of ERT), has been providing medical data analysis and support for physicians and their patients for nearly 40 years. They saw a need for a mobile cardiac telemetry system that could take advantage of their sophisticated arrhythmia analysis software, record the data and transmit that information in real time to a group of certified cardiac technicians. To make their vision a reality, they came to Porticos and Device Solutions—one of Porticos’ partners—who experienced in hardware and software development for wireless devices. Herein, the TruVue™ product was born.

The TruVue™ system consists of a patient-worn ECG recording device, a hand-held device that receives and analyzes the information from the recording device. The device then transmits the real-time data to the BioMedical Systems headquarters in St. Louis, where the data is analyzed further and formatted for easy access by the physician.

Porticos’ hardware engineers created the 3D CAD data using Unigraphics software. Bluetooth was chosen as the wireless communication protocol between the patient-worn device and the hand-held device, while GSM-based-cellular was used to transmit between the hand-held and the cardiac center.

In order to minimize detuning of the chip antenna in the patient-worn device, snap features were incorporated into the PC/ABS housings to limit the need for metal assembly hardware. FEA was conducted in Ansys to ensure snap features would remain secure during normal use and drop scenarios.

One of the unique features for the hand-held was the keypad. In order to support the user interface and reduce confusion to the patient, the keys had to be individually backlit and, at the same time, isolated from the surrounding keys. This way, as the menu options changes on the display, only the keys applicable for those options would be lit. The result is deceptively simple-looking keypad, that integrates mechanical and software user interface to create an intuitive and positive experience for the patient.

Hardware Production Results

Thanks to the hard work of Porticos and Device Solutions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Biomedical Systems 510(k) clearance to market TruVue™, a truly wireless ambulatory ECG monitoring system. Additionally, TruVue™ has made its mark as the industry’s first cardiac Mobile Telemetry system that analyzes, records and transmits every heartbeat for up to 30 days.

Bioptigen Envisu Image System

Bioptigen, a technology leader in ophthalmology from Morrisville, North Carolina partnered with Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC to create the Envisu, a state-of-the-art OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). The Envisu is a system that produces detailed images of the internal structure of the eye for both clinical and research applications. 

Designers at Bioptigen needed to advance their product and they selected Porticos’s engineers for the design. Porticos optimized Envisu by utilizing the proprietary “engine,” while also mitigating annual production costs. 

Ultimately, Bioptigen considered a reduction in size & weight, with improved thermal performance and shock resistance. The designers also added the ability to disconnect specific components, which made the unit easier to build and service.

Porticos’ engineers partnered with multiple Bioptigen teams to identify the device’s most essential features, as well as areas that needed to be improved. Following multiple iterations of industrial design concepts and mockups, Porticos designed a new system that met all of the objectives.

This led to the creation of the probe interface module, which allowed interchanging the scanner probe in the base unit.  This module required adding a new connection point in the main optical fiber. The connection was executed with minimal signal loss and included a clever dust cover for the optical connection.

Separate optical and electronic modules were created, which were independently removable from the chassis for servicing.  This configuration assisted with assembly while a hinged electronics enclosure aided with debugging, allowing service personnel to access the interior while operating the unit.

A component layout was established to maximize thermal performance, and this was eventually coupled with the positive pressure fan cooling system. Hot swap hard disk drives were implanted, with custom shock mounts, rounding out the internals Bioptigen was looking for.

A unique optical fiber routing tray that accommodated an array of fiber lengths was fitted with size and weight distribution that, along with handholds in key locations, enabled disassembly of the unit to assist with portability during transport.

Porticos implemented lightweight and strong structural chassis, low-cost thermoformed covers, and removable spool to improve transportability, as well as adapted OEM medical cart to complete the system.

Overall, Porticos worked to improve product aesthetics and ergonomics, along with manufacturing methods compatible with a limited annual production volume and a simplified design. The engineers provided expertise with Design for Manufacturing (DFM), Design for Assembly (DFA), and Design for Service (DFS).

Porticos Delivers Needle-Free Vaccines

BD Technologies and Innovation, who create next-generation technologies in Durham, NC, developed a needle-free vaccine delivery system as part of a grant supported by the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. To be viable in small villages within developing countries—which, more times than not, is where the greatest need lies—the system cannot require the use of refrigeration or electricity of any sort and it must be simple to administer by minimally-trained personnel.

Also, the system must be effective on children, ages 1-4—who are not capable of cooperation—or adults, and must be effectively kept safe from spreading disease, which can be done easily by not allowing re-use. Finally, the system must be relatively compact for shipping, it cannot require any special means of disposal, and, most importantly of all, it must have a cost-per-unit dose equal to, or, less than, existing injection methods. This posed as a grand challenge for hardware engineers.

BD Technologies turned to Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, for innovative product engineering to help its team develop the delivery system that could be tested in Phase I clinical trials. Porticos’ hardware engineering team provided new thinking and insight to discover simple solutions that were easy to prototype for laboratory testing, ultimately helping BD extend its intellectual property based on the Solovent platform.

The process Porticos took to get to this point was keeping in mind the core needs of BD while emphasizing the need for fast, flawless production, accuracy in the findings of the testing process, and continuing to elevate the need for simplicity.

The approach Porticos ultimately pursued was aerosolizing a dose of powdered vaccine for inhalation, using a simple device constructed of basic yet effective materials. BD utilized its Solovent unit’s dry dose powder inhaler (DPI) platform to aerosolize the powder, and needed a means of containing the cloud of vaccine, while simultaneously providing an interface for effective delivery to patients.

Because of the efficiency of Porticos’ engineers and the concept design behind the entire process, BD Technologies was able to effectively execute their desire for a needle-free vaccine delivery system, and it is cost-effective, not dependent on electricity, and able to be administered by even the most inexperienced personnel.

Porticos Helps Create Mail Insertion System

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, partnered with technology and service innovators, Bell & Howell on the creation of The Ascender 16. The Ascender 16 is a mail insertion system that can insert a variety of shades of sizes as it pertains to mail and packages. Porticos’ hardware engineers collaborated on the development of the 4920 Format Turn Module for the Ascender 16 system itself.

This module makes the changeover process more efficient and accurate. The system’s changeover from a letter mail job to a flat mail job used to require time and a knowledgeable system operator, but this module reduces changeover need, and the amount of time needed to ensure the safe and reliable insertion of mail.

Module Hardware Design Specifications

The 4920 Format Turn Module contains a feed-through mode—or a “no turn” mode—which feeds unfolded and folded material with dimensions from 3″ to 12″ in length, and up to 0.25″ in width, or thickness. The module itself fits inside the Ascender system in the place of a previously used module, but adds no increase in size while also providing all the functions of the old module in addition to the format change capability that the module brings forward.

Porticos’ hardware engineers produced a software to accompany the module that is reconfigurable to either feed material straight through, or rotate flat stock material 90 degrees. The module is able to handle up to 1/4″ of materials that are 8.5 x 11 or A4, and turns 10,000 cycles per hour.

Concept Design Highlights

Porticos’ hardware design engineers originally faced some surface speed variations between belts and rollers, which posed as a challenge to consistent feeding. However, carefully tuning pulley sizes during prototype testing resulted in smooth operation.

Attention to all inertias and motor capabilities were important in the design concept. To accomplish the turn, the system is required to decelerate each packet from a transport speed of 150 inches per second, to a full stop. From there, it rotates 90 degrees then accelerates back to 150 inches per second. All of this occurs in about 1/4 of a second. Porticos was able to forsee the frictional characteristics and the durability of the rollers that accomplish the format changes were critical for proper operation. This then gave Porticos the foresight to carefully select materials, specialized coatings, and roller configuration. Overall, this led to a design that could precisely accomplish rotating the material 90 degrees while enduring long-term testing.

Porticos worked with Bell & Howell to develop the original, state-of-the-art Solix™ Mail Tray Loader, which handles up to 30,000 envelopes per hour. The revolutionary Ascender 16 system now has a module that enhances one of its more difficult processes, thanks to teamwork, innovation, and experience within Porticos’ hardware engineering team and concept design expertise.

QScout Farm Lab Production

Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), a diagnostics center in Morrisville, NC recently partnered with Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC,  to create an innovative, cutting edge device that tackles the common and costly disease called mastitis in dairy cows. It’s impossible to determine if a cow has subclinical mastitis because it cannot be detected by the naked eye—that’s where Porticos and AAD come in!

Porticos’ engineers listened to the needs and ideas of AAD, then collaboratively designed QScout MLD Test to search for and detect subclinical mastitis within minutes. Not only can it be used outside, on a farm, it’s powerful, rugged, and easy to transport, making it available to be used by dairy farmers around the world.

Subclinical mastitis infections  don’t cause any visible changes in milk or udder appearance, and can often times be insidious–harming the cow long before farmers are able to notice and remedy the problem. These infections reduce milk production, decrease milk quality, and suppress reproductive performance. With the QScout Farm Lab, farmers are able to diagnose, detect, and treat quickly and without the risk of losing over 1,500 pounds of milk per cow.

Learn more about this incredible device below!

Porticos Creates Small HD 500 Series On-Camera Monitor

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, created yet another innovative, essential device—a 5-inch, full high-definition on-camera monitor. This on-camera monitor has a brilliant display, desirable form factor, and is easy to transport. Porticos’ hardware engineers’ goal was to design a durable, minimal, small-sized yet visually appealing, HD monitor that would be easy and reliable to manufacture and assemble.

Product Design Challenges Overcome

The concept design for the on-camera monitor required no major changes to the existing printed circuit board (PCB). This means that Porticos’ hardware engineers were able to create a design that reinforced the delicate HD display to improve robustness in both manufacturing and the end-use of the product. Porticos also created the design to shock-mount the display for improved product durability while simplifying product assembly. This ensures that in both transport and use, the on-camera monitor stays in place, and consumers can use without wondering if the device will go flying off their camera at any point in time.

The innovative monitor was created with an extremely durable chassis design, compatible for manufacture by machining or die casting, and its battery contacts is integrated into the rear cover. While there is a requirement added to integrate an infrared transceiver for remote control after the initial mechanical design was completed, it was done in such a way that it did not add to the size of the overall product.

Porticos’ hardware engineers created designs for mini-joysticks and placed external buttons in minimal space that are still easy to access and press, as well as an overall clean-looking design for use with or without a user-replaceable screen protector. However, this product was designed to be durable enough to work well without a screen protector, which can largely be attributed to the shock-mounting of the product to the camera itself. To maximize the small amount of space given, a hinged SD card access door was created and is located on the device in a manner that did not compromise the look of the exterior appearance.

Concept Design Highlights

Due to the demand for an on-camera monitor, the customer was able to utilize the same mechanical design for their 700 series monitors—which contains a larger screen—by scaling it up, reducing both the cost of development, and the time it takes to market. Additionally, the larger monitor size was able to sustain the same build chassis as the 500 series monitors which provided it with the same stability and durability.

Porticos Designs High-Impact Shield Mount for Construction Equipment

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC. This project is an example of Porticos’ design and engineering expertise, crafting solutions for heavy industrial machinery and other heavy equipment.

For the operation of large construction equipment, such as an excavator or backhoe operator, shields are undeniably crucial and necessary to execute the operation of said machinery effectively. During the hammering operation at quarries and in mining sites, shields protect operators from debris, and keep them moving forward steadily on difficult terrain.

With so many different cab models, it can be extremely difficult to focus on suggesting a certain type of shield while respecting industry specifications. This is due to the variety in cab frames, the sizes of the cabs, and what those who are handling the machinery hope to gain from a shield. The geometry and curvature of the cab’s glass also has to be considered, along with the location and availability of bosses.

Many frame designs require a unique attachment strategy for each cab style—because of the variety in location, depth and the number of bosses welded onto a cab’s frame. This leads to distinct and obvious issues with parts, training, installation, cost, and more.

Porticos’ hardware engineering team sought to create shield mounts that could both be strong enough to protect operators, and flexible enough to accommodate multiple cab models. This innovative concept design required attention to the industrial standard, and an awareness of the mechanisms used to make the cabs themselves function above all else.

To solve this unique product design challenge for this particular heavy industrial machinery, Porticos worked with many industry partners. From there, Porticos’ hardware engineering team developed a distinctive mount—a combination of brackets with slotted holes, universal ball joints and threaded rods that enabled the shield to mount to the frame of any cab without any issues.

Through this process, Porticos was able to find the perfect solution to reduce the number of unique parts needed for the installation of a sheila, and make a modular kit that is flexible enough to accommodate the majority of the varied cab model styles.